What Is the Moral of the Fable of the Tortoise in "Things Fall Apart"?

Aesop's popular folk fable "The Tortoise and the Birds" is referenced in the novel "Things Fall Apart" during the 11th chapter. The moral of the fable itself is "think about the consequences before you wish for something."

Like many other well-known, beloved fables penned by Aesop, "The Tortoise and the Birds" teaches a very important lesson in morality. Across many cultures there have been many variations and reinventions of this particular fable, but Aesop was the original writer, and the title was originally "The Tortoise and the Birds." It is this version that is referenced in "Things Fall Apart."

In the beginning of the story, a lazy, greedy, cunning tortoise complains to nearby seabirds that she cannot fly and, thus, cannot leave and visit other parts of the world. An eagle hears her complaint and offers to fly her wherever she would like to go. The tortoise is delighted and agrees to pay the eagle a great deal of money as a reward.

As they are flying, they meet a crow, who informs the eagle that if he were to crack the tortoise's shell open to reach the flesh below, he would have a good meal. The eagle notices sharp rocks below and allows the tortoise to fall to her death. Then, the two birds make a meal of the tortoise.