Gateway to the Classics: Fairy Stories and Fables by James Baldwin
Fairy Stories and Fables by  James Baldwin

The Foolish Tortoise

There was once a Tortoise who wanted to fly. So she went to an Eagle, who was sitting on a rock, and said:

"Good friend Eagle, teach me to fly through the air as you do."

But the Eagle said: "How can you fly? You have no wings."

"I am sure that I can learn," said the Tortoise. "Please teach me; for it seems very easy to you who know how it is done."

The Eagle was so much annoyed that he turned away and made no answer.

But the next day the Tortoise came back, and then again the next day, and the next and the next; and, every time, she made the same request, "Please teach me to fly! Please teach me to fly!"

At last the Eagle became so vexed that he said to the foolish creature: "All right! I will give you your first lesson now."

So he took the Tortoise in his claws, and flew up with her into the air. When they were very high, the Eagle said:

"Now you shall fly!"

With these words he let go of the Tortoise. Of course she could not help herself. She fell straight down upon the rocks and was dashed in pieces.


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