The talkative turtle

Once upon a time, there lived a turtle and a pair of swans in a lake. They were great friends. The turtle was a chatter box. She always had something to say.

The turtle and swans story

The turtle and the swans – A story from the Panchatantra

One year, the rains did not come, and the lake began to dry up. The swans became worried. What would they do if the lake dried up completely? The turtle then suggested a plan. She said that the swans should fly in search of a lake that had plenty of water. Once they have found such a lake, all three of them could move there.

The swans liked the idea. They flew off in search of that perfect lake. And at long last, they did find one. They returned to the turtle with the good news. But now there was another problem. The new lake was a long way off. The turtle can’t walk that far. So what would they do?  The swans did not want to leave their friend behind.

The turtle thought for a while and came up with another plan. She asked the swans to get a strong stick that they could hold in their beaks. The turtle said that she would hang on to the stick with her mouth, and the swans could fly with her to the new lake.

The swans liked the idea, though they were worried that the turtle might talk during the flight and fall off the stick. ‘You must be careful not to open your mouth while we are flying with you,’ they warned her. ‘Of course,’ said the turtle. ‘I will be careful – I know when to start and when to stop talking.’

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The swans then found a long stick. Each swan held one end of it in its beak. The turtle held on to the middle with her mouth, and away they flew.  It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to the turtle. She was amazed at the way the world looked from above the ground. She just could not contain her excitement and said ‘Oh look!’. Poor turtle. She lost her hold on the stick and fell from the sky onto the rocks below. The swans were sad to see the end of their friend – the turtle did not live to enjoy life in the new lake, just because she did not know when to keep her mouth shut.


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