Tales of the Supernatural
Tales of Laughter
Tales of Heroism

The Boastful Turtle
( Tagalog )

There was once a turtle who talked so much that no creature could bear to be near him. He talked about anything and everything, and his favorite topics were flying and himself. How he would love to fly, he said, like the geese when the cold season comes. It must be wonderful to be up so high. Older and wiser creatures advised him to speak less and be more content with his lot, but the turtle would listen to no one.

He wanted to fly. He called out to a goose in flight, once, as she was flying off to meet her flock.

"Teach me how to fly," the turtle said.

"I can’t right now," the goose answered. "My flock is migrating for the cold season."

"But I want to fly!" the turtle cried. "And I want to fly NOW!"

"We’ll have to ask my flock," the gentle goose said.

So the goose and the turtle came to the flock, and asked if anyone could help the turtle out.

"He could bite sideways on a thick, strong stick, while two of us would hold either end of the stick in our beaks," someone volunteered. "But he should not speak while biting the stick, or else he will fall and we could do nothing about it."

In truth, the flock did not like the idea of having the turtle fly with them in such a manner. They knew how boastful he was, and besides that, they thought he belonged better on the ground. But the turtle bullied the geese into taking him along.

"Mind you, never open your mouth while we are above ground!" they reminded the turtle, as they started to lift themselves off the ground.

So, biting a stick held horizontally by two strong geese, the boastful turtle became the very first of his kind to experience flight. Far below him he saw the most wondrous things: trees shrinking until they were the size of mere mushrooms, fields looking like small patches of grass, rivers turning into silver snakes. But, most of all, he saw the other earthbound creatures of the world looking up at him, watching him, and he was deeply affected by their silent awe.

"They must think I am a magnificent creature, to have come so high above," the turtle thought. "Well, I really am so marvelous! I feel like I am the greatest turtle in the world!"

The turtle became so caught up in this delusion that, while looking down on his earthbound brothers, he opened his mouth to boast. The poor being’s mindless conceit made him plunge to his untimely death.