Monday, November 5, 2012

The Iguana and the Turtle

The Iguana and the Turtle.

Once upon a time there lived two good friends,—an iguana and a turtle. They always went fishing together. One day the turtle invited the iguana to go catch fish in a certain pond that he knew of. After they had been there about two hours, the old man who owned the pond came along. The iguana escaped, but the turtle was caught. The old man took the turtle home, tied a string around its neck, and fastened it under the house.
Early in the morning the iguana went to look for his friend the turtle. The iguana wandered everywhere looking for him, and finally he found him under the old man’s house, tied to a post.
“What are you doing here, my friend?” said the iguana.
“That old man wants me to marry his daughter, but I do not want to marry her,” said the turtle.
Now, the iguana very much wanted a wife, and he was delighted at this chance. So he asked the turtle to be allowed to take his place. The turtle consented. So the iguana released the turtle, and was tied up in his place. Then the turtle made off as fast as he could.
When the old man woke up, he heard some one saying over and over again, “I want to marry your daughter.” He became angry, and went down under the house to see who was talking. There he found the iguana saying, “I want to marry your daughter.” The old man picked up a big stick to beat its head, but the iguana cut the string and ran away.
On his way he came across the turtle again, who was listening to the sound produced by the rubbing of two bamboos when the wind blew. “What! are you here again?” said the iguana.
[384]“Be quiet!” said the turtle. “I am listening to the pipe of my grandfather up there. Don’t you hear it?”
The iguana wanted to see the turtle’s grandfather, so he climbed up the tree, and put his mouth between the two bamboos that were rubbing together. His mouth was badly pinched, and he fell down to the ground. The turtle meanwhile had disappeared.
MORAL: This teaches that the one who believes foolishly will be injured.


This story is doubtless native. A Tinguian tale related to ours is given by Cole (No. 78), whose abstract runs thus:—
A turtle and lizard go to stem ginger. The lizard talks so loudly that he attracts the attention of the owner. The turtle hides; but the lizard runs, and is pursued by the man. The turtle enters the house, and hides under a cocoanut-shell. When the man sits on the shell, the turtle calls. He cannot discover source of noise, and thinks it comes from his testicles. He strikes these with a stone, and dies. The turtle and the lizard see a bees’ nest. The lizard hastens to get it, and is stung. They see a bird-snare, and turtle claims it as the necklace of his father. Lizard runs to get it, but is caught and killed.

Some of the incidents found in the Tinguian story we have met with in No. 55; e.g., episodes K, J, L, and “king’s bell.” Indeed, there appears to be a close connection between the “Monkey and Turtle” group and this story. A Borneo tale of the mouse-deer (plandok), small turtle (kikura), long-tailed monkey (kra), and bear contains the “king’s necklace” incident, and many other situations worthy of notice. A brief summary of the droll, which may be found in Roth, 1 : 342–346, is here given:—
The Kikura deceives the Plandok with the necklace sell (snare), and the Plandok is caught. When the hunter comes up, the little animal feigns death, and is thrown away. Immediately it jumps up, and is off to revenge itself on the turtle. It entices the turtle into a covered pit by pretending to give it a good place to sleep. Man examining pitfall discovers turtle, and fastens it with a forked stick. Monkey comes along, exchanges places with the turtle, but escapes with his life by feigning dead, as did the Plandok. Monkey, turtle, and Plandok go fishing. Monkey steals ride across stream on back of good-natured fish, which he later treacherously kills. The three friends prepare the fish, and Bruin comes along. Fearing the size of the bear’s appetite, they send him to wash the pan; and when he returns, fish, monkey, turtle, and mouse-deer have disappeared.

The escape of snared animals and birds by shamming dead, and then making off when the bunter or fowler throws them aside as worthless, is commonly met with in Buddhistic fables.[385]

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