16. The People and the Sea-Turtle

The ocean waves flooded the land again and again.
The people despaired.
“Plant palm-trees,” Sea-Turtle advised them. “The roots will hold the sand and stop the waves. Your villages will be safe!”
The people planted trees, and Sea-Turtle was right: their villages were safe from the ocean’s waves.
But are the people grateful? No, they are not. They dig up the turtle’s eggs in the sand and eat them. They catch turtles in the sea and eat them.
Just watch: captured turtles flap their flippers against their breast as if to say, “You owe us thanks! Not this! Not this!”

[a story from Ghana] 

Inspired by: "Why the Sea-turtle When Caught Beats Its Breast With Its Forelegs" in West African Folktales by William Barker and Cecilia Sinclair, 1917.
Notes: You can read the original story online.

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