THE TURTLE AND HIS BRIDE 107
turtle, tossing his head. But though he was very much offended he did not let the girl see it, and begged and, prayed her so hard to marry him that, at last, she consented, very unwillingly.
' You will have to wait till the spring, though,' she said; ' I must make a great many slippers and dresses for myself, as I shall not have much time afterwards.'
This did not please the turtle ; but he knew it was no use talking, so all he answered was :
' I shall go to war and take some captives, and I shall be away several months. And when I return I shall expect you to be ready to marry me.'
So he went back to his hut, and at once set about his preparations. The first thing he did was to call all his relations together, and ask them if they would come with him and make war on the people of a neighbouring village. The turtles, who were tired of doing nothing, agreed at once, and next day the whole tribe left the camp. The girl was standing at the door of her hut as they passed, and laughed out loud—they moved so slowly. Her lover, who was marching at the head, grew very angry at this, and cried out:
' In four days from now you will be weeping instead of laughing, because there will be hundreds of miles between you and me.'
' In four days,' replied the girl—who had only promised to marry him in order to get rid of him—' in four days you will hardly be out of sight.'
' Oh, I did not mean four days, but four years,' answered the turtle, hastily ; ' whatever happens I shall be back by then.'
The army marched on, till one day, when they felt as if they must have got half round the earth, though they were scarcely four miles from the camp, they found a large tree lying across their path. They looked at it with dismay, and the oldest among them put their heads together to see what was to be done.