Turtle Story: Jataka Retelling

It is said that everyone has a turtle story…

Long ago, after a violent storm, sailors clung to chunks of splintered wood, the remaining bits of their wrecked ship. Cold, thirsty, and weakening with every crest and trough of the waves, they floated in the infinite sea.

As night fell, one sailor gave up, released his grip on the debris, and began to sink into water the color of the starless sky.

“That’s odd,” he thought as he cherished the fullness of the final breath of air in his lungs.

He was no longer descending but rising toward the surface on the back of a large sea turtle who escorted him to the sandy shore.

The silent creature swam away and returned with each of the sailors, one by one.

On the turtle’s final trip to the beach, the sailors killed it and hungrily consumed its flesh. This is a happy ending. The turtle willingly offered itself as a meal to the starving survivors.

Even the Buddha has a turtle story.

*The Jatakas are a collection of stories about the former lives and reincarnations of the Buddha. This is my creative interpretation of one of them.*

Leave a Reply