An unusual group of four friends lived deep inside a forest. The four friends were: a deer, a crow, a mole and a tortoise. They would meet every afternoon under a shady banyan tree and talk for hours.
One day, the deer did not turn up at the usual time. The mole, tortoise and crow were worried. The mole turned to the crow, “I think you better fly around and see where the deer is.” The crow nodded her head and flew away.
She didn’t have to fly too far to find the deer. Unfortunately, the deer was trapped in a hunter’s net! “Friend deer! What happened?” the crow cried.
The deer sighed, “I am normally very careful in where I put my step. But this net was well-hidden. I am now trapped. It is only a matter of time before the hunter gets here.”
“I’ll get some help,” the crow said as she flapped away. She quickly flew to the banyan tree where the mole and tortoise were waiting. She told them everything that had happened.
“Friend tortoise, you wait right here,” said the mole, “I will go with the crow and cut the net our friend is trapped in with my sharp teeth.”
The crow picked up the mole in her beak and flew quickly to the spot where the deer was trapped.
The deer was happy to see his friends. The mole start cutting through the net. It was hard work, but soon the deer was free. “Thank you friend mole!” the deer cried out as he stepped out of the net.
“Ah! Looks like our friend is free!” came a voice from the bushes. It was the tortoise who had walked slowly to the spot.
At same moment, the hunter arrived. The deer ran swiftly. The crow flew away. The mole quickly dug a hole to hide in. But the tortoise was too slow.
The hunter was shocked to see that the net had been cut. But then his eyes fell on the slowly moving tortoise. “I lost the deer, but this tortoise will make a fine soup,” he thought to himself, as he tied the tortoise up with a rope.
“Oh no! We’ve lost our friend!” cried the crow.
“No, there is still hope,” said the mole with a smile as he whispered a plan to his two friends.
With the tortoise on his back, the hunter headed back to the village. The path took him past a lake. He saw the body of a deer lying on the grass. A crow was sitting on the deer’s antlers, pecking at his eyes.
The hunter could not believe his luck. “I lost one deer, but looks like I have found another! And I don’t even have to kill this one,” he said to himself.
The tortoise smiled. His friends had come to rescue him.
The hunter left the tortoise on the ground and ran towards the deer. The mole ran out of the bush and quickly cut the rope. The tortoise was free! “Friend tortoise, run!” cried the mole.
For a tortoise, he moved really fast straight to the lake.
Meanwhile, the hunter had almost reached the deer. The crow could see that the tortoise was now safe in lake. “Caw! Caw!” she cried and flew away.
That was the signal! The deer sprang to his feet and ran away. The hunter had no chance of catching him. And when he turned back, he found the tortoise missing too!
The four friends hurried back to the banyan tree. “Thank you friends for saving my life!” said the tortoise.
“No thanks needed,” said the deer with a smile, “As long as we help each
other, we’ll always be safe!”