Turtle and Tiger

Turtle and Tiger

A turtle named Ethan once found himself in the wilderness of Africa. Turtles are amphibious, comfortable on both land and water. However, Ethan was a large tortoise, designed to swim gracefully in the ocean; but here in the wilderness, Ethan's movements were laborious as his aquatic design came at the sacrifice of being nimble on land.
He had a friend named Tracy who was a young female lion from the same region. Lions are designed to outrun and overpower just about every other animal that walks on land. They became friends when Tracy was still young and curious, not self-reliant on hunting her meals.
When the other lions asked her why she didn't eventually turn Ethan into a snack, she always had the same response that when they first met, she calculated the level of effort that would be required to break his protective shell, and it wasn't worth the disappointment of seafood, which tigers never eat in their natural habitats.
In the safari of Africa, many different animals live very close to each other based on where a fresh water supply was available. They understood the circle of but different pack animals, like wild dogs or hyenas, constantly kept all the other wildlife at high alert.
Ethan's shell and foreign smell was unappealing to the animals in the African wild, so he would occasionally leave the comforts of the ocean aquatic, which required him to be at high alert as well, since the ocean life naturally adapted to penetrate his shell. Sharks could feed on him as easily as a lion would feed on a young gazelle. But in the safari Ethan could relax and let his guard down, so it was a welcome escape.
Ethan never revealed his age to Tracy. Lions have short life spans compared to turtles. Most animals that prey on other animals live in a constant state of hyper alertness that races their heartbeats and shortens their life expectancy.
"Hurry up Ethan, we have to get back to the forest before sunset," Tracy said. "Forest? I'm not going there with you," Ethan replied, "I'm going to return to swim along the ocean currents, which will speed my travels to Galapogos, the island every tortoise calls home.
"What's a tortoise?" Inquired his young feline friend.
"I'm a tortoise; it's a type of turtle," Ethan explained.
"I don't want to be stuck out here in the wilderness when it gets dark Ethan," Tracy replied, "you are always home because you carry your home with you, but I am a tiger and live in a cave with all the other tigers."
"Tracy, you're old enough to figure out that you're not a tiger," said Ethan, "I think your family just told you that so you would feel special. You're a lion."
"Isn't a tiger a type of lion just like a tortoise is a type of turtle?" Tracy asked, having never been taught anything other than hunting and chasing.
"Tigers are different types of felines, which lions are too, Tracy," Ethan said, "but they are very different creatures."
"How so?" Tracy asked.
"Lions stay together in packs and do everything as a team, but tigers are lone nocturnal hunters," Ethan explained, wondering if Tracy was really never taught about her ancestry.
"Every day we have this same argument," Ethan said, "and every day it ends the same way. I appreciate your care for my well being, but you know I am safe in my shell no matter where I go."
"Yes, I know you are safe in your shell," Tracy the tiger replied, "but I'm worried that you use your shell to hide from the rest of the world."
"But my shell keeps me safe," Ethan responded.
"It might keep you safe, but it also keeps you from being free," Tracy said.
"But I think I am free even with the shell," Ethan the turtle argued.
"You may think you are free," Tracy said, "but look at me. I don't have a shell, and I am safe. I can run around without a heavy shell to slow me down."
"Oh," Tracy added, confirming that this was all very new to her.
"Tigers climb trees and sleep and eat on the most isolated branch," Ethan continued, "They are indigenous to different parts of the map. There are no tigers in the African safari." Tracy pouted, pretending to be sad that she was no longer a tiger.
"I guess I'll miss being a tiger," Tracy said. Ethan withheld his laughter, but his reaction was obvious.
"You can't miss being a tiger Tracy, because you were always a lion," Ethan responded, resisting the temptation to continue laughing.
"Are you a pack animal too Ethan?" Tracy asked.
"That's not how aquatic life is categorized normally," Ethan explained.
"Fish swim in schools, because of the safety in numbers among the vast dangers under the sea, but labeling a species as a pack animal implies a hierarchy and ranks, with each member fitting into the pack throughout their lives."
"Fish aren't like that?" Tracy asked.
"Only mammals follow that practice, but remember there's a hundred times more life hidden under the sea, and fish are only one of many types of animals you could find. Dolphins are mammals just like you are Tracy, and they also live as pack animals. It's their best defense against the threats that would otherwise prey on them individually."
"I'm glad I'm a pack animal," Tracy shared, uncertain if her feelings agreed with her statement.
"Being part of a pack is what animals endure in order to survive," Ethan concluded, "maybe one day all the animals can find a way to coexist in harmony so they could live longer, healthier lives."

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