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Polaris AB: The Fable Collection of Short Stories
No matter how hard he tries and no matter where he goes, a Tortoise can never leave home for he always has to carry his house on his back.
All that heavy weight he carries round with him means it takes time to reach somewhere and time to achieve something. So the Tortoise often decides to wait and stay exactly where he is - which is quite useful if where you always are, is always where your home is too. And wherever the Tortoise is, if he doesn't expect to finish anything then why bother to start anything.
Although he was slow in movement, his mind worked at high speed and he often spent his time day-dreaming and creating imaginary scenarios and events in which he was fully participating and honoured amongst the animal community.
All this while waiting around for nothing in particular because he did nothing and created nothing, got the Tortoise observing the lives that all the others around him were living. He marvelled at the Hares racing around the fields, the Squirrels chasing each other up and down the trees, the Deer leaping tall hedges and the Mountain Goats nimbly jumping over rocks as they climbed to the tops of mountains.
The Tortoise thought to himself, I expect that if I didn't have this burden on my back, that I could run up mountains and race across fields and climb trees and jump over hedges. Then he saw how the Hare lived in a hole in the ground, and the Squirrel lived in a home made of sticks high up in the trees, and the Deer slept in the long grass, and the Goats lay on ledges high up in the mountain peaks. What a burden he felt it was to carry a house around with him all the time. I expect that I would be so much happier without it - he often muttered to himself.
One day, he met a pair of ducks by the side of the lake, so he told them about all his expectations and how he was cursed with having to carry around his home everywhere he went and how much freedom he would enjoy without it.
"That's easy" - said the ducks. "We can help you to see the whole world and see how all the other animals live too." The Tortoise smiled as his expectations rose to even higher heights.
"Just take hold of this stick with your mouth and we will carry you far up into the air so that you can see the whole countryside."
The Tortoise was delighted. Finally, he would be able to travel somewhere without his home being a burden to him and that all his expectations would be met. He seized the stick firmly in his mouth, the two ducks took hold of either end and lifted up flying high into the sky above.
As they soared higher and higher, an Eagle passed them by. He was very surprised at the amazing sight before him - "I didn't expect to ever see this - surely this must be the King of the Tortoises" he exclaimed.
"Well I am......................" began the tortoise.
But as he opened his mouth to answer the Eagle, he foolishly let go of the stick he was holding and fell like a stone down to the ground where he and his home were permanently separated.
And the Moral of this story is:
Foolish expectation often leads to downfall and misfortune.
Aesop's Fables c. 600 B.C.