THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 113
plan to deliver herself from the turtle. At length she remembered that one of her friends had a large iron pot, and when the turtle had gone to his room to put away his fringes, she ran over to her neighbour's and brought it back. Then she filled it with water and hung it over the fire to boil. It was just beginning to bubble and hiss when the turtle entered.
' What are you doing there ? ' asked he, for he was always afraid of things that he did not understand.
' Just warming some water,' she answered. ' Do you know how to swim ?'
' Yes, of course I do. What a question ! But what does it matter to you ? ' said the turtle, more suspicious than ever.
' Oh, I only thought that after your long journey you might like to wash. The roads are so muddy, after the winter's rains. I could rub your shell for you till it was bright and shining again.
' Well, I am rather muddy. If one is fighting, you know, one cannot stop to pick one's way. I should certainly be more comfortable if my back was washed.'
The woman did not wait for him to change his mind. She caught him up by his shell and popped him straight into the pot, where he sank to the bottom, and died instantly.
The other turtles, who were standing at the door, saw their leader disappear, and felt it was their duty as soldiers to follow him ; and, springing into the pot, died too. All but one young turtle, who, frightened at not seeing any of his friends come out again, went as fast as he could to a clump of bushes, and from there made his way to the river. His only thought was to get away as far as possible from that dreadful hut ; so he let the river carry him where it was going itself, and at last, one day, he found himself in the warm sea, where, if he is not dead, you may meet him still.
[Bureau of Ethnology.]