Once upon a time, Leopard, who was very hungry, saw Tortoise, and chased after him, ready for a fine dinner, but no matter how hard Leopard tried, Tortoise managed to escape.Then, one day, Leopard came upon Tortoise walking slowly on a road. Leopard pounced on Tortoise ready to kill. “Tortoise, prepare to die.”
Tortoise, realizing there was no escape, asked Leopard to grant a favor. Surprised, Leopard asked what Tortoise wanted. “It is not just that you should kill me, but since this will happen, I would like a bit of time to prepare myself, to prepare my mind.” Leopard agreed, thinking that Tortoise would stay still and be quiet. Instead, much to Leopard’s astonishment, Tortoise did not stay still and quiet. Instead, Tortoise scratched the road, digging up stones and dirt and plants, throwing them every which way, creating a huge mess.
“Why are you doing this?” asked Leopard.
“So that after I am dead,” Tortoise replied, “people passing by will know that here is where a great struggle took place.”
Nancy King is a widely published author and a professor emerita at the University of Delaware, where she has taught theater, drama, playwriting, creative writing, and multidisciplinary studies with an emphasis on world literature. She has published seven previous works of nonfiction and five novels. Her new memoir, Breaking the Silence, explores the power of stories in healing from trauma and abuse. Her career has emphasized the use of her own experience in being silenced to encourage students to find their voices and to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with authenticity, as a way to add meaning to their lives.