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You are here : home > Stories > Panchatantra > The Tortoise and the Geese

The Tortoise and the Geese

The Tortoise and the Geese

Once upon a time, there was a tortoise who lived in a tank. He made friends with two geese who used to come and visit him at the tank. They were happy for many years.

Then there was a drought that lasted for months. The tanks and rivers started drying up under the burning sun. The people and animals were starving and the birds were migrating to more fertile lands. The two geese decided to save themselves and go away. So they came to say a sad goodbye to their friend the tortoise.

The poor tortoise could not believe that they could leave him behind to die. The geese wondered how they could save their friend too. The problem was that they did not know how to take him along because the tortoise could not fly. The tortoise came up with an idea. He told the geese to get him a stick that he could hold between his teeth. The geese could then take him to a more fertile land flying slowly while holding the two ends of the stick.

But the geese were worried that if the tortoise opened his mouth by mistake to speak, he would lose his grip on the stick and would fall down and die. So the tortoise promised not to open his mouth.

The geese flew off carrying the tortoise with them. They flew higher and higher, over hills, valleys, fields and plains. Finally, they flew over a city. The people of the city were amazed to see such a strange sight. They clapped their hands and commented how wonderful it was too see the geese carrying the tortoise like that. The people's shouting and clapping annoyed the tortoise. He wondered aloud why these foolish people were making such a racket. But as soon as he opened his mouth to speak, he lost his grip on the stick and fell to the ground. And so the poor tortoise was killed all because of his foolishness and intolerance.

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