Once upon a time, two geese by the names of Sankata and Vikata and a tortoise by the name of Kambugriva lived near a river. They were good friends. Once, due to drought in the region, all the rivers, lakes and ponds went dry. There was not a drop of water to drink for the birds and animals. They began to die of thirst.
The three friends talked among themselves to find a solution to this problem and go out in search of water. But despite their best efforts they could not find water anywhere around.
Having no alternative the three friends decided to go to some distant lake, full of water, to settle down there forever. But there was a problem in shifting to so distant a place. While it was easy for the geese to fly, it was difficult for the tortoise to cover that distance on foot.
So the tortoise put up a bright idea. He said, "Why not bring a strong stick? I will hold the stick in the middle with my teeth and you two hold both the ends of the stick in your beaks. In this manner, I can also travel with you."
Hearing the suggestion of the tortoise, the geese cautioned him, "It's a very good idea. We will do as you say. But you will have to be very careful. The problem with you is that you are very talkative. And if you open your mouth to say something, while we are flying, it will definitely prove to be detrimental to you. So, don't talk while you are dangling by the stick, otherwise you will lose your hold and go crashing down on the ground and die."
The tortoise understood the logic and promised not to open his mouth during the entire journey. So the geese held the stick ends in their beaks and the tortoise held the stick in the middle with his teeth and thus, they began their long journey.
They flew over hills, valleys, villages, forests and finally came over a town. While they were flying over the town, men, women and children came out of their houses to see this strange sight. The children began shouting and clapping. The foolish tortoise forgot that he was hanging precariously. He became so curious to know the reason behind these clappings that he opened his mouth to ask his friends-"Friends, what is this all about?" But as soon as he opened his, mouth to utter these words, he loosened his hold on the stick and fell down on the ground and died instantaneously.