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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The talkative tortoise"

The talkative tortoise

But he, being unable to hold his tongue when he hears any one else talk, must have wanted to say something, and let go the stick; and so must have fallen down from the sky, and thus lost his life." And saying, "Truly, O king! those who are called chatter-boxes— people whose words have no end—come to grief like this," he uttered these Verses:

"Verily the tortoise killed himself

Whilst uttering his voice;

Though he was holding tight the stick,

By a word himself he slew.

"Behold him then, O excellent by strength!

And speak wise words, not out of season.

You see how, by his talking overmuch,

The tortoise fell into this wretched plight!"

The king saw that he was himself referred to, and said, "O Teacher! are you speaking of us?"

And the Bodisat spake openly, and said, "O great king! be it thou, or be it any other, whoever talks beyond measure meets with some mishap like this."

And the king henceforth refrained himself, and became a man of few words.

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