The Tree of Life is an ancient archetype that finds expression in many human cultures. In this sweet and amusing Bantu tale from Africa, the tree is quite literally what can save the troupe of hungry, thirsty animals. First the kudu, then the zebra, and even the proud lion go on the mission to learn its name, but each is distracted by something on the way back. The tale speaks to the power of memory and concentration, since at the end the animals make the little tortoise their chief, not because he is big or fast, but because he can remember.
Odds Bodkin uses this story often in his GOLDEN RULE anti-bullying performances for K-2.