The Mischievous Tortoise
Do you ever wonder why Nnabe, the Tortoise, is always portrayed as a mischievous personality in tales? You are not alone. Sometimes I try to understand the nature of this fictitious character, how he reasons, and why he acts the way he does. I even ask why this animal was picked to serve as a villain, and still a wise person.
This folktale is widely told in West Africa. I remember hearing it severally. I have also listened to another version of the race between the Tortoise and the Dog. Now pay attention to the story, and I will like to read what morals you have learned. Ifochakpi! Waaa!!
The Tortoise and The Rabbit
Nnabe, the Tortoise, and the rabbit was chatting when the Tortoise suddenly declared, “I bet I can beat you in a race.” The rabbit was stunned for a minute. He wasn’t sure he heard his friend correctly. “Did you say something about a race?” He asked. The tortoise elaborated, “Yes, I challenge you to a race, and I want all the animals present to witness your defeat.”
This cracked up the rabbit; he started to laugh. “This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” he said. “It will take you many years to cover the distance I can run in one day. It is silly to race against you. Everyone knows that I will win.”
But the Tortoise won’t have that, he pleaded with the rabbit until he accepted to race, and a date was fixed for the race between the two.
The day of the race came, and several animals came to witness the start of the race. There were also several animals waiting at the finish line.
The race began, and the rabbit hurried away, eager to get the race over with. The rabbit still thought it was ridiculous to be competing against the slow Tortoise in a race. But what the rabbit didn’t know was that the Tortoise had positioned his cousins along the race path while he waited near the finish line.
As the rabbit turned the corner around the forest path, he saw the Tortoise walking ahead of him. “What?! This is impossible!” he exclaimed. “How did you get here?” he asked.
“Though I stroll when I run fast, I run so fast you don’t even see me pass you,” Tortoise relatives replied. “Impossible!” Muttered the rabbit as he ran ahead of that tortoise.
The rabbit started to run faster. As he turned another corner in the forest path, he again saw the Tortoise walking ahead of him. “How did you get in front of me again?” He asked.
“Though I stroll when I run fast, I run so fast you don’t even see me pass you? Tortoise’s relatives replied as he slowly walked along. “Impossible!” Muttered the rabbit as he ran past the Tortoise.
The rabbit started to run even faster. Again, he turned a corner and saw another Tortoise walking ahead of him. “Oh, no! This cannot be happening,” Thought the rabbit as he ran past that tortoise. He wasn’t going to stop to talk anymore. He tried to run even faster but he couldn’t because he was getting tired.
Then, as he turned the corner to run the last stretch of the race, he saw Tortoise walking across the finish line ahead of him. “Impossible! Impossible!!” He yelled, but the Tortoise was declared the winner of the race.