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ONCE Tortoise and his family fell on hard times and had nothing to eat, but they noticed that their neighbour, Mr. Fly, seemed to be very prosperous and feasted every night.
Tortoise was curious to know how he obtained so much money, and after watching him for some days he discovered that Mr. Fly flew away every morning early with a large empty sack on his back, and returned in the evening with the sack full, and after that his wife would prepare a feast.
One morning Tortoise hid in the sack p. 69 and waited to see what would happen. Soon Mr. Fly came out of his house, lifted up the sack, and flew away.
He descended at last in the market-place of a large town, where drummers were beating the tones of the dance, and maidens were dancing before a crowd of people.
Mr. Fly laid his sack on the ground, and Tortoise saw him standing beside one of the drummers. When the people threw money, Mr. Fly picked the coins up and hid them in his sack, and by evening he had collected a great quantity. Then he took up the sack again and flew home. Tortoise quickly got out and took most of the money with him, so that poor Mr. Fly was surprised to find the sack almost empty.
This happened several times, until one day as he put money in the sack Mr. Fly caught sight of Tortoise hiding inside it. He was very angry at the trick, and going to the drummer asked him if he had missed any money.
“Yes,” said the drummer. “For some days I have been losing coins.”
“Look inside this sack,” replied Mr. Fly, “and you will see the thief sitting among the money he has stolen.”
The drummer peeped inside the sack and saw Tortoise.
“How shall the thief be punished?” he cried angrily.
“Just tie up the sack,” said Mr. Fly, “and then beat upon it as if it were a drum.”
So the drummer tied up the sack and beat upon it until Tortoise was black and blue, and this is why his back is covered with bruises.
Then Mr. Fly picked up the sack, and flew high up in the air and dropped it. By chance the sack fell down just outside Tortoise’s house, and neighbours came to tell Nyanribo, his wife, that someone had left a present outside the door. But when she opened the sack in the presence of a crowd of people, she found only Tortoise inside, more dead than alive. Then Mr. p. 71 Fly made a song and narrated the whole story, and the drummers also played it, and Tortoise and Nyanribo were so ashamed that they left the place and went to live in another country.