World Folk Tales – The Flying Tortoise
When a tortoise becomes ungrateful to the help he received, he is taught a series of lessons that will change him forever!!
Once upon a time, two birds were gathered at a place for a meeting and they were waiting for their friend Peppy. After some time Peppy came swooping down from the clouds and landed gracefully next to them. He said he was late because the people from the cloud had invited him for a feast. Saying so, he took out an invitation in the shape of a scroll and showed it to both of them. A tortoise nearby was listening to everything that was going on and he interrupted the meeting.
He introduced himself as Odin and said that he too wanted to attend the feast as he was starving. Peppy then turned the invitation towards him and said that only the birds had been invited. Odin then said that if they gave him a few feathers, he would attach it to his shell and be able to fly. So,the birds plucked a few feathers and gave it to him. Odin attached them to his shell and soon all 4 of them were flying in the sky.
On the way, Peppy raised a doubt about how they would introduce Odin as his appearance was different from the rest of them. Odin then suggested that he could be introduced as the king of the birds. Peppy topped this by saying that his name would now be “All of you”.
As they reached the cloud kingdom, the king and queen came out and welcomed them personally. They all introduced themselves and Odin was introduced as “All of you” by Peppy. They were then taken to the banquet hall where the long dining table was decked with dishes of an unimaginable variety. The cloud king then said, “All of you can eat”. Odin mistook the statement and without giving it a bit of thought, he thought that only he had been welcomed to eat. He pounced on the table and devoured all the dishes like a monster. The cloud king and queen chuckled to themselves as they saw how hungry he was but the 3 birds were angry and they felt humiliated. They now decided to teach him a lesson.
After Odin had finished gobbling up everything, all 4 of them left the banquet hall and just as they were about to leave, the bird plucked all his feathers and left him alone on the cloud. Just as Rocky, the last bird was about to leave, Odin told him to tell his wife to lay a patch of soft grass on the highest rock so that he could jump down. Rocky said that he would help him and flew down to visit Odin’s wife.
Rocky told Odin’s wife to make a bed of rocks so that Odin could jump down. She accumulated many rocks and told Rocky that the bed was ready. Rocky conveyed the news to Odin and flew away. Odin skydived from the cloud and as he was falling down, he saw that there was no grass but a bed of rocks below him. He went into his shell mid-air and landed with a thud on the rocks and rolled to the side.
His wife then went to his help and told him about what Rocky had told her to do. It was then that Odin knew that this too was a lesson that the birds wanted to teach him and from that day on, he learned to be grateful.
Moral – One must always be grateful for the help they receive. A friend in need is a friend in deed.