Reading The Aesop for Children THE TORTOISE AND THE DUCKS
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The Tortoise, you know, carries his house on his back. No matter
how hard he tries, he cannot leave home. They say that Jupiter
punished him so, because he was such a lazy stay-at-home that he
would not go to Jupiter's wedding, even when especially invited.

After many years, Tortoise began to wish he had gone to that
wedding. When he saw how gaily the birds flew about and how the
Hare and the Chipmunk and all the other animals ran nimbly by,
always eager to see everything there was to be seen, the Tortoise
felt very sad and discontented. He wanted to see the world too,
and there he was with a house on his back and little short legs
that could hardly drag him along.

One day he met a pair of Ducks and told them all his trouble.

"We can help you to see the world," said the Ducks. "Take hold of
this stick with your teeth and we will carry you far up in the
air where you can see the whole countryside. But keep quiet or
you will be sorry."

The Tortoise was very glad indeed. He seized the stick firmly
with his teeth, the two Ducks took hold of it one at each end,
and away they sailed up toward the clouds.

Just then a Crow flew by. He was very much astonished at the
strange sight and cried:

"This must surely be the King of Tortoises!"

"Why certainly----" began the Tortoise.

But as he opened his mouth to say these foolish words he lost his
hold on the stick, and down he fell to the ground, where he was
dashed to pieces on a rock.

Foolish curiosity and vanity often lead to misfortune.


Illustrator: Milo Winter