Skip to content

The Tortoise and the Lizard

The Tortoise and the Lizard is one of those wonderful tales coming out of Africa. Once upon a time, there was a famine in the land of the animals. One day, the lizard was passing by a farm when he saw the farmer approach a rock. The lizard hid and watched as the farmer rolled the rock away to reveal the entrance into a cave. The farmer went inside and came out a few minutes later with a handful of yams and rolled the rock back into its place.

The lizard waited for the farmer to leave then he too rolled away from the rock and went into the cave. Inside the cave were several stacks of yams. The lizard took out a yam and rolled the rock back into its place. Every day, the lizard would return to the cave to take a yam and would go home to eat the yam.

The tortoise

One day the lizard was carrying his yam home, he came across the tortoise who asked him where he had gotten his yam. He offered to tell him on the condition that the tortoise told no one. The tortoise promised to keep the secret, so the lizard told the tortoise to meet him the following morning and he would take him to the secret cave. Early the next morning, before the very first cock crow, the lizard and the tortoise went to the secret cave. When they got there, the lizard rolled the rock away to reveal the entrance to the cave. The tortoise could not believe his eyes for there were more yams in there than even he could eat, because the tortoise was a very greedy fellow.

The farmer

The lizard picked a yam and started on his way home but the tortoise was not done yet. He was going to carry as many yams as he could and maybe even more. Very soon, the farmer came and found the tortoise who was still busy collecting yams. By this time, the lizard was home, had eaten his yam and was taking a nap. The farmer grabbed the tortoise and asked him how he came to be in the cave.

The tortoise confessed that the lizard had brought him there, so the farmer took the tortoise to the lizard’s house. There they found lizard lying on his back. The farmer asked lizard if it was he who brought tortoise to his cave. The lizard was shocked and said it was not possible as he had been feeling unwell and lying on his back all day. The farmer grabbed the tortoise and threw him against the wall and the tortoise lay on the floor with a broken shell. The tortoise cried out to the insects of the forest who helped him pick up and glue the pieces of his shell together. And that was how the tortoise ended up with a broken shell.

The Tortoise and the Lizard blog post by Tales from Africa Travel

Tales from Africa blogs and e-books

You want to know about Africa, it’s history, the folklore, the interesting facts. You want to understand this fascinating continent. Our blog page is dedicated to stories and blogs that give you an insight into the legends. Read our Tales from Africa. Tales that tell you facts about wildlife you didn’t know. And that take you into the mind of the people that call Africa home.

Our e-books with practical information

Do you want practical tips and information or learn about the life of an ostrich? We have our e-books to cover some typical topics, for instance how a safari works, practical tips for self-driving or which countries have opened up again during the Covid-pandemic.

Read our other Tales from Africa