There was once an island where only turtles lived. They lived there happily, for years, because the island was full of fruit trees and edible crops.
The turtles searched for food all day long and came together in the evening at the place where they lived. But one day something special happened: out of nowhere a partridge landed on their island. What a wonder! What a wonderful beauty, the turtles thought. They had never seen anything so beautiful.
The partridge had been overcome by heat and fatigue above the great ocean and had descended on the little dot of green in the depth below him. It turned out to be the island of turtles.
The turtles were grateful for that wonderful visit and they welcomed the partridge lovingly and kindly. He felt at home with them and decided to stay. They became friends, the partridge and the turtles. During the day the partridge flew away to find food and in the evening he came back to sleep.
After a while, the turtles started to miss the partridge during the day. They only saw him at night and said to each other, “Oh, how can we live without his sight? He is the most beautiful thing we have on our island, and once he’s gone, we miss its beauty. Our island is beautiful, but he makes it more beautiful. How we would love him to stay with us forever … That he was not only here when it was dark … What could we do to keep him here … What if he goes and never returns …
“Sisters,” said one of the turtles, who thought she was smarter than the rest, “we just have to ask him to stay with us. Staying is a sign of love and that you feel at home. I can arrange this.
“When you do that, we are eternally grateful! There is nothing more beautiful than to be together forever with the one you love.”
That evening the partridge came back unsuspecting: The turtles came around him and welcomed him. The one who thought she was smarter than the others stepped forward.
Dear partridge, we missed you so much today! How happy we are to see you again! This island it is not nice without you. You are our best friend! And shouldn’t close friends
always be together? But you leave as soon as it becomes light and come back late, when we are already asleep. We are best friends who are not together, isn’t that terrible!’
“I have missed you too, but I am a bird. I can not help but fly away in search of food, That’s why I have wings. A bird can only rest at night when he is asleep. ”
“But dear partridge … how shall I say it? Yes, you are a bird. But what do your wings bring you? You go back and forth and get so little in return. Rest is the most important thing for every being! That is why you have landed with us. That is why we have become friends, so you can get the tranquility you deserve. What if you are being attacked and eaten? Then we will never see you again!”
“But what can I do about that?” Asked the partridge.
“I have the solution: pick the feathers of your wings! Then you can no longer fly away and you will be in our midst forever. You do not have to fly high anymore. You are with us, you eat with us, drink with us, wake up with us and sleep with us. You will be as one of us.”
They are right, the partridge thought. Why should I make all that effort to go and return, if I can stay here, between my friends?
One by one he pulled the feathers from his wings, until the turtle said it was enough. The feathers he could not reach with his beak were pulled out by the turtles. From that day he partridge lived among the turtles and enjoyed the earthly pleasures and tranquility.
But … one day a weasel appeared. He saw the partridge between the branches and thought: what do I see there ?! A nice fat and meaty bird. And he is without feathers!
He rubbed his eyes to make sure he was not dreaming. Then he rushed on the partridge and grabbed him.
The partridge screamed and shouted: “Help! I am devoured! Help, turtles! Help, friends! ”
The turtles were startled when they saw the weasel and quickly crawled into their shields.
“Please help me! cried the partridge. Do something!”
“What could we do against a weasel? Nothing!” The turtles called back – though full of sadness.
The partridge understood that the turtles could not help him. “It is not your fault, dear friends. It is my own stupid fault. I deserve this fate because I have chosen to listen to you. I have pulled out the feathers myself with which I could have taken off. Had I not done that, the weasel would never have been able to get hold of me. I am not blaming you. Really: it is not your fault”
To his own stupid surprise, the partridge managed to wriggle out of the weasel with his last forces and ran away. The weasel looked eagerly at the partridge and before he had vanished from sight, then he exclaimed, “Fortunately you pulled your feathers out in a fairy tale and not in real life. In real life a bare partridge could never have escaped from my mouth!”
From then on, the partridge let its feathers grow, and flew away once in a while. But in the evening he usually returned to the island. And that was enough for the turtles. They never again suggested that he should change himself for them.