Have you already heard of the story “The Tortoise and the Hare”? It’s a very famous fable on how the tortoise, with its big, heavy shell, beats the hare in a race. But have you ever wondered how the tortoise ever got its shell in the first place?
This folk story about the tortoise got its shell is from West Africa. A folk story is a tale or legend originating and traditional among a people or folk, especially one forming part of the oral tradition of the common people.
Here’s how the West African folk tale goes:
Once, Mauri, the ruler of the world decided to have a feast. He asked one of his chief advisors – a strong and able man named Klo, to buy palm wine from Koklovi. Klo set out on foot and reached his destination quickly. He was very strong and fast. Klo asked Koklovi to sell his wine for the celebration. Koklovi said that he would not sell the wine. If Klo wanted it, he must fight for it. If he won, he could take all the wine and the trees. The two fought for several hours, but Klo finally won. He filled his bucket with wine to take to the chief. He drank the rest of the wine and then put the palm trees on his back.
The wine had made him sleepy. He walked slowly. It took him several days to return to his kingdom. When he got there, the walls of the village were closed. Everyone was inside celebrating. He knocked at the door, but no one heard him. It began to rain. The rain poured for more than two months. The palm trees and the bucket of wine were so heavy that Klo could not remove them from his back. He laid on the ground in the rain and finally died. When the rain stopped, the villagers opened the gates to the city. There they found Klo, buried beneath the palms. The bucket lay on his back, covered with sand and clay. The villagers took Klo inside and gave him special medicines. Finally, Klo returned to life. The bucket had become a hard shell on his back that could not be removed. For the rest of his days, Klo wore that shell.
All About How the Tortoise Got its Shell Video for Kids
Here’s a great video for kids telling the story on how the tortoise got its shell:
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