15 Apr Tortoise Goes Visiting
Tortoise Goes Visiting is a Nigerian folktale. Do you know why the Tortoise has a bald head? This story will tell you why the tortoise is bald. Enjoy the story.
Tortoise Goes Visiting
A long time ago in the evening, Tortoise was hurrying home to dinner when he heard a voice calling: “Tortie, Tortie, old boy… I say, Tortie.”
Tortoise didn’t stop because he knew who it was. It was none other than his cousin, Crocodile. He had not seen him for a while, and it was all Tortoise’s fault. Tortoise didn’t want the trouble of thinking up a good excuse, so he hurried on as if he had not heard his name.
But still, he couldn’t shake off Crocodile, and in the end, he was left with no other choice other than to wait till Crocodile caught up with him. When Crocodile got to him, he was puffing and panting.
“Coz, what’s got you all worked up?” Tortoise asked ignorantly. Crocodile couldn’t answer immediately; he waited till he got his breath back before he spoke.
“Don’t play the fool coz. I’ve been calling you for ages, but I like you all the same. How are things? Is the family well?”
“The family is very well, thank you for asking. Things? Things are not bad either; I’m keeping my head above water,” Tortoise replied.
“That’s very good to hear. That’s very good. How about coming to lunch?”
“Oh, what a grand idea. I would be delighted, coz.” Tortoise faked a smile.
“Okay, when can you come over?” Crocodile asked.
“I’ll leave that to you. After all, you will be the one hosting.”
Crocodile thought for a moment, and then he said, “what about tomorrow? I’m not doing anything in the afternoon.”
“Neither am I.”
“How grand! I will be expecting you by noon then.”
“I will certainly be there, coz,” Tortoise said. He was dying to get back to his house. He had such a hectic day at work, and his wife had prepared a sumptuous meal for him. He couldn’t wait to go back home and devour the food.
“How is Mrs. Tortoise?”
“Perfectly fine. However, I will be in her bad books if I do not leave right now. You see, I am already late for dinner. So, I need to hurry back if I don’t want to feel her wrath,” Tortoise said, trying to dismiss Crocodile.
“That is quite sad, tell her I kept you.”
“Why don’t you come with me? It has been a while since she set her eyes on you. I’m sure she will be more than glad to see you.”
Tortoise tried to sound nice, but in reality, he couldn’t wait to get home.
“I’d love to. I have missed her a great deal, but unfortunately, I am going to an important meeting, and I’m already running late. I cannot spare a second, talk less of a minute.”
Crocodile’s words were music to Tortoise’s ears, and it pleased him the more when Crocodile left a few minutes later.
The next morning, Tortoise had a light breakfast with the mindset that he would be having plenty for lunch. By the time he arrived at Crocodile’s house, he was dying of hunger. He was so hungry that he couldn’t help but salivate once Crocodile opened the door and the smell of food reached his nose.
“I am really going to enjoy this,” he chuckled to himself.
“I hope you are hungry, Tortie,” Crocodile said with a warm smile. “Mrs. Crocodile has prepared one of her favourite dishes.”
“Believe me, Coz, I’m empty. So empty that a gust of wind could carry me off!” Crocodile couldn’t help but laugh heartily. His cousin had always been a funny one.
“Don’t be scared then, ’cause there is plenty to eat.” But instead of serving the food immediately, he began to talk. He talked and talked and talked. When Tortoise could finally get a word in, he asked: “How is Mrs. Crocodile?”
“Oh, she is very well, thank you. She is not around at the moment. So, we have the place to ourselves. Shall we eat now?”
“Good idea,” Tortoise sighed in relief but still tried his best to hide it from Crocodile. Crocodile left to the kitchen and brought the food. He placed it on the table, but he didn’t serve it. He left it there and asked to be excused for a minute as he had some things to attend to in the kitchen.
Tortoise waited for a long time, but Crocodile never came out. The food was tempting, and after a while, he couldn’t resist the temptation any longer, so he tasted it.
“Yum…yum…yum!” He exclaimed. He was about to take another mouthful when he thought he heard footsteps, so he quickly covered the food. After having waited for a while, he saw no sight of Crocodile. So, Tortoise uncovered the dish once more and took a good helping.
“Yum…yum…yum. This is good! I wish Coz would come. I am starving,” he said.
He waited and waited and waited, but still, there was no sight of Crocodile. He then began to walk up and down angrily. After a while, he called out: “Coz…Coz!”
All his attempts to reach his cousin failed because Crocodile did not respond.
“Very well,” he said. “I’ll teach him a lesson.” Tortoise then peeped to ensure that his cousin was in no way in sight, and he put all the hot food in his hat and got ready to creep away. But suddenly, Crocodile appeared. Tortoise was so confused that he quickly put on his hat with the hot food in it.
“Going already?” Crocodile asked
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” replied Tortoise. His face was squeezed because he was beginning to feel the heat of the food in his hat.
“Angry that I was away for so long?”
“No, not at all. Just not feeling well. The old fever is coming back, coz.”
“Why not lie down? My bed is nice and soft.”
“No, thank you. I’d rather go home, please.” By now, the hot food was becoming unbearable on his head, and he was doing his best not to show the pain he was in.
“By all means,” agreed Crocodile. He was quite sure that Tortoise was up to something. “I’ll come a little way with you.”
“Oh, don’t bother. I must dash away quickly.”
“We’ll dash away together then,” said Crocodile.
They both left the house, and Tortoise hurried ahead thinking all the time of a way to get Crocodile to turn back. But nothing worked. At last, the pain became more than he could bear. He had to stop and take off his hat. Out fell Mrs. Crocodile’s special dish and with it all Tortoise’s hair.
Crocodile looked at him and burst into laughter. He laughed and laughed and laughed, then said: “Serves you right. You shouldn’t be so greedy, coz!”
Tortoise, his head hanging down in shame, crept slowly home without his hair and with a very sore head. Ever since that day, he has been bald.
Moral of the Story
Greed hurts the greedy even more.
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