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The tortoise goes to a feast in the sky – African Folk Tales


Why The Turtle Has a “Cracked” Shell 

There was a famine in the animal kingdom and Ketu the tortoise was finding  food was hard to come by. However, he found out that all the birds in the forest were preparing for the great annual bird feast in the sky and those who had been lucky enough to attend this annual event could testify to the abundance of food at the feast. Since the feast took place in the sky, only the birds could attend. But Ketu the tortoise was not one to give up so easily. He went to every bird he knew and borrowed a feather making using one excuse or another When he had gathered enough glued all these feathers to his back and all over his body and soon, he was the most colorful bird you had ever seen. 

On the day of the feast, Ketu the tortoise joined the other birds to make the trip to the great feast in the sky. The other birds could not recognize this strange colorful bird and asked him who he was.

Ketu responded and said his name was: “All of Us”

When it was time for the feast, all the food was laid out on a table. Ketu the tortoise asked: “who does this food belong to?” and all the birds answered “all of us”. Ketu the tortoise said, “that is me, my name is All of Us” and so he ate all the food while the birds had none.

The birds were so angry that they grabbed “All of Us”, but as they grabbed him, his feathers would come off until the tortoise was revealed. To punish him, the birds decided to leave him in the sky, they would not fly him back to land. Tortoise begged the birds to give a message to his wife. He then asked his wife to lay out as many mattresses as she could find so he could have a soft landing. The birds who were still angry told his wife that her husband wanted her to bring out all the furniture in the house and that was what she did.

The tortoise jumped from the sky, but instead of landing on a soft mattress, he landed on wood furniture and his shell broke into many pieces.

His wife collected these pieces and glued them together and that is why the tortoise does not have a smooth shell.


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