reading 154 When Turtle remains quiet about his mistreatment by Spider, the author wants you to W...

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HUNGRY SPIDER AND THE TURTLE (Description of Story)*

       "Hungry Spider and the Turtle" is a West African folktale that humorously depicts hunger and the custom of hospitality through the actions and conversations of the title characters.        Spider and Turtle live in different countries. They first meet when Turtle, famished from traveling a long way from home, comes upon Spider's house. While Spider is well known among his neighbors for his great appetite and his greediness, Turtle, being a stranger, believes Spider's offer of a meal to be sincere. It becomes clear that Spider wants all the food for himself and that his gesture of hospitality is mere show so that people will not speak badly of him. Turtle realizes that he has been tricked out of having any food but doesn't let on that he knows. He suavely concurs with Spider that it was a fine meal; and as Turtle leaves, he assures Spider of similar hospitality if Spider ever visits in his country.        In time, the gluttonous Spider finds himself a long way from home in Turtle's country. Now it is Turtle's turn to use local custom as a camouflage for true intent. He repays Spider's gesture of hospitality and Spider gets the meal that he deserves.

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* We did not receive copyright approval to put the actual text from the student booklet on the Website. The full text can be found in Harold Courlander, "Hungry Spider and the Turtle," from

The Cow-Tail Switch & Other West African Stories

. Copyright © 1987 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

When Turtle remains quiet about his mistreatment by Spider, the author wants you to

AnswerChoose the correct answer.Choose all that apply. Correct Partially correct Incorrect Don't Know

  1. A
    Correct Answer
    believe Turtle is afraid
  2. B
    Correct Answer
    have sympathy for Turtle
  3. C
    Correct Answer
    feel dislike for Turtle
  4. D
    Correct Answer
    think Turtle deserved no dinner
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