Brazilian Dancing Turtles

Eli Whitney Museum

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Turtles have an intricate history in many indigenous cultures. In fact some cultures believe that the earth rose from the back of a turtle’s shell. In one folktale from Brazil, a flute playing, dancing turtle is caught by a hungry man and escapes by tricking his children into letting him out to demonstrate his dancing skills. The turtle escapes and the children paint a rock as a turtle in order to deceive their father and hide the fact that they allowed the turtle to get away.

The Dancing Turtle: a folktale from Brazil by Pleasant DeSpain, illustrated by David Boston. August House Publishers, Inc. Little Rock, Ark. 1998.

Jabuti the Tortiose: a trickster from the Amazon by Gerald McDermott. Harcourt, Inc. NY. 2001.

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