A little tortoise sat at the edge of the sea and gazed into the distance. Longingly, she looked at the birds flying effortlessly over the sea. They had their wings spread wide and soared elegantly through the clouds.
“It must be wonderful to look at the world from above and fly carefree through the air. I, on the other hand, am trapped in my heavy shell and crawl laboriously through the sand. How unfairly life plays out!” complained the little tortoise.
A passing eagle noticed the sad tortoise and landed right next to it. “Hello, little tortoise! Why do you look so sad? Is something wrong?” he asked her.
“I think you won’t be able to understand me, dear eagle. You are such a proud bird, soaring high in the sky without any effort and gliding through the air with your powerful wings,” the little tortoise replied.
“I, on the other hand, am a poor toad who can barely walk a meter without a whole day having passed. I wish you would teach me to fly. Then I too could soar through the air and view the world from above!”
The eagle was skeptical. “That will never be able to work. Just look at yourself – you have no wings at all. And you can’t fly without wings,” he countered.
“Don’t be a spoilsport! I’ve just never been taught how flying works. I’m sure it will work!” said the little tortoise, looking at the eagle with wide eyes.
The eagle could not refuse her wish and took the little tortoise in his clutches. He spread his wings and soared up into the sky.
The tortoise was beside himself with joy: “Up here it is even more beautiful than I had imagined in my wildest dreams! Now let me go so I can fly myself.”
“But little tortoise, be reasonable! You don’t have any…” the eagle continued, until he was interrupted by the tortoise. “Do it!” she shouted. The eagle was startled and let go of the little tortoise.
Like a wet sack, she fell into the depths until she dropped into the sea with a great splash. Fortunately, it had retreated into its shell in a flash, so that it resurfaced unharmed after some time.
Immediately the eagle rushed to her and landed next to her in the water. He was visibly relieved that the little tortoise had not hurt herself in the fall.
“Just in time,” the little tortoise gasped in relief. “You were right, wise eagle. Some things are probably better off not coming true, no matter how much you wish for them.”
Note: This story is based on Aesop’s fable, written around 600 BC. It was modernized and illustrated by us.
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