On a cloudy day, a peacock was dancing on a lawn by the side of a lake. A tortoise, in the lake, addressed the peacock thus—"Sir Peacock, how I should like to be with you dancing on the green turf!"
" Sir Tortoise," said the peacock, "I do not think you would be safe, if you were to leave the water, and to come to dance with me. Further, your short legs and heavy appearance would not enable you to cut a good figure at dancing."
" I see," said the tortoise, "you are very proud of your fine feathers and gait; but you must remember, that my shell is also as beautifully coloured; and that my gait, though not so quick and graceful, is yet slow and steady."
The peacock replied, "I am very sorry to have displeased you, Sir Tortoise; but, if you wish to come and dance with me, unmindful of the danger of leaving the water, you are welcome."
The tortoise came out of the lake, and stood by the side of the peacock, in his own awkward manner; and the two were preparing to dance together. Just then a hunter, who was passing by the pond, observing the scene, approached the animals. The peacock flew up a tree, and safely perched on its top; but the tortoise, before he could reach the pond, was laid on his back and killed by the hunter.
The peacock cried mournfully, "Sir Tortoise, you now see how dangerous it is to get into difficulties from which we cannot easily escape."