Tortuga’s Story
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Tortuga’s Story

Once upon a time there was a large garden, and in that garden was a tiny baby tortoise named Tortuga. Of all the other baby tortoises, she was the smallest tortoise in the garden.

“Tell me the story about the little mouse in Kansas City,” Tortuga cried, as her friend Lenny Lizard darted by. Tortuga loved to hear Lenny tell the story of Mortimer, the little mouse in Kansas City.

Lenny stopped, and he began the story. “Mortimer was a field mouse, about your size, Tortuga. The garden where he lived was next to an office building. Kansas City winters are cold, and when winter came, Mortimer and his friends moved into the office building where it was warm.

“One day, Mortimer was hungry, so he ran across a desk to grab a scrap of food as he had on many occasions. But this day was different. There was a man beside the desk, and he caught little Mortimer, and put him in a cage.”

“That’s so sad,” cried the little tortoise.

“This time it wasn’t so bad, Tortuga. It was a nice man. He fed Mortimer good food, petted his back, and scratched his chin, and let him out to play. He talked with Mortimer about his ideas, his challenges, and his dreams. He was so excited about his work. They became good friends.

“But one day, the man came to Mortimer, and was very sad. The people he worked for hadn’t paid him, and he had to close the office and leave town to find a job.

“It was nearly summer. The man took the little mouse to a nice park, and turned him loose. Mortimer wasn’t sure what to think, and he looked up at his big friend, and both mouse and man were very sad. The man said, ‘Mortimer, you enjoy this park in Kansas City. I have to go to California, but I’ll never forget you.’ The man left Mortimer in the park, and they never saw each other again.”

“This part is so sad, Lenny,” Tortuga complained. “Tell me the good part now.”

Lenny smiled in the strange way that lizards do. “The man got on a train and went to California. He tried to get a job as a movie director, but no one would give him a job.

“He went to see his brother, Roy, and together they decided to start their own studio, and create cartoons. Their studio became one of the most successful movie studios in the world.

The man said, ‘People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is you do it by working.’

“He built a giant park in California, with lots of delicious flowers and plants and trees. Millions of people go to see it every year. It’s been so successful that his company built even bigger parks around the world. And they have become a model for how to build a successful business.

“By his example, and by what he told us, he proved that dreams can come true. He said, ‘Get a good idea, and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done, and done right.’”

Tortuga asked, “Did he remember his friend, Mortimer, like he promised?”

“Oh, yes. Five years after he went to California, Walt Disney started producing cartoons that featured his little friend, but they called him Mickey Mouse, because Walt Disney and his wife thought people would like that name best. Now, seventy-five years later, millions of people around the world love the fun-loving mouse, much as Walt did in Kansas City.

“Walt Disney achieved amazing success. And he said, ‘I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse!’”