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Prairie Wool: Plausible endings

Can a giant tortoise actually “run away” let alone “jump” a three-foot enclosure?

Because we haven’t been able to travel for so long, I’ve been sighing a lot, peering at old travel photos, and reading news from other countries. In doing so, I’ve found some pretty interesting/bizarre stuff to share.

My first story details the daring rescue of a boatload of sailors who got caught in a fierce undercurrent while participating in a race on the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, these luckless boaters were spotted and dragged to safety before the eyes of several hundred frightened spectators. While hair raising, none of that is unusual. What was unusual was that this annual event takes place every Dec. 26 (winter, in case you needed a little refresher) and the rescuers were a group of practising nudists. Let that sink in for a moment. Then I’ll tell you that the race sets sail from Sydney, Australia where December weather is hot. So, not as cold on the ole bare bottom as you might have imagined before all the specifics were “exposed”, but “eye-opening” news nonetheless.

The next article comes from France, where an elderly couple, originally from England, were quoted by Metro News, as having had, “a really lovely dinner of absolutely gorgeous pâté and baked bread.” Admittedly, the couple said they often struggled to read French packaging and failed to notice the clear depiction of a fuzzy cat on the label of the pâté before consuming a container of “mousse gourmande” or, roughly translated, a tin of cat food.

Another news flash, this time from UPI News, caught my attention with the headline, “Man balances garden hoe on head for over 2.5 hours.” Now, that’s something you don’t see every day! If I’m completely honest, I have trouble balancing a hoe in my hands for that long, since I seldom have time for gardening. But on your forehead? What gives? Online footage shows this man in his home with the actual hoe protruding from his noggin, and a full frontal after shot of the enormous facial dent the implement left behind. Ultimately, it turns out the man was setting a Guinness World Record, which makes the whole strange ordeal a little more understandable.

Also from Metro News was another eye-grabbing headline. “Runaway giant tortoise found one mile from home after escaping garden.” Further information revealed that the 35-year-old tortoise, aptly named Titan, weighs 126 pounds, and that it took three police officers to lift him into their van near Ipswich, England. Titan’s owner told authorities that perhaps the tortoise had “teleported” to freedom since the sides of his enclosure are three feet high and there was no sign of them being broken.

Now, this story leaves me with several burning questions. First and foremost, is a tortoise even capable of running away? Secondly, could one, even with a burst of speed and finely honed musculature, actually jump a three-foot fence? And what of this loose inference to the tortoise possessing otherworldly abilities? Did he, in fact, teleport through space? Sort of a “Beam me up Scotty” moment, as it were. Or was this entire situation nothing more than an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the enormous turtle in order to confound the local constabulary and his trusting owner to boot?

I guess some stories have plausible endings and then again, some don’t.

Helen lives on the family farm near Marshall, Saskatchewan. She is a writer, columnist and works in education. To contact her, or learn more about what she writes, go to or write Box 55, Marshall, SK. S0M1R0


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