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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 230 (Babrius 115)

There was once a slow-moving tortoise who said to the shearwaters of the marsh and to the gulls and the wild terns, 'If only I too had been made with wings!' An eagle spoke to her in jest and said, 'O little tortoise, what wages would you give to me, an eagle, if I were to lift you lightly up into the air?' 'I would give to you all the gifts that come from the Eastern Sea,' said the tortoise. 'Well then, I will teach you,' said the eagle. He lifted the tortoise and carried her upside down until they were hidden in the clouds, and then he dropped her onto a mountaintop, completely smashing the shell she wore upon her back. As she breathed her last, the tortoise said, 'It serves me right! What use did I have for clouds or for wings, when I already had trouble moving about on the ground!'

Note: For a quite different story about the eagle and the tortoise, see Fable 111. The Buddhist Kacchapa - jataka has some motifs in common with this fable: a tortoise wants to fly away with two birds who are his friends, so the birds grip a stick between their beaks which the tortoise clings to with his mouth, but of course he cannot manage to keep quiet, and so he plunges to his death.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.