| Jataka Tales|
|by Ellen C. Babbitt|
|Eighteen fables from the Jatakas of India, skillfully retold and attractively illustrated. Includes The Monkey and the Crocodile, The Merchant of Seri, The Turtle Who Wouldn’t Stop Talking, The Foolish Timid Rabbit, The Banyan Deer, and others. Ages 7-10 |
HOW THE TURTLE SAVED HIS OWN LIFE
A KING once had a lake
made in the courtyard for the young princes to play in. They
swam about in it, and sailed their boats and rafts on it.
One day the king told them he had asked the men to put some
fishes into the lake.
Off the boys ran to see the fishes. Now, along with the
fishes, there was a Turtle. The boys were delighted with
the fishes, but they had never seen a Turtle, and they were
afraid of it, thinking it was a demon. They ran back to
their father, crying, "There is a demon on the bank of the
The king ordered his men to catch the demon, and to bring it
to the palace. When the Turtle was brought in, the boys
cried and ran away.
The king was very fond of his sons, so he ordered the men
who had brought the Turtle to kill it.
"How shall we kill it?" they asked.
 "Pound it to powder," said some one. "Bake it in hot
coals," said another.
"Throw the thing into the lake."
So one plan after another was spoken of. Then an old
man who had always been afraid of the water said:
"Throw the thing into the lake where it flows
out over the rocks into the river. Then it will surely
When the Turtle heard what the old man said, he thrust out
his head and asked: "Friend, what have
 I done that you should do such a dreadful thing as that to
me? The other plans were bad enough, but to throw me into
the lake! Don't speak of such a cruel thing!"
When the king heard what the Turtle said, he told his men to
take the Turtle at once and throw it into the lake.
The Turtle laughed to himself as he slid away down the river
to his old home. "Good!" he said, "those people do not
know how safe I am in the water!"
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