geese and talkative turtle-pictopara

The Geese and the Talkative Turtle

7 mins read

Liked “The Brahmin and the Cobra”? Then here is another story from Panchatantra

A long time ago, a turtle and two wild geese lived on a beautiful lake in a forest. Since the lake was full of plump fish and surrounded by green plants, there was plenty of food for the three friends, and they lived very happily. They spent their time talking to one another and, sometimes, they sang songs and told stories too. It was a wonderful and carefree life, but one summer, a terrible drought hit the land where they lived. The scorching sun dried up the earth with its hot rays, and the water in the deep lake began to dry up. The trees and plants around the lake withered, and the fish in it began to die.

The two geese realized that the lake was no longer a comfortable place to live in, so they decided to fly away and look for another home. They flew around for miles and, finally, they located a beautiful lake in a faraway land. It was filled with clean water, and had plenty of fish too, and was surrounded by leafy, green trees. The geese decided it would make a perfect place for them to live in.

They went back to their old home for the last time, to meet their good friend the turtle. He was wallowing in the shallow muddy puddle, which was all that remained of the lake.

When he heard the geese describe the beauty of their new home, he sighed. “It sounds like a wonderful lake,” he said. “and I’m sure you will be very happy there.”

“What will you do?” one of the geese asked.

“Oh, I will probably die here like most of the other creatures have,” said the turtle quietly, wiping a tear from his eye. “I can’t fly away to a new home like you can.”

The generous and kind-hearted geese were very sad to hear the turtle’s words. They were very fond of him, and remembered all the good times they had shared together. They did not like the thought of abandoning him to die.

“Don’t worry” they told the turtle. “if all of us think deeply, we’ll be able to find a way to help you too.”

The friends thought long and hard, and finally the turtle himself came up with a bright plan by which he could go along with the geese to their new home. “I have thought of a way by which I can go flying with you to your wonderful new lake,” he exclaimed excitedly. “If both of you hold the ends of a stout stick between your beaks before you spread your wings and rise into the sky. I can close my mouth very firmly around its centre, and hold on to it as tightly as I can. This way you will lift me into the sky and I will be able to travel with you, and we will fly swiftly to our new home!”

“What a wonderful idea!” the geese exclaimed in admiration.

“But you must remember that you cannot open your mouth or loosen your hold on the stick during our flight,” they cautioned, “for then you will fall to the earth and certainly perish, and we will not be able to save you.”

The turtle readily agreed to this condition, and the three friends got ready to fly to their new home.

Just before they started, the geese reminded the turtle once more, “Don’t open your mouth to speak during our trip or loosen your hold on the stick – no matter what happens!”

Soon the geese rose into the air with the stick clutched tightly between their beaks, and as they flew through the air, the turtle held on to the stick with all his might. At first he was very scared, for he had never been far from his home in the lake, but as time passed, he grew bolder. He was delighted with all the wonderful sights that he saw as he whizzed through the sky, and he longed to comment on them. But every time he wished to speak, he remembered the warnings the geese had given him, and he kept quiet.

Then the geese flew over a little town, and as they passed over it. some of the townspeople spotted the strange trio flying through the air. “Look!” they cried excitedly, clapping and pointing at them. “What are those geese holding on a stick? Is it a turtle?”

“It’s a flying turtle!” some others shouted excitedly.

The turtle was thrilled to see that he was causing so much excitement, and he decided to call out to the people. He opened his mouth to speak, and let go of the stick. The horrified geese watched in dismay as the turtle fell from the sky, and plummeted straight to his death.

The geese continued their journey very sadly. As they flew along, the goose wiped a tear from her eye. “Poor turtle,” she said. “He had to learn the hard way that sometimes it pays not to be talkative and to keep one’s mouth shut.”

-Inspired by Panchatantra

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