Once upon a time there was famine in the wood, and a tortoise that couldn’t find food was weak with hunger.
She decided to visit an old wolf that nobody could work out how, always had food supplies stashed away in a large hole in an old tree. She started out, and slowly, slowly she finally reached the wolf’s place; she saw him from afar. He had difficulty walking and was tripping over due to old age.
“Uncle wolf! Uncle wolf! How’s life?”
“Hi there, young tortoise! What are you doing round here?”
“I have come to ask you for some food Uncle wolf, because as you know, there is so much famine around.”
“Oh there’s famine is there? Well, well, what an awful world! Come closer to me so I can talk to you. I’m deaf in this ear, damned old-age!”
“My paws are burning, this bloody shell of mine weighs a ton.”
“It weighs a damn lot does it? Damn, damn those shells that you have!”
“It’s a burden, a burden!”
“Oh yes, you would be better off without it; you would feel a lot lighter.”
The tortoise came closer, and the wolf said: “Give me a kiss, my tortoise niece.”
And the tortoise was about to kiss the wolf, when with a sudden youthful leap, the wolf almost managed to bite the poor creature’s head off!
“Ahhh, you treacherous scoundrel! Now I know how you get all your food!” And without thinking twice, the tortoise escaped very slowly.
She walked and walked until she met a merry old sheep that was getting down to some hard work in a farmyard.
“Oh noble animal,” bawled the tortoise “could you give me some…but tell me, what are you doing?”
“Well I’m certainly not making milk my girl! Can’t you see I’m old? There’s so much famine, you know? And that little bit of extra milk my daughters manage to save would go off, so we are forced to make cheese. But tell me, what do you want?”
“I would like…I would…I’m almost ashamed to…Oh nothing, nothing”; and the tortoise was about to leave.
“Come here! Come here!”, shouted the sheep. “Here, take this little piece of cheese. It’s all I can give you, but you’ll see, it will be enough for you.”
“Oh, thank you noble animal. But listen, do you know something?”
“No. What, what?”
“I went to the old wolf’s place to ask him for some food, and do you know what he did? With the excuse of me giving him a kiss, he almost about bit my head off, but luckily my heavy shell saved me.”
“Take good care of your shell my lovely! If only I had your shell; the wolves’ teeth would send out sparks!”
“That’s true, that’s true, those wolves really are murderous animals!”
“When one is born wicked, my lovely, one cannot then die a virtuous person! Instead, when the wolves realise they have lost their strength, they grow even more wicked! On the contrary, when one is born kind, one wants to remain that way, and old-age only sweetens one even more…eat up, eat up and don’t think about it…”
“Quite so, quite so!”, said the tortoise with her mouth full.