The Turtle

: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori

Once I went with Milton to the chase. Near the forest he began to

search. He straightened out his tail, pricked his ears, and began to

sniff. I fixed the gun and followed him. I thought that he was looking

for a partridge, hare, or pheasant. But Milton did not make for the

forest, but for the field. I followed him and looked ahead of me.

Suddenly I saw what he was searching for. In front of him was running a

small turt
e, of the size of a cap. Its bare, dark gray head on a long

neck was stretched out like a pestle; the turtle in walking stretched

its bare legs far out, and its back was all covered with bark.

When it saw the dog, it hid its legs and head and let itself down on the

grass so that only its shell could be seen. Milton grabbed it and began

to bite at it, but could not bite through it, because the turtle has

just such a shell on its belly as it has on its back, and has only

openings in front, at the back, and at the sides, where it puts forth

its head, its legs, and its tail.

I took the turtle away from Milton, and tried to see how its back was

painted, and what kind of a shell it had, and how it hid itself. When

you hold it in your hands and look between the shell, you can see

something black and alive inside, as though in a cellar. I threw away

the turtle, and walked on, but Milton would not leave it, and carried it

in his teeth behind me. Suddenly Milton whimpered and dropped it. The

turtle had put forth its foot inside of his mouth, and had scratched it.

That made him so angry that he began to bark; he grasped it once more

and carried it behind me. I ordered Milton to throw it away, but he

paid no attention to me. Then I took the turtle from him and threw it

away. But he did not leave it. He hurriedly dug a hole near it; when the

hole was dug, he threw the turtle into it and covered it up with dirt.

The turtles live on land and in the water, like snakes and frogs. They

breed their young from eggs. These eggs they lay on the ground, and they

do not hatch them, but the eggs burst themselves, like fish spawn, and

the turtles crawl out of them. There are small turtles, not larger than

a saucer, and large ones, seven feet in length and weighing seven

hundredweights. The large turtles live in the sea.

One turtle lays in the spring hundreds of eggs. The turtle's shells are

its ribs. Men and other animals have each rib separate, while the

turtle's ribs are all grown together into a shell. But the main thing is

that with all the animals the ribs are inside the flesh, while the

turtle has the ribs on the outside, and the flesh beneath them.