Author: Norman Hinsdale Pitman
Rewritten by Liana Chau
Bamboo, a little boy of 12, tried to see the parade as he walked along with the crowd. His father always told him to never follow tourists, or else they’ll take him as a beggar. He walked and walked, until something met his eye. It was the temple that his father took care of! And the door was open!Bamboo had always wanted to go there, peeking in the iron bars staring at the huge stone turtle in the corner. He’d always ask:
” Father, why a turtle? Why not a lion or a tiger? Does it talk?”
His father would always say,
” Boy, stone turtles don’t talk.”
It was his chance to go inside! He was afraid that someone might notice it and lock the doors. He rushed to the temple. Before going in, he checked to make sure no one was looking. He gently closed the door. He went to the turtle with the big tablet on its back. He dove under the turtle just to hide. Surprisingly, the turtle started talking! This is what he said:
” Ho,ho, what are you doing under there my lad?
” You talk?” said Bamboo in amazement.
” Of course. I’m a living creature. I’m also the grandson of one of te creators of the world.” said the turtle.
” Really?” Bamboo asked in astonishment.
” Yes, and I’ve been under this stone tablet for years! I wish I could go outside and see the world.”
” I could help you,” Bamboo offered. ” I would come in at night and open the door for you,”
” Alright, but you must not break a promise.”
” Of course not,”
” Very well then, I will see you tonight,”
“Deal,” Bamboo said as he slipped out the doors.
That night, Bamboo took the key from his sleeping father, and went to the temple. Then Bamboo hesitated.
” How am I supposed to get that stone tablet off your back? I cannot carry it,” Bamboo said.
“Don’t worry, the door will not be big enough for it so it will slide off my back and sit on the floor.” said the turtle.
” That’s a good idea, but you must be careful.”
The turtle took a step and the tablet wobbled a bit, but did not fall off. The turtle got all the way to the door, and as planned, he kept walking. The stone tablet wobbled, the fell to the floor as it crashed into tiny pieces.
” Oh,no, what will my father say?” Bamboo asked.
” Don’t worry boy, no one’s here to spy on us. ” the turtle assured him.
They set off on their journey as the turtle flew into the air with Bamboo on his back.
” If only Dragon and Pheonix were here, Iv’e haven’t seen them for years!” turtle said, breaking the long silence.”I think it’s Dragon! Oh there’s Pheonix!”
Bamboo looked in horror, seeing two scary creatures above them as they came down from the sky.
” Turtle my old friend, I haven’t seen you for years!”Dragon said.
” How did you escape?” Pheonix asked.
” I couldn’t have done it without Bamboo here.” Turtle said.
” Quite a fine lad indeed…” dragon said as he looked at Bamboo.
” And as a reward for saving turtle, you may have this.” Pheonix said as he gave Bamboo one of his colorful feathers.
” And also this.” Dragon said as he peeled off one of his scales and gave it to Bamboo. Surprisingly, as soon as it touched the young lad’s hand, it turned gold. They said their goodbyes as they flew off. Their journey began again. Suddenly, Bamboo felt himself slipping from the turtle’s back, falling miles from the sky, certain that he would be dead, he tried to grab branches along the way , but soon landed with a thud.
” What are you doing boy? Sleeping under the stone turtle all afternoon! Go do your chores!” his father yelled.
” Huh? Didn’t I get killed?” Bamboo asked, half asleep.
” What in the world are you talking about? But I will kill you if you don’t do your chores!” his father replied.
Bamboo walked out of the temple, half confused and half asleep as his father locked the door.