The Dancing Turtle
The Dancing Turtle
A folktale from Brazil
By Pat Betteley


Narrator 1

Narrator 2

Narrator 3 Turtle

O Pai: Father, pronounced “oo PIE,”

Jose: son

Maria: daughter

NARRATOR 1: Many years ago, on the banks of the mighty Amazon River, Turtle played her flute in the warm sun.

TURTLE: I play notes high. I play notes low. I play them fast. I play them slow. I tap my toe. Then away I go!

NARRATOR 1: Turtle danced her happiest dance, twirling this way and that. She bobbed. She grooved. She busted out her moves. When she was done, Turtle pulled her head and legs into her shell and slept. Little did she know that a man was peeking at her from behind a wide, green leaf.

She did not hear his stomach growl with hunger or feel him pick her up with strong, brown hands until it was too late.

O PAI: I have got you, no! My family will enjoy turtle soup tonight.

NARRATOR 2: He walked home with Turtle and her flute in his bag.

O PAI: Criancas, children! Look at the fat turtle I have brought. I followed the sweet sounds of a flute to the riverbank where I found her dancing. When her song was finished, she went to sleep, and I caught her. Run and fetch the cage. Tomorrow, we will enjoy delicious turtle soup.

JOSE: Here is the cage, made of strong sticks.

MARIA: I will tie the door shut so she can’t escape.

NARRATOR 2: The next morning, O Pai went to work in the fields.


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May/June 2020