Once there was a tortoise in a huge tank. He had two geese as close friends. The geese used to come to the pond and the three of them spent a lot of their time together. They were living cheerfully for several years.
Then there was a drought in the land; for a long period there was clearly no rain. Rivers and ponds were drying up. There was starvation in the land. People and animals were dying. Birds were flying away to places of safety.
The two geese saw danger from the drought. They decided to go away to a different place. They met the tortoise to take leave of him.
“Why do you bid me farewell? ” said the tortoise. “Am I not your buddy? Why would you leave me here to die? “
“How can we help you? ” asked the geese. “We could get to any place on earth by flying. You can’t go like that. “
“It is true that I can not travel just like you, ” said the tortoise, “still, it is possible to help me and take me along with you. “
“How can we do that?”
“That is simple, ” said the tortoise. “Bring me a stick. I can hold the middle of the stick with my teeth. Both of you snatch the ends of the stick with your beaks and fly up taking me alongside. Fly slowly and gradually to a place wherever we will be protected from this drought. “
The geese thought over the matter and said, “We hope we can handle this, but there is one risk in the plan. If, by chance, you try to talk a word while we are up in the air, you will lose your hold on the stick, fall down and be killed to death. “
“I will do no such ridiculous thing, ” said the tortoise.
“I will not utter a word so long as we are in the air. “
So every one of them agreed to the plan. The geese brought a solid stick and held it with their beaks at both ends. The tortoise held on to the center of the stick with his teeth. The geese flew up, holding the tortoise with them. They travelled higher and higher. They flew over fields and mountains and then they travelled over a city.
People of the city observed the unusual sight in the sky. They had never noticed anything like this before. They clapped their hands and yelled, “Look! How wonderful! Two birds taking a tortoise, and see the way they are doing it. “
The tortoise didn’t like the people yelling and said, “Why should these fools shout that way? ” Even as he uttered the words, he lost hold of the stick and straight down he went. When he hit the ground he was killed.