#122 – The Tall Tale of Tony the Turtle

Once upon a time, in a rainforest buzzing with life, there lived a turtle named Tony who, although very kind and patient, was tired of watching all of the other animals in the rainforest live exciting lives. Every evening before going to bed, the animals would gather at the lake and take it in turns to talk about the most exciting part of their day. The Gorilla would start as he always had the most compelling stories to tell. He would speak in a low voice that everyone wanted to listen to and would add just enough detail to keep everyone interested, wanting to hear more. Tony the Turtle, on the other hand, always spoke last, as his stories were usually the least entertaining because not only did he not do many things during the day, he also spoke in a soft voice that was difficult even for owl to hear. It was common for many of the forest animals to go to bed once Tony had started his stories. So, tonight, Tony decided he was going to do something he had never done before. Tony was going to lie about his day.

Gorilla told terrific tales of escaping predators by swinging on vines. Snake spoke of getting lost in his many burrows underground and how he thought he was going to be stuck forever but then managed to find his way out at the last minute. Spider commanded the attention of the animals when speaking of the record number of flies he had caught that day. Lizard entertainingly re-enacted the moment he leaped over three logs to catch a rare insect. Even sloth, who Tony the Turtle thought spoke slower than he did, managed an exciting story of climbing the tallest tree he had ever climbed. When all of the animals had finished, it was Tony’s turn, and some of the animals were already preparing themselves for their bedtime.

“I fought a tiger, today,” Tony began softly.

All of the rainforest animals stopped and stared at Tony who was yet to ever mention anything any more exciting than the dreams he had while napping during the day. The animals who were making their way to the beds turned around took their places back in the circle. Some of the animals were naturally sceptical and questioned Tony’s story.

“That’s simply not possible,” said the anteater. “What happened? Give us the details!”

All of the animals had their eyes on Tony, making him nervous, but he gathered his thoughts and slowly began to recount his imaginary day.

“Well, I was taking a nap, see. Over there, see.” The animals followed Tony’s foot as he pointed towards the fallen tree hanging over the edge of the lake. “And, see, you were all out chasing things and eating things and having fun, see.” This was by far the longest that Tony had ever held the animals’ attention, so it was too late for him to stop now. “And, well, a tiger… a big tiger… a huge and nasty tiger came out of the forest, see. Looking for food, see. But no one was here to protect the lake, see.”

The other animals looked at each other, feeling sorry that they had left turtle to fend for himself. “What happened?” asked the spider impatiently.

“Well, see, I might not move fast, but I can think fast, see, so I crawled out of the lake from where I was having my nap and I told the tiger, ‘You don’t belong here!’, and he got really mad, see.” By now, all of the animals had their mouths open and their eyes were wide while staring at Tony, desperate to hear more. “So, thinking fast, like I said, I picked up a rock, see, and I threw it at his head. Got him right between the eyes, see, and he ran right away, see, over there.” Again the turtle drew their attention to where he was pointing.

The animals were amazed, they couldn’t believe that Tony had protected the lake from a tiger, but had also managed to have the most exciting day out of all of the rainforest animals. The next day, they decided to have a celebration to thank Tony for everything he had done. Some of the animals even invited him out on their adventures, telling him they knew he could protect them if he wanted. This gave Tony even more interesting stories to talk about and, before long, he was being asked to speak first during the evening’s discussions. Gorilla, being one of the smartest animals had kept his doubts about Tony to himself up until now.

“I will let Tony speak before me if he can throw this rock into the lake.” Gorilla held up a modestly sized rock. Some of the animals looked confused, but Tony just started to cry.

“I can’t! I can’t throw a rock, see!” Tony held up his foot to show that he would be unable to throw even he wanted to. Many of the animals felt angry that Tony had lied to them, but they also understood they had forced him to lie by not including him in their evening stories. From then on, Tony the Turtle was allowed to speak straight after Gorilla, but only on the condition that he didn’t lie and he didn’t talk about his dreams.

THE END

My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.

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