the tortoise, the elephant and the hippopotamus - antiquefables.com

One day the tortoise met the elephant, who trumpeted, “Out of my way, you weakling—I might step on you!” The tortoise was not afraid and stayed where he was, so the elephant stepped on him, but could not crush him. “Do not boast, Mr Elephant, I am as strong as you are!” said the tortoise, but the elephant just laughed. So the tortoise asked him to come to his hill the next morning.

The next day, before sunrise, the tortoise ran down the hill to the river, where he met the hippopotamus, who was just on his way back into the water after his nocturnal feeding. “Mr Hippo! Shall we have a tug-of-war? I bet I’m as strong as you are!” said the tortoise. The hippopotamus laughed at this ridiculous idea but agreed.

The tortoise produced a long rope and told the hippo to hold it in his mouth until the tortoise shouted “Hey!” Then the tortoise ran back up the hill where he found the elephant, who was getting impatient. He gave the elephant the other end of the rope and said, “When I say ‘Hey!’ pull, and you’ll see which of us is the strongest. ”Then he ran halfway back down the hill, to a place where he couldn’t be seen, and shouted, “Hey!” The elephant and the hippopotamus pulled and pulled, but neither could budge the other-they were of equal strength. They both agreed that the tortoise was as strong as they were. Never do what others can do for you. The tortoise let others do the work for him while he got the credit.


the mysterious puzzle antiquefables.com




  1. what an interesting story! One may think fables should give some moral teaching, what should be done. Instead, this depicts the world quite accurately, people let others do the job and take the credit for it later.

  2. This is such an amazing reminder not to judge others by how the look. You can be anything you put your mind to!

  3. What a great lesson, hidden in a fun animal story! My son has a big book of tales just like this one, I wonder if this is in there somewhere!!

  4. This teaches a very valuable lesson. Put people in their strengths and stop trying to do work that others are more talented or more gifted to do.

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