THE TORTOISE AND THE GEESE
: Types Of Children's Literature
the Geese, and Other Fables of Bidpai,_ retold by Maude Barrows
A Tortoise and two Geese lived together in a pond for many years.
At last there came a drought and dried up the pond. Then the
Geese said to one another,--
"We must seek a new home quickly, for we cannot live without
water. Let us say farewell to the Tortoise and start at once."
When the Torto
se heard that they were going, he trembled with
fear, and besought them by their friendship not to desert him.
"Alas," the Geese replied, "there is no help for it. If we stay
here, we shall all three die, and we cannot take you with us, for you
Still the Tortoise begged so hard not to be left behind that the
Geese finally said,--
"Dear Friend, if you will promise not to speak a word on
the journey, we will take you with us. But know beforehand, that
if you open your mouth to say one single word, you will be in instant
danger of losing your life."
"Have no fear," replied the Tortoise, "but that I shall be silent
until you give me leave to speak again. I would rather never open
my mouth again than be left to die alone here in the dried-up pond."
So the Geese brought a stout stick and bade the Tortoise grasp it
firmly in the middle by his mouth. Then they took hold of either
end and flew off with him. They had gone several miles in safety,
when their course lay over a village. As the country people saw this
curious sight of a Tortoise being carried by two Geese, they began
to laugh and cry out,--
"Oh, did you ever see such a funny sight in all your life!" And
they laughed loud and long.
The Tortoise grew more and more indignant. At last he could
stand their jeering no longer. "You stupid..." he snapped, but
before he could say more he had fallen to the ground and was
dashed to pieces.