Sacred-Texts African Index Previous Next


EVERYONE knows that Tortoise and Crab are enemies.

 One morning on the seashore they decided to fight to see which was the stronger, but, as both of them are protected by a hard shell, neither could succeed in injuring the other.

 Finally they came to an agreement that they were equal in strength.

 “We are so well protected by our p. 77 armour,” said Tortoise, “that no one can harm us.”

 “And thus,” said Crab, “we are the strongest creatures in the world.”

 But at this moment a boy passed by and picked them both up. Tortoise was boiled in a pot and his shell was made into ornaments, while Crab was cooked in a stew for the boy’s supper. Since that day the descendants of the two boasters have always been ashamed to meet, and that is why they always shun one another.