“I am so much better than you!” boasted Francolin. “I walk fast, but you are slow. And I can fly!”
“Congratulations to you,” said Tortoise. “I just do the best I can.”
Then they smelled smoke.
“The grass is burning!” shouted Tortoise.
“We must get to safety!” squawked Francolin.
Tortoise found a deep hole made by an elephant’s foot that was full of water. He plunged into the hole and survived the fire.
Francolin tried to fly away but the smoke and flames overcame him, and he fell to the ground and died.
He who boasts is not always best.
[a Banyoro story from Uganda]
Inspired by: "The Francolin and the Tortoise" in Ten Years in Equatoria by Gaetano Casati, 1891.
Notes: You can read the original story online, and you can read about Casati at Wikipedia. This is a story of the Nyoro people of Uganda. Compare the story of the tortoise and the partridge as told in Angola.