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Top 5 Tortoise Stories and Their Moral Lessons

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You must have heard or read famous stories about the tortoise, In this article we have a list of the top 5 Tortoise stories you should read. Tortoise is consider by many as to be slow, wise, smart and clever in the animal kingdom due to some of the stories the elderly ones have told us about the animal kingdom.

While growing up we get excited when elderly people tell us some fairy tales and popular stories of the tortoise and other animals in the animal kingdom.

Even in some rural villages, after dinner, the little children will gather around the elders to hear some of the stories and fairy tales about human and the animal kingdom. Just incase you missed some of those stories, we have compiled the top 5 Tortoise stories.


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1. The Tortoise and the Rabbit

Famous Stories

The Tortoise and the Rabbit – This story made it to the number 1 spot in our top 5 Tortoise stories.

Once upon a time a Tortoise and a Rabbit had an argument about who was faster, so they decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The rabbit shot ahead and ran briskly for some time.

Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he’d sit under a tree for some time and relax on the shade of a tree like an umbrella before continuing the race, soon fell asleep.

The tortoise walks sluggishly and overtook the rabbit and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champion. The rabbit woke up and realized that he’d lost the race. The rabbit was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he’d lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. This is one of the famous stories about the tortoise.

Moral Lesson; Slow and steady wins the race. And we shouldn’t be overconfident of ourselves.


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2. Tortoise and the Birds

The feast in the sky

Tortoise and the Birds – This story made it to the number 2 spot in our top 5 Tortoise stories.

Once upon a time, all the birds were invited to a feast in the sky. They were very happy and began to prepare themselves for the great day. Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant and as soon as he heard of the great feast in the sky.

Tortoise had no wings, but he went to the birds and asked to be allowed to go with them, and with his sweet tongue he was able to convince the birds and they each gave him a feather.

On their way the tortoise convince them to take new names for the feast and he called his self “All of You”. As they arrived in the sky, they were served food and the the server told them that the food is for all of you. Tortoise turned to the birds and said: ‘You remember that my name is All of You.

He ate the whole of the food and there is no food left for the birds and the birds grumbled angrily, so the birds decide to take back their feather each and the tortoise has no feather to fly back home, so he decide to send the birds to his wife. Tell my wife to bring out all the soft things in my house and cover the compound so that I can jump down from the sky without very great danger.

But the birds tell his wife to bring out all the hard things in the house. And so she brought out her husband’s hoes, matchers, spears, guns and even his cannon. Tortoise looked down from the sky and saw his wife bringing things out, but it was too far to see what they were. When all seemed ready he let himself go. He fell and crashed on the compound. That is why Tortoise’s shell is not smooth and its is consider as one of the popular stories of the tortoise.

Moral Lesson; We shouldn’t be too greedy.


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3. The Tortoise and the Hippopotamus

Tortoise and Hippo

The Tortoise and the Hippopotamus – This story made it to the number 3 spot in our top 5 Tortoise stories.

Once upon the time there was a hippopotamus, whose name was Joe, and he was one of the biggest kings on the land; he was second only to the elephant. The hippo had seven large fat wives, and he usually give a big feast to the people, but a curious thing was that, although everyone knew him, but no one, except his seven wives, knew his name.

At one of his feasts, the hippo said;

If you cannot tell my name, you all shall go away without the dinner.

As they could not guess his name, they had to go away and leave the food and palm wine behind. Then the tortoise stood up and asked; what he would do if he told him his name at the next feast. so the hippo replied that he and his whole family would leave the land, and for the future would dwell in the water.

It was tradition for the hippo and his seven wives going to the river every morning and evening to wash and have a drink of which the tortoise was aware. One day they went down to the river to bathe, the tortoise made a small hole in the middle of the path, and then waited. When the hippo and his wives returned, two of the wives were distance behind, so the tortoise came out from where he had been hiding, leaving the greater part of his shell exposed.

When the two hippo wives came along, the first one knocked her foot against the tortoise’s shell, and immediately called out to her husband,

Oh! Joe, my husband, I have hurt my foot.

At this moment the tortoise was very glad, as he had found out the hippo’s name. During the next feast the hippo made the same condition about his name, The tortoise then shouted as loud as he was able,

Your name is Joe

At which there was cheer from all the people, and then they sat down to their dinner. When the feast was over, the hippo went down to the river with his seven wives as he promised and they have always lived in the water from that day till now.

Moral Lesson; Nothing can stay hidden for a long time.


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4. The Tortoise and The Dog

The Tortoise and The Dog

The Tortoise and the Dog – This story made it to the number 4 spot in our top 5 Tortoise stories.

Once upon a time, there was a famine in the land, everyone was looking rather thin and unhealthy and tortoise and a dog were friends. Both of them, of course, were lazy and didn’t like to do any work and both usually didn’t have food to eat.

Tortoise notice that the Dog his friend do not have food to eat but looks smooth and fat. So Tortoise went to Dog and demanded to know how he was getting food to eat. Initially, Dog refused to tell Tortoise the secret (as he knew that the tortoise is a talkative).

He decided to show his where he got his food from. Very early the next morning before dawn broke, the Dog went to the Tortoise’s house and woke him up. Together they went to a farm outside their town, which had yams that were ready for harvest.

Both animals started to dig up the yams. Dog, being a smart animal, only dug up two or three yams which would be enough to serve him and his wife for a few days, but Tortoise being a greedy animal as well as a lazy one, dig more yams and which was too much for him to carry home.

The Dog has earlier warned him to be quick and dig few yams and escape before they got caught by the owner of the farm, but Tortoise did not listen, the dog knowing that the farmer would soon come quickly ran away with his yams without waiting for Tortoise. Tortoise started to call the dog to assist him to carry the yams but Dog pretended he didn’t hear Tortoise as he hurried to his home.

As the tortoise was struggling to carry all the yams, the owner of the farm arrived and met the tortoise with a plenty of yams. So he had the tortoise arrested and sent him to prison because of his theft. That was how the greedy and lazy tortoise was punished for his crime. This is  also one of the famous stories about the tortoise.

Moral Lesson; We should work hard and as well shouldn’t be greedy.


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5. The Tortoise and the Geese

famous Stories about the Tortoise.

The Tortoise and the Geese – This story made it to the number 5 spot in our top 5 Tortoise stories.

Once upon a time there lived a tortoise two geese, all three of whom were great friends. One day they faced a huge drought and for a long period there was clearly no rain. Rivers, lakes and ponds were drying up.

There was starvation in the land, they decided to leave the place and look for a different place but the tortoise could not fly, the geese thought of a plan that the tortoise would have to hold a piece of stick by its mouth which would be carried by the two geese.

The only condition was that the tortoise should not speak or it will fall from the stick to death. “That is simple,” said the tortoise, bring me a stick. I can hold the middle of the stick with my teeth and the tortoise agreed to be quiet. The geese flew up, holding the tortoise with them.

They travelled higher and higher, they flew over fields and mountains and then they travelled over a city. People of the city observed the unusual sight in the sky as they had never noticed anything like this before. The people start yelling and laughing at the tortoise the tortoise didn’t like the people yelling and unable to control his anxiety, he spoke out “Why should these idiots shout that way? ”, as he was about to uttered the words, he fell to the ground and was killed.

Moral Lesson; “Silence is the fence around wisdom” which means; If your foot slips, You can always regain your balance. But if your tongue slips, You can never recall the words. So think before saying anything in anger!


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