Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yertle the Turtle

So I went thrift shopping yesterday and there is a distinct chance I might have bought too many books. I think I'm going to have to promise D to pack and move all the book boxes myself!!! It's the only thing he seems to care about in relation to my need to hoard collect books.

I got a couple Dr. Seuss and one of them was Yertle the Turtle. I had never read it before and I have to say it really struck me while I was reading it. I read it aloud to Amber, ha ha, who was rather crabby and not that interested, so basically I read it to me, but it was fun.

So here's a few snippets from it.

Yertle the Turtle is the king of all he can see and all of a sudden he decides that he can't see enough, so he orders turtles to climb on top of each other so he can see more.

"So Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.
He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one's back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see 'most a mile!

'All mine!' Yertle cried. 'Oh the things I now rule!
I'm the kind of a cow! And I'm king of a mule!'...

And all through that morning, he sat there up high
Saying over and over, 'A great king am I!'
Until 'long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
'What's that?' snapped the king
And he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.
Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, 'Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I've pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?'

'SILENCE!' the King of the Turtles barked back.
'I'm king, and you're only a turtle named Mack.'

'You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I'm king of a cow! And I'm king of a mule!
I'm king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
Bat that isn't all. I'll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!' his royal voice thundered,
'So pile up more turtles! I want 'bout two hundred!'"

And then poor Mack he was really hurting by this point as all the new turtles had to step on his head to climb up, but the mighty King had no time to listen

"'You hush up your mouth!' howled the might King Yertle.
'You've no right to talk to the world's highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There's nothing, no, NOTHING, that's higher than me!'....

And so he decides to go even higher, but...

"But as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he'd taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a little bit mad
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the king!...

For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell of his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!"

I just had to think while I was reading this how true this is to real life which may very well be what Dr. Suess intended to portray. How often am I so concerned about getting to the top and having the best relationships, the best house, the best car, the most money, the nicest DIY decor, the best-behaved child, etc. etc. etc.? And I don't think about all the "turtles" I am crawling on to get there or all the ones I am stomping on in my own self-importance or how much pain I am causing those of my own kin and family in my impatience?  It is definitely something to think about because I don't want to take that big mighty splash into the pond and live the rest of my life in mud. I want to be considerate of those around me, to treat people with compassion and not as stepping stones to my own throne.

What do you think Dr. Suess intended to portray with this story?

Also, I am trying something different with the comments. I was told that some cannot comment and for that I apologize. It's hard to enter for a giveaway if you can't comment. So I am going to extend the giveaway one week and also add that if you comment on this post and give some thoughts on Yertle the Turtle you will also add an entry for the book. So comment here and/or on the giveaway post. Each comment earns you one entry.


  1. I FORGOT TO ENTER! Whew. Thanks for the reminder! Hmm. I think I should read Yertle the Turtle again...thanks for the small snatches of it. A good reminder of how toxic it is to talk bad about other people or try to make them look bad just to lift your own reputation up!


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