Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Storytelling Week 4: The Mighty King and the Turtle

(Group of Men Discussing Turtle)


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 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).


  1. Hey Karisa. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your story. I hadn't read the story you took your inspiration from, but I really liked how you captured the innocence of the children as well as how to kids all obscure/unknown things look like monsters. It was interesting to see it from the father's perspective as well, just because the monster actually turning out to be a turtle is just ridiculous and you get to see that unconditional fatherly love shine through. Great job!

  2. I like how your story was based off how a typical relationship between a father and his sons would be played out. I like how you made it where the final plot to rid the lake of the "demon" was not to kill it but to actually just remove it from the lake and into the river. I enjoyed reading your story in first person with thought and dialogue. I made the story more interesting.

  3. Hi, Karissa,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story from the King's perspective - I think it's funny when he says that he should have known his boys were blowing things out of proportion.

    It's fun to imagine some great big king creeping down to a river, a host of armored guards at his back, just to "vanquish" a turtle. All those people so worked up for nothing!

    The overall tone of your story was light and fun. The overly excitable kids are great and I can't help but wonder what other kind of shenanigans they get up to. The setting of the tone was done with the photo you chose and the opening line, too. The way you used all caps for some of the words for emphasis was done smartly. This is something that can get kinda tricky because it can cross over into obnoxiousness pretty quick - but you rode that line well!

  4. Hi there, Karisa! I thought your story was great! You did a great job of interjecting personality into your main character. I feel like by retelling the story in the first person, we were able to really get a feel for what kind of person the King was. You made him really likeable! I think sometimes it’s hard to make Kings seem like kind, fatherly figures, but you pulled it off! In addition, the mix of dialogue and description was very balanced, with neither one overwhelming the other.

    There were a few things I would change, but overall, you did a really great job! There should be a comma after “eh” towards the middle of your story. I also felt like the section of dialogue were they were brainstorming ideas was a tad bit repetitive with the “one” and “another designations. It would have been cool if you described the soldiers (Like: said the soldier with wild, curly hair).

    GREAT job!

  5. Hey Karisa! I really enjoyed reading your story. I think it was a great idea to tell the story from the perspective of the king. And I think you did a great job capturing his voice. I don't know if it was a stylistic choice or not, but the large spaces between paragraphs was a little distracting. However, I did like that most of the dialogue was separated from the body of the text. It made the dialogue really stand out. I especially liked the scene when all of the king's guards are helping him formulate a plan. You did a great job of presenting their ideas. The sentence at the end of the story is so well crafted! It tied the story together perfectly and left me feeling satisfied as a reader. The only thing I would add is for the sons to describe the "demon" to their father. I think it would add to the mystery of the story. I look forward to reading more of your stories this semester!

  6. Hello Karisa, this was a pretty funny story to read. I liked how you stuck with the original story and told it from the view of the king. The king must have it easy but man those four little spoiled boys kind of annoy me. I don’t think I’ll ever have boys that are afraid of a turtle or any other small creature. It was funny how some of the guards had good ideas and some that had not so bright ideas. That really captured the different personalities of the guards instead of them usually being robotic and waiting for the king’s orders. In the end where the king rests until his kids find another “demon” to vanquish, I feel like the king might get annoyed with all these “demons” that are going to pop up. Overall this was a great story to read and there weren’t a lot of errors that I could see. Hope to read more of your stories this semester!

  7. This was another great story from your portfolio. I really liked the dialogue between the characters. I heard the voices get louder when you put the dialogue in all caps. Your use of words are definitely writing on an adult level and made the story much more entertaining. I also learned a few words from looking up the words. I didn’t see any grammatical errors of confusing points, so you edited very well. Changing the perspective is also a nice touch too because it gives a different outlook on how the story was told

    I don’t really have anything negative to say. I thought this story was very entertaining to read and I wanted to read to the end. You have the same theme as my story so I think that’s really cool. I hope to look for inspiration from this story because you have much more dialogue than mine and I can benefit more to add some to my stories.

  8. Hey there Karisa, Your story was really good! I like how you were able to portray the king as a good father to his two sons. You did a job by writing the story in first person as if the reader was the king and letting the reader know what the king was thinking at all moments. It really gave me a good portrayal of what the king was like having his two sons always exaggerate in fear for little things. I really do like how even though the king had an idea that his sons had exaggerated the demon he still prepared all his men for battle. This gave me the depiction of a good father because it shows that he would do anything for his sons even if it were not a big deal. I think you did a very good job on the writing style for this story. I really enjoyed this good job!

  9. Hey there Karisa!
    I think you did a great job retelling the original story. I haven’t gotten the chance to read the original story but from your author’s note I believe I got a pretty good idea. It’s always nice to see things from a different perspective so I also think that it’s awesome that you told it from the King’s perspective. I really just enjoyed the story overall. It was both funny and intense when they went searching for the “demon.” It’s great that the King seemed to really care about his sons. Also, I like the way you ended your story and the line you ended it with!
    I didn’t really notice any major things throughout your storytelling. Some very small things that I did notice was, for example, in the very first line, I think there should be another quotation mark in front of the first “father.”