Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ethics for Activists - 16

Dan Yashinsky put me onto this story which can be found in Chinua Achebe’s novel The Anthills of the Savannah.

Once there was a turtle who was walking along a path when a leopard jumped in front of him. The turtle knew he was doomed and he looked at the leopard and said, “Sir Leopard, would you allow me a moment to prepare myself before you kill and eat me?” The leopard thought this an odd request, but saw no reason not to grant the request. He was hardly in danger of losing his meal. The leopard said, “The prepare yourself.” The turtle scurried back and forth across the path. He scuffed the dirt, raised the dust and made a mess of the path. After doing this for a few minutes he stopped and looked at the leopard and said, “I am ready.” The leopard looked at the turtle and asked “Why did you do this?” The turtle answered, “So that when others come by and see what is left of my body, they will say, ‘a great battle happened here.'”

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