Tortoise and the Squirrel is a folktale.
Tortoise and the Squirrel
A long time ago, Tortoise was a farmer. On his farmland, he had several fruits like pineapple, mango, guava, and many others. His farmland was on the way to town by the road. He got many beautiful proceeds from his farm until one day, Squirrel and his family saw the land blossoming with lots of fruits.
“My goodness, such beautiful fruits. I bet they will be so yummy,” Squirrel said, and her baby squirrels agreed. So they went to the farm and began feasting on the pineapples. The only problem was that they didn’t eat just one pineapple; they took a bite out of all the pineapples, and when they were satisfied, they left.
The next day, Tortoise went to check his farm. He noticed that most of his pineapples had gone bad. What happened was that after Squirrel and her family had taken a bite out of all the pineapples, it attracted other insects to the fruits, and they bore holes into it.
“My Gracious Lord!” Tortoise exclaimed. “Who would do such a cruel thing to me?” Tortoise asked, totally hurt that his farm produce had been destroyed mercilessly. He went through the entire farm but couldn’t find anything. All the fruits had become unsellable; they were not good enough to be given as gifts.
Tortoise got very angry and said, “I will find the person that did this, and I will make him pay.” But after so many days, Tortoise couldn’t find the culprit. Squirrel kept eating all of his farm produce without being caught.
One evening, Tortoise was going home, and he decided to stop by his farm. It was on that day that he saw Squirrel and his entire family taking a bite out of every product he had.
“You!” Tortoise yelled and advanced towards Squirrel. “So it has been you who has been eating my fruits. Why?! Why would you do such a wicked thing?”
“Because your fruits are always so delicious, I can never decide which is tastier. So I eat all to avoid being cheated,” Squirrel said. These words angered Tortoise a whole lot, and he flew into a rage.
“You! Stay away from my farm before I do something ugly to you and your family,” Tortoise threatened. Before he could say another thing, Squirrel and his family ran away. Tortoise decided that he would do anything to keep Squirrel and his family out of his farm. Even if it meant fighting them, unfortunately, whenever Tortoise met Squirrel on his farm, Squirrel was always on top of a palm tree or another type of tree. And every time, Tortoise was not able to climb these trees. So there was no way that he could fight Squirrel and cause him to leave his farm alone.
Nevertheless, Tortoise knew that he had to stop Squirrel and his family from eating his farm produce. So he went to the local priest. After several incantations, the local priest said. “What do you want me to do for you?”
Tortoise began narrating his sad tale to the chief priest. “So you see,” he said when he was done. “I need you to help me place a curse on anyone that eats my fruit without my permission.”
The chief priest thought long and hard and finally said, “I want you to go home and think about this again. Come back tomorrow if you still want me to place that curse but do not return if you change your mind.”
Tortoise didn’t understand, but he knew not to argue with the man. So he left and went back home. When the Squirrel and his family heard what Tortoise wanted to do, they dreaded it. Squirrel went to his neighbours, and together, they joined hands in pleading with Tortoise not to place the curse.
Tortoise took pity on Squirrel and allowed him to scoot free. All was well till Squirrel and his family decided to pick up the nasty habit of eating all Tortoise fruits. Tortoise got angry again and decided to be clever this time.
He engaged the entire villagers in a conversation about Squirrel and his family. Whenever Squirrel and his family would pass by, Tortoise would gather his friends, and they would talk loudly about what Squirrel did to him. This was slowly ruining Squirrel’s reputation, and he could do nothing about it until he decided to meet Tortoise.
“My dear Tortoise, remember that you forgave me for that. Can you please stop telling people about what I did to your farm?” Squirrel pleaded. Tortoise thought long and hard, and then he said,
“Well, I have forgiven you, but then you went ahead and did the same thing again. But I promise I won’t talk about you anymore.”
Tortoise assured Squirrel, and he was happy. But the milk had already been spilt, and what Tortoise started had already spread like wildfire. It got so bad that Squirrel couldn’t do anything.
Whenever Squirrel walked past, she would hear people gossiping and saying mean things about her.
Every time Squirrel passed that route, he and his family would not want to eat the ripe pineapple. It took years before the rumours could leave the land, and Squirrel learnt her lesson that it is not good to steal
“Do not steal and be in control of what you want to eat, especially if it is not yours.”
- The Tortoise and The King’s Daughter
- The Ant And The Grasshopper
- Why the Dog Hid His Mother in the Sky