Once upon a time in the animal kingdom, there was a famine. The animals in the kingdom all starved and looked very lean except the birds.
When the Tortoise noticed this, he decided to find out from the birds where they got their food.
The birds refused, citing the Tortoise's cunning as a reason why they wouldn’t disclose it.
The Tortoise continued to plead and promised not to play any tricks. The birds then agreed to tell him.
They told him of a feast held high up in the heavens for anyone who could make it up there.
The Tortoise thought about it and realized that it would be impossible for him to get to the heavens because he had no wings. However, an idea struck him; he said, “if only each of you would lend me a feather to attach to my body which would serve as a wing.”
The birds agreed and gave him a feather to attach to his body to form wings.
Before they left, the birds asked him to take a ceremonial name, one which he would be addressed by when he got to the heavens.
After thinking about it, the Tortoise said he should be called “Everyone of you," and so they left for the feast.
When they arrived, they were welcomed by the host of heaven and led to the table where a banquet was prepared. “This food is for every one of you,” said the host before leaving.
At that point, the Tortoise stepped forward and reminded them that his ceremonial name was “Everyone of you" and, as such, the food belonged to him alone.
He then went ahead to eat the entire food. When he was done, his smooth shell shone brightly.
The birds were very angry with him and they all agreed to take back their feathers, leaving him with no wings.
The Tortoise, however, pleaded with one of the birds to take a message home for him. “Tell my wife to bring out the softest materials, the beds and the pillows in my house, and put them out under the heavens, so that I can land safely when I jump down.”
The bird agreed to take the message, but when he got to the house of the Tortoise, he changed the message. “Your husband has instructed that you bring out the strong and hard materials in the house out in the open,” he said.
When the Tortoise saw his wife bringing out materials, he became assured that he would be able to land safely.
When she had finished, the Tortoise leaped from the heavens and crashed into the hard materials. His smooth shell shattered into several pieces.
It took the best healer in the land to put his shell together. Thus, until this day, the Tortoise has a broken shell as a reminder of what his greed cost him.