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The Turtle who 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 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
"How shall we kill it?" they asked.
"Pound it to powder," said some one. "Bake it in
hot coals," said another.
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 be killed."
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