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p. 73


TORTOISE had many enemies, and they plotted together to kill him.

 One night when Tortoise was asleep in his hut, they set fire to it, and as they saw the flames leaping up, they said to one another:

 “He cannot escape. He will die.”

 But Tortoise drew himself into his shell and was untouched by the fire, and in the morning his enemies were astonished to see him walking about as usual.

 Soon they made another plan and threw Tortoise into a pool of water.

 “The pool is deep. He will drown,” said his enemies to one another.

 But Tortoise had drawn himself into his shell and was secure, and at noon the sun shone fiercely and dried up the pool.

 That evening Tortoise walked about the village as if nothing had happened, and his enemies were astonished.

p. 74

 The next day they made a third attempt to kill him. They made a deep hole in the ground and buried Tortoise, and this time they were quite sure he could not escape. To mark the place, they put a bamboo stake in the ground.

 Meanwhile a man who was passing saw the bamboo stake, and thought, “Someone has buried a treasure here!” He called his friends, and they began to dig, but all they found was Tortoise fast asleep inside his shell.

 Tortoise walked about the village again, looking very happy, and his enemies were filled with astonishment.

 “He has a charm, and we shall never be able to kill him,” they said to one another, and from that day they left him in peace.