Why the Sea-Turtle When Caught Beats Its Breast with Its Forelegs
ANY centuries ago, the people of this earth were much troubled by floods. The sea used at times to overflow its
usual boundaries and sweep across the low, sandy stretches of land which bordered it. Time and again this
happened, many lives being lost at each flood. Mankind was very troubled to find an escape from this
oft-repeated disaster. He could think of no way of avoiding it.
Fortunately for him the wise turtle came to his help. "Take my advice," said she, "and plant rows of palms
along the sea-coast. They will bind the sand together and keep it from being washed so easily away." He
did so, with great success. The roots of the palms kept the sand firmly in its place. When the time came again
for the sea to overflow, it washed just to the line of trees and came no farther. Thus many lives were saved
annually by the kind forethought of the turtle.
In return—one would think—mankind would protect and cherish this poor animal. But no! Each time a
turtle comes to the seashore to lay her eggs among the sand, she is caught and killed for the sake of her
flesh. It is the thought of the ingratitude of mankind to her, which makes her beat her breast with her
forelegs when she is caught. She seems to be saying, "Ah! this is all the return I get for my kindness to