It was not often that the
tortoise and the eagle met, for the one spent his
days in the clouds and the other under a bush.
However, when the eagle heard what a warm-hearted
little fellow the tortoise was, he went to pay a call
The tortoise family showed
such pleasure in his company and fed him so lavishly
that the eagle returned again and again, while every
time as he flew away he laughed, "Ha, ha! I can
enjoy the hospitality of the tortoise on the ground
but he can never reach my eyrie in the
The eagle's frequent
visits, his selfishness and ingratitude became the
talk of the forest animals.
The eagle and the frog were
never on speaking terms, for the eagle was accustomed
to swooping down to carry a frog home for supper.
So the frog called from the
stream bank, "Friend tortoise, give me beans and
I will give you wisdom." After enjoying the bowl
of beans the frog said, "Friend tortoise, the
eagle is abusing your kindness, for after every visit
he flies away laughing, 'Ha ha! I can enjoy the
hospitality of the tortoise on the ground but he can
never enjoy mine, for my eyrie is in the tree-tops.'
Next time the eagle visits you, say, 'Give me a
gourd, and I will send food to your wife and children
The eagle brought a gourd,
enjoyed a feast, and as he left he called back,
"I will call later for the present for my
The eagle flew away
laughing to himself as usual, "Ha ha! I have
enjoyed the tortoise's food, but he can never come to
my eyrie for a taste of mine."
The frog arrived and said,
"Now, tortoise, get into the gourd. Your wife
will cover you over with fresh food and the eagle
will carry you to his home in the treetops."
Presently the eagle
returned. The tortoise's wife told him, "My
husband is away but he left this gourd filled with
food for your family."
The eagle flew away with
the gourd, little suspecting that the tortoise was
The tortoise could hear
every word as he laughed, "Ha! ha! I share the
tortoise's food but he can never visit my eyrie to
As the gourd was emptied
out onto the eagle's eyrie, the tortoise crawled from
it and said, "Friend eagle, you have so often
visited my home that I thought it would be nice to
enjoy the hospitality of yours."
The eagle was furious.
"I will peck the flesh from your bones," he
said. But he only hurt his beak against the
tortoise's hard back.
"I see what sort of
friendship you offer me," said the tortoise,
"when you threaten to tear me limb from
limb." He continued, "Under the
circumstances, please take me home, for our pact of
friendship is at an end."
"Take you home,
indeed!" shrieked the eagle. "I will fling
you to the ground and you will be smashed to bits in
your fall." The tortoise bit hold of the eagle's
"Let me go, let go of
my leg, let go of my leg," groaned the great
"I will gladly do so
when you set me down at my own home," said the
tortoise, and he tightened his hold on the eagle's
The eagle flew high into
the clouds and darted down with the speed of an
arrow. He shook his leg. He turned and twirled, but
it was to no purpose. He could not rid himself of the
tortoise until he set him down safely in his own
As the eagle flew away the
tortoise called after him, "Friendship requires
the contribution of two parties. I welcome you and
you welcome me. Since, however, you have chosen to
make a mockery of it, laughing at me for my
hospitality, you need not call again."