Once on a time a deer lived in a forest near a lake. Not far from the same lake, a woodpecker had a nest in the top of a tree; and in the lake lived a turtle. The three were friends, and lived together happily.
A hunter, wandering about in the wood, saw the footprints of the deer near the edge of the lake. “I must trap the deer, going down into the water,” he said, and setting a strong trap of leather, he went his way.
Said the woodpecker to the turtle: “Buddy, you have teeth; you gnaw through the leather trap. I will go and see to it that the hunter keeps away. If we both do our best our friend will not lose his life.”
The hunter turned back into the house and lay down for a little while. Then he rose up again, and took his knife. He said to himself: “When I went out by the front door, a Bird flew in my face; now I will go out by the back door.” So he did.
When the hunter came out the Bird flew at him again, flapping her wings in the hunter’s face. Then the hunter turned back and lay down again. When the sun arose, he took his knife, and started out once more.
By this time the turtle had gnawed through all the pieces of the trap but one. The leather was so hard that it made his teeth feel as if they would fall out. His mouth was all covered with blood. The deer heard the woodpecker, and saw the hunter, knife in hand, coming on. With a strong pull the deer broke this last piece of the trap, and ran into the woods.
The woodpecker flew down from her nest, and the deer said to them: “You two friends saved my life, but if we stay here talking, the hunter will find us, and we may not get away. So do you, friend woodpecker, fly away. And you, friend turtle, dive into the water. I will hide in the forest.”
The three friends lived together all the rest of their lives.