It so happened one day that a tortoise, neither old nor young, was just outside the verge of a hedge, drinking the droplets of dew from the tiny leaves of a wild rocket plant.

       While it was chasing the crazy droplets which dripped down from one leaf to another, with its frenzied and unruly tongue, the brink of the hedge gave way and the tortoise fell rolling over, and landed upside down, daubed in mud with its head and little paws in the air!

       The tortoise thought it was done for when it could no longer see the ground, but only a lot of warm light and the vast starless sky; it could already see its tiny little body in its shell, withered by the sun, and the ants all celebrating as they carried its flesh off into their holes!

       It was terrified and frantically moving its four little paws and head, when along came a hungry wolf! It threw itself at the shell and then started to bite all over…

       The wolf broke two teeth, and in its frenzy of biting and blows with its paws, without meaning to it turned the tortoise back to its natural position.

     “Oh how wonderful it is to be a tortoise and not a blackbird! Very often the very wolves that want to hurt you help you. How wonderful it is to have a shell!” the tortoise shouted happily…it then carefully scratched its tail by way of exorcism!

       And the happy tortoise fled very slowly, without being able to think that life in the woods is sometimes, very, very strange!

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