In a certain lake there lived a turtle named Shell-Neck whose friends were two geese whose names were Slim and Grim. During their time at the lake there came a twelve-year drought, and the two geese thought, "This lake has become totally dry, so we should go and find another source of water. However, before doing that we should say farewell to our dear friend Shell-Neck."

 

But when they went to say goodbye to their friend, the turtle tearfully said, "Why do you wish to leave me here? I’m also a water-dweller and I will certainly die very quickly from lack of water and from grief at losing my two best friends. Please, if you have any love for me, take me with you. If all the water dries up in this lake, you will only suffer a restricted diet – on the other hand, it means instant death to me!”

 

Slim and Grim replied: "But how will we take you with us? You are a creature without wings."

 

"There is a way,” said Shell-neck, “Bring me a wooden stick."

 

The two geese brought a stick to the turtle and Shell-neck gripped the middle of the stick between his teeth, and said, "Now of both of you take a firm hold with your beaks on each side of the stick, you take flight with myself in the middle until we discover another lake."

 

"That’s all well and good,” said the geese, “But if you happen to say even one word, then you’ll lose hold of the stick, fall to the ground and get killed."  

 

Shell-neck replied, "No problem – from this moment on I will take a vow of silence until we reach our new destination."

So the three friends carried out their plan. But while Slim and Grim painfully carried their turtle friend over a big city, all the people below looked up, and asked: "What is that object those two birds are carrying through the sky?" 



Hearing all the commotion, Shell-neck forgot about his vow of silence and asked, "What are all those people talking about?" As soon as he spoke, the poor turtle lost his grip, fell to the ground and was dashed to pieces.

The moral of this story is: "Those who cannot control the urge to speak (vacho-vegam) are the cause of their own doom."