There were once two geese and a turtle who lived together in a pond. One day, the geese invited the turtle to go on a journey.
"Dear turtle," they said, "please come with us to a great lake away in the north. It is a beautiful place, and we are sure you will like it."
"Alas," replied the turtle, "I am not able to fly and I walk so very slowly. The journey would be too hard for me."
"Don't worry," the geese assured him. "We have a plan! We will hold this stick in our beaks and you will grasp it in your jaws. So long as you do not open your mouth, you will be able to fly."
The turtle was very excited and did as the geese ordered, grasping the stick firmly in his jaws. The geese then took hold of the stick with their beaks and lifted the turtle up into the air.
The turtle was delighted to be flying and was also very careful to keep his mouth tightly shut. As they passed over a village, however, the people of the village saw the strange sight in the sky. "Look at that!" they shouted. "It's a turtle who thinks he's a bird!" They guffawed loudly, laughing at the hilarious spectacle.
The turtle was furious. "I do not think I am a bird!" he began to reply, but as soon as he opened his mouth to speak, he fell to the ground and was killed.
The geese were sad for their friend, but they kept on flying. The villagers, meanwhile, understood what had happened and said, "The poor turtle! He really would have been able to fly, if only he had kept his mouth shut."