[From African Jungle Tales by Carl Bender, 1919. See item #27 in the Bibliography.]

Mrs. Turtle one day heard of a dance which was to take place in a neighboring town. She was very anxious to go, but she had no necklace to put on.

After thinking over the matter, she went to her friend, Mrs. Pig, who lived at the other end of the town, to borrow her necklace. Her friend was only too glad to help her out, and with great expectations of a jolly good time Mrs. Turtle hurried off.

During the dance in the midst of all the excitement, the necklace was stolen from Mrs. Turtle. This greatly troubled her mind and caused her to leave the dance before time.

On her way home, she stopped in at Mrs. Pig’s place.

“Have you come back with my necklace?!” Mrs. Pig asked.

“They have stolen it from me,” replied Mrs. Turtle in a sorrowful tone.

“Then you shall pay for it,” indignantly answered Mrs. Pig.

Several moons had passed. During all this time, nothing was seen of Mrs. Turtle. So Mrs. Pig one day said to her husband, “Grunty, you had better go to the hut of the Turtle and see about the payment for my necklace. I must have another in time for the big dance at the next full moon. You had better be up and doing. There is no time to be lost!”

So Grunty went to the hut of the Turtle. When the Turtle saw Grunty the Pig coming toward his hut, he said to his wife, “If the Pig comes in here, you tell him that I am not at home!”

Then he threw himself down, bottom side up, and pulled in his head and legs. In this position he looked very much like a whetstone.

After the Pig had entered, he asked, “Where is the Turtle?”

“He is not in,” the Turtle’s wife lied.

On hearing this, the Pig got very angry and, noticing what he supposed to be a whetstone lying on the floor, he said, “I am going to take his whetstone.” And he picked up the imaginary whetstone, not knowing that it was the Turtle turned bottom side up, and with it left the hut.

He hid the imaginary whetstone in the grass by the wayside and marked the place with a stick. Then he went back to the hut of the Turtle to await his return.

Immediately after Grunty the Pig had left him, the Turtle righted himself and walked off.

In the meantime the Pig was impatiently awaiting the Turtle’s return. After some time, the Turtle returned to his hut and there met Grunty the Pig. The Pig, on seeing the Turtle, at once blurted out, “Pay me for the necklace which your wife has borrowed and lost!”

Just at this moment, Mrs. Turtle, who was in an adjoining room and had heard the words of the Pig, stuck her head through the door and said, “The Pig took your whetstone away while you were gone!”

Then the Turtle said to the Pig, “First bring back my whetstone if you want me to pay.”

And the Pig went back to the place where he hid the whetstone, only to discover that the whetstone was gone. He searched all over the place but could not find it.

The Pig was in a rather gloomy mood when he came back to the hut of the Turtle and said, “Someone must have stolen the whetstone. I had hidden it in the grass, but it is no longer there. In some mysterious way it has disappeared, and I cannot find it. ”

When the Turtle heard this, he said to the Pig, “Do not think for a moment that you can get your necklace before you have returned my whetstone!”

The Pig is still looking for the whetstone. So anxious is he to find it that he has even taught his children to grub up the ground.


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A Reader's Guide to African Folktales at the Internet Archive Copyright © 2022 by Laura Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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