This is a story from my books of fables, which I told at toddler’s Story Time at a local library.
Far away in India lived three friends, Gipa and Gupta the geese and Snapahandra the turtle. They gossiped and joked together in their shallow lake for many months.
Snapahandra had two problems. He was kind of snappy and he always had to have the last word. Gita and Gupta didn’t mind too much, after all no one is perfect.
Now in India it gets very hot and it doesn’t rain for months and months.Then the monsoon comes and it rains buckets full. This makes everyone so happy after the long dry season, they come out in the street and dance in the floods. But this was the dry time and the friend’s lake was drying up, leaving cracked clay around the edges as it shrink. The three friend’s lake was disappearing day by day, as heat waves curled up toward the sky. This was not so bad for Gita and Gupta, who could fly to another lake, but slowpoke Snapahandra was in trouble.
Now Gita and Gupta wanted to help their snappy friend and they were clever geese. They couldn’t just carry him to another lake, but they came up with a genius plan.
“Snapahandra,” said Gita. “The lake is drying up and we’re flying to a bigger one.” Snapahandra may have looked sad, but it was hard to tell, because the corners of a turtle’s mouth always point down. “Don’t worry,” said Gita, “We’re going to take you with us.” I can’t fly, you silly geese,” said Snapahandra, thinking he had the last word.
“Right,” said Gupta. “Gita will hold one end of this stick in his beak, I will hold the other end in my beak, and you must bite onto the middle. That way we can carry you with us to a bigger lake.” “Why, that’s so crazy it just might work,” said Snapahandra. Gita took one end of the stick, Gupta took the other and Snapahandra bit on the middle.
“Now Snapa,” said Gita. “You must not let go of the stick while we are in the air. Keep your mouth shut tight. Remember that.” “Nothing wrong with my memory,” snapped Snapahandra. The three rose from the drying lake, up up into the sky with Snapahandra dangling from the stick. It worked!
When they flew over a group of mean monkeys sitting on top of the Monkey Temple, the monkeys began laughing and pointing. “Have you ever seen anything so ridiculous,” one asked pointing. “Look at that stupid turtle,” another said, “he thinks he’s a shell a copter.” They laughed and laughed and slapped their hairy thighs.
Snapahandra got mad and, wanting the last word, opened his mouth to tell them off….and well, you tell me what happened. (Here’s the PG ending) Down, down he tumbled, landing fanny first in the mud on the bank of a small river. THUCK. It took him four hours to climb out of the mud, even with Gipa and Gupta’s help. “I told you to keep your mouth shut,” said Gipa in frustration. Snapahandra snapped back, “Nonsense. I meant to do that. This is the river I wanted to go to,” because he still always had to have the last word.
The moral of the story is: Sometimes it’s better to ignore the mean monkeys and just keep your mouth shut.