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The Story of Two Swans and the Tortoise

Swans that carried the tortoise, HitopdesaLong ago, in a lake there lived a tortoise. He had befriended two swans who lived nearby. As the time went by, they became very good friends. One day some fishermen arrived there and discussed among themselves, "This lake seem to be full of creatures. Let’s come tomorrow and catch fishes and tortoises!" When the tortoise heard this, he was greatly pained and consulted his dear friends, “Did you listen to what the fishermen were saying. My days are numbered. What in the world am I to do?"

The swans replied, " Don' panic brother! Let’s think some way out to save you.” At this the tortoise said, "Can u friends help me reach another lake before tomorrow morning?"

"But it won't be safe for you to crawl to another lake," replied the swans.

"Well, you can carry me there between yourselves," replied the tortoise quite pleased with herself.

"How can we do that?" asked the swans.

"Each of you could hold one end of the stick in your beaks while I catch hold of it in the middle with my mouth. Then, when you fly, I can go with you," said the tortoise.

"What a good idea!" said the swans. "But it is very dangerous because if you open your mouth to speak, you'll fall down."

"Do you think I'll be so stupid?" asked the tortoise.

Thus convinced, the swans agreed to carry their friend to a safer destination! As they had airlifted their friend and crossed a little distance, they were spotted by some cow-herds below. Surprised, they began to shout, "What a strange sight! Look at that! The swans are carrying a tortoise off somewhere." "Well, if the tortoise falls down, we'll roast it," said one of the cow-herds. "I'll cut it into small bits and eat it," said another.

Hearing these unkind remarks, the tortoise forgot where she was and shouted in anger, "You'll eat ashes."

The moment she opened her mouth, she lost her grip and came hurtling down. She was pounced upon and killed by the cow-herds.

Moral: Never give on to temptation. Think before you act.