They were…until Durdle, the king of them all, decided the kingdom he ruled would soon fall. “I’m ruler,” said Durdle, “of all that I see. But there’s not enough white. That’s the trouble, you see. This will not do.” And he called up his team. “We must build a wall. No, this is obscene. It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown. “Bigger than China’s and paid by the brown! If it could be high, how much greater I’d be! What a king! I’d be ruler of all I could see!”
“Never mind that,” he said and he climbed up the pile. “What a wonderful view!” He could see ‘most a mile! “All mine!” Durdle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule! I’m king of TV! And all fossil fuel! I’m king of the whites! And, what’s more, beyond that, I’m king of the browns, the yellows and blacks! I’m Durdle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!”
And all through that morning, he sat there up high saying over and over, “A great king am I!” Until ‘long about noon...Then he heard a faint sigh. “What’s that?” snapped the king and he looked down the stack...And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack. Just a part of this wall...And this plain little turtle looked up and he said, “Beg your pardon, King Durdle. I’ve pains in my back and my shoulders and knees. How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?”
And the turtles ‘way down in the land were afraid. They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed. From all over the land, they came crawling by dozens...Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins. And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack. One after another, they climbed up the stack. Then Durdle the Turtle was perched up so high. He could see forty miles from his wall in the sky!
“Hooray!” shouted Durdle. “I’m king of the trees! I’m king of the Mexicans! Junior, shoot that one, please. I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air! Ah, me! What a wall! Muslims beware! I’m Durdle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!”
“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Durdle. “You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle. I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea! There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!” But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise that the moon of the evening was starting to rise up over his head in the darkening skies.
“What’s THAT?” snorted Durdle. “Say, what IS that thing that dares to be higher than Durdle the King? I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still! I’ll build my wall higher! I can and I will! I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven! And he told Stevie Bannon: I need five thousand and seven!”
But, as Durdle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand and started to order and give the command, that plain little turtle below in the stack...That plain little turtle whose shell was so black...Decided he’d taken enough...And he had... And that plain little lad got a little bit mad...And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
And his burp shook the wall of the king!
And Durdle the Turtle, the king of the trees...The King of the air and the birds and the bees...The king of TV and all fossil fuel…Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule!
For Durdle, the King of all U.S. of A...Fell off his high wall after an interminable stay!
*(Adapted from Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss)