70. The People and the Turtle

A man once caught a turtle.
“How shall we kill him?” he asked the people.
“Chop him with hatchets!” the people shouted.
Turtle laughed. “Hatchets can’t chop me.”
“Let’s crush him with stones!”
“Stones can’t crush me.”
“Then burn him in fire!”
“Fire can’t burn me.”
“We’ll cut him with knives!”
“Knives can’t cut me.”
“We must throw him in the water!”
“Oh no!” screamed Turtle. “Please don’t throw me in the water!”
So they took Turtle to the river and threw him in.
Turtle dove down and popped up. Water is my home! he sang. Water is my home!

[an Ambundu story from Angola] 

Inspired by: "Man and Turtle" in Folktales of Angola by Heli Chatelain, 1894.
Notes: You can read the original story online. You can also find the original Kimbundu text.


  1. Haha if the people hadn't been so gullible they'd have realised he was tricking them al along!