The Flying Turtle
Takes A Leap

A story from Aesop's fables
modified by Lin Stone
for modern children
and Illustrated by
Milo Winter


This is NOT public domain


You are invited to continue reading in the next frame.

Tortoise was a box turtle.  Tortoise felt locked in by the box on his back that he called his home.  Because it was his home Tortoise could not leave it behind.  That meant Tortoise could not go anywhere very fast.

There were no parties that Tortoise could go to because Tortoise would never get there on time even if the party was just next door.  Tortoise never had any fun, Tortoise never threw a slumber party and Tortoise never had a vacation away from home.  Tortoise thought he was missing out on everything.

One day Tortoise saw a stick stuck in the mud and thought it was moving faster than he was.  Tortoise was bored with being stuck and Tortoise was stuck with being a bore. 

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"Why, what is making you look so sad?" asked a pair of ducks one day.  Tortoise closed his eyes for a moment so the tears would go away, then Tortoise said:  "I am stuck with a house on my back and I am stuck with little short legs that can't drag me along very fast.  I'll never get to see what lies over the next hill, much less over the next mountain."

The two ducks stretched their necks out long and flapped their wings.  "We can help you to see the whole world if you want to," said the Ducks. "When you are ready to go all you have to do is take hold of this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far, far up in the air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep very quiet or you will be sorry."

Tortoise almost trembled, he was so happy.  Right on the spot he seized the stick firmly with his jaws.  The two Ducks took hold of the stick, one at each end, and after a great deal of hard flapping away they sailed -- Up, and Up, and Up, right up through a hole in the clouds.

Tortoise could hardly believe his eyes, there was so much world to see.  There were hills, and valleys and plains and blue ribbons of rivers and sparkling splashes of lakes.  Tortoise felt very special because he had never been so happy in all his life.

Just then a Crow flew by. He was so very much astonished at the strange sight that he turned his head back and cried:

"This must surely be the very King of Tortoises to be carried through the air like this!"

"Well, you know " Tortoise began to explain.

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Tortoise began to tumble head over house as he fell down, down, down.  Right in the middle of a pond he fell, upside down and stuck fast in the mud.

"I'll never get anywhere like this," he said.

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