Story Contest 2019 #1 - Outstanding Stories (Sub-junior) »

Outstanding Story (Sub-junior) - The Cunning Tortoise

“The Cunning Tortoise” is one of the outstanding stories (sub-junior) of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2019 written by Bhavana Chourasiya.

The Cunning Tortoise

The elephant and the hippopotamus were such good friends that they always took their meals together. “Hello!” said the tortoise coming up to them one day at dinner. “What a big, strong couple you are, to be sure! It is funny to think that I’m stronger than either of you. You don’t believe me? Then I’ll show you. You, friend elephant, take one end of this rope and pull your hardest. Still you’ll never be able to pull me out of the water!”

“I’ll show you!” trumpeted the elephant angrily, and he seized one end of the rope. The tortoise tied the other end to his hind leg and plunged down to the bottom of the river. But as soon as he got there, he untied the rope from his leg and tied it to a great rock in the river-bed.

Then the elephant pulled his hardest; pulled and pulled and pulled, until the rope broke. At once the tortoise undid the end from the rock, fastened it quickly to his leg once more and came puffing up to the top of the water and out on to the bank with the broken piece of rope dangling behind him.

So the elephant had to admit that the tortoise wad stronger than him. But the Hippopotamus snorted with amusement and said:

“It’s my turn now. You take the land this time, and I’ll pull you into the water.”

So the tortoise took a new rope, tied it to his leg and went off into the long grass at the edge of the jungle, while the hippopotamus dived into the river with the other end.

As soon as he was out of sight, the tortoise walked several times round a palm tree so that when the hippopotamus began to pull, the rope grew tight round the trunk, and did not slip however hard he tugged and hauled.

When the hippopotamus grew tired of pulling, he came to the surface puffing and blowing the water from his nostrils. As soon as he saw him, the tortoise ran round the tree in the opposite direction until the rope was united, and then came out of the long grass with the rope still knotted to his leg.

So the hippopotamus had to admit that the tortoise was stronger than him. The tortoise then said:

“Now, do you want me as a friend or as an enemy?”

“As a friend.” said both the elephant and the hippopotamus. “It would not do good to have you as an enemy, since you are obviously so much stronger than either of us.”

“Alright then”, answered the tortoise. “And now you must let me feed with you and live with you always. But as I cannot be in two places at once, I shall spend all my time in the water with the hippopotamus and my son shall live on land with the elephant.”

And from that day to this, there have always been land tortoises and water tortoises. But the water tortoises are much bigger and fatter- for the tortoise knew that there is often little enough food on land, but that there is always plenty of fish to eat in the great river.

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