|(Group of Men Discussing Turtle)|
FATHER, FATHER, FATHER, FATHER, FATHER, FAAAAATHERRRR!”
The cries of my sons could be heard up and down the long, winding corridors of my palace.
“What is it ,my children?!” I called back to them.
“There is a demon on the bank of the lake!” they yelled back simultaneously.
Now I should have known then that the boys were just being overly dramatic as usual, but being the overly protective father I am…I assembled the guards.
“GUARDS!” I yelled. “Come at once! We must come up with a plan to rid the lake of a wretched demon that is terrorizing my sons! This is absolutely unacceptable!”
All of my mightiest men assembled in the banquet hall. We began brainstorming ideas left and right. Some of the ideas were great...others...eh not so much.
“We can vanquish it with our swords!” one man yelled.
“We can ambush it with cannons!” interjected another.
"We can just let the devil have the lake and build a new one!" exclaimed one.
“How about we send the priests in with sage?!” offered another.
Hmmmm. They were all mostly valid ideas. How was I, king of this kingdom, supposed to decide what to do next!? I knew! We must get a closer look at the wretched thing!
“SILENCE!” I declared. ”I know what we will do! Ready your armor, men. We are going to get a closer look at the demon.”
So I readied my men and we drew our blades and took off on a journey down to the courtyard. We went through all of the different golden rooms until we reached the large wooden door to the courtyard. There, we took a brief pause to muster our courage.
“Alright, men, beyond these doors is the monster…Once we go in, there is no going back. Whatever happens, I am glad that I have you all, the most courageous men in all my kingdom, by my side.”
And with that we thrust open the doors. Down to the lake we crept with cat-like stealth. Looking right, looking left, looking behind us, then eyes back to the front. As we approached the lake I saw what my sons had been talking about. I was staring the demon right in its cold, unforgiving eyes.
“AHAHAHAHA!” I let out a huge laugh which confused my guards tremendously. “It’s a turtle. The demon of which my sons speak is a turtle!!!”
And with that, I scooped the little devil up in my hands and tossed it into the part of the lake that had a current so it was flushed out into the river. When I returned to my throne room, I found my sons still shaking and hiding behind it.
“My sons, your father has vanquished the demon by the lake so you have nothing to fear there any longer.”
“Oh thank you, father! Thank you! We hope to be as brave as you one day!”
“You will be. Now off with you, go play some more before dinner.”
And with that, they were off. I slumped down in my throne to get a little rest before they came back with another “demon” for their father to vanquish.
Author's Note: The story I wrote about is from Jataka Tales and is called The Turtle Who Saved his Own Life. The original story is about two princes who are playing by a lake and see a turtle (which they've never seen before). The boys panic and go to their dad, the king, and tell him that they've seen a demon. The king then demands his guards bring it to him and they go over ways to kill it. An old man who is afraid of water says to throw the turtle in the current because that is the worst fate. The turtle hears this and chooses to speak and begs them not to do this because it is a very cruel fate. When they toss him down there he smirks and makes a comment about how he will live a happy life now that they let him free. I chose to write this story from the perspective of the king. I did this because after reading it from a third person point of view left me thinking about what the king really had to be thinking about when he found out his sons were freaking out about this turtle.
Bibliography: Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt, illustrated by Ellsworth Young (1912).