The Tortoise and the Birds
Once upon a time, in a land plagued by drought and hunger, there lived a clever Tortoise who was always looking for ways to get ahead. He envied the birds, who could fly to distant lands and feast on the fruits of the earth. He wished he could join them, but he knew he was too slow and heavy to fly.
One day, he saw a flock of birds resting on a nearby tree. He decided to try his luck and approached them with a friendly smile. "Greetings, dear birds," he said. "You look so happy and well-fed. How I wish I could be like you."
The birds felt sorry for the Tortoise, who looked thin and weary. They asked him what he wanted. The Tortoise said, "I have a secret to share with you. I know of a tree that grows the most delicious fruits you've ever tasted. It's far away, beyond the mountains, but it's worth the journey. If you could carry me there, we could all enjoy the fruits together. What do you say?"
The birds were tempted by the offer. They loved fruits, and they were curious about the mysterious tree. They agreed to help the Tortoise, but they wondered how they could carry him. The Tortoise had a solution. He asked them to find a long vine and tie it to their feet. Then he would hold onto the middle of the vine and fly with them.
The birds thought it was a clever idea. They quickly found a vine and tied it to their feet. The Tortoise grabbed the middle of the vine and lifted himself off the ground. He felt a surge of excitement as he soared through the air with the birds.
As they flew toward the mountains, the Tortoise couldn't contain his joy. He began to sing loudly, "I am going to have a feast! I am going to have a feast!" The birds were surprised by his singing. They asked him how he knew about the feast.
The Tortoise, thinking fast, lied to them. He said, "Oh, it's a tradition in my family. We always sing when we're approaching a feast. It's a way of expressing our gratitude and happiness." The naive birds believed him and continued flying.
After a long flight, they reached the tree that the Tortoise had spoken of. It was indeed a magnificent tree, laden with ripe and juicy fruits. The Tortoise quickly climbed down the vine and ran to the tree. He began to eat the fruits, one after another, without sharing with the birds.
The birds, realizing they had been fooled, became furious. They felt betrayed by the Tortoise, who had used them for his own benefit. They decided they needed to teach him a lesson. They flew down to the tree and confronted him.
They said, "You ungrateful and greedy Tortoise! How dare you trick us and eat all the fruits by yourself? You don't deserve our kindness or friendship. We should leave you here and let you starve."
The Tortoise, who had eaten his fill, was not afraid of the birds. He said, "Don't be angry, my friends. I was only joking. I wanted to see if you would fall for my trick. You should have known better than to trust me. I'm a Tortoise, after all. I'm always looking for ways to get what I want."
The birds were disgusted by his words. They said, "You are not our friend. You are a liar and a cheat. We will never help you again. But we will give you one chance to redeem yourself. You must promise us that you will never deceive us or anyone else again. If you break your promise, we will find you and punish you."
The clever Tortoise agreed to the promise, but he didn't mean it. He said, "I promise, I promise. I will never deceive you again. I'm sorry for what I did. Please forgive me." But as he walked away, he couldn't resist muttering, "Next time, I'll come up with an even smarter plan."
And so, the Tortoise returned home with a full belly, leaving the birds both wiser and more cautious about trusting his clever schemes. He thought he had won, but he had lost something more valuable – the respect and friendship of the birds.