the tortoise had recently gotten back together with his wife, and he wanted to make sure that she had the best #zenmas ever, so he needed to get her the best #zenmas present he could, so he scoured the village market but could not find a thing.
eventually, he saw a set of plates that he knew would be perfect for his wife. she had always complained that he just ate lettuce off the ground, and that they needed to be more dignified, and he had always resisted because he liked his lettuce how he liked his lettuce (which, incidentally, was with just the right amount of herbs and spices).
buying these plates for her would be a great way to show that he could change. but when he asked how much they cost, he was stunned by the price, and he could not afford it.
he went home to his rock nest and paced. there was only one way he could afford to buy the expensive plates for his wife, and that was by selling all of his lettuce. she would still have hers, of course, but he would have to rely on second-rate cabbage to fill his stomach.
it would be a huge #zenmas sacrifice, but it was worth it to show his wife how much she meant to him. so he went to the market and traded all of his lettuce to the merchant in exchange for the plates.
he took them home, and wrapped them up, and the next day, he gave her the plates, and she smiled, and then she frowned, and then she began to cry.
“what’s wrong, my love?” the tortoise asked. “do you not like your present?”
“i love it,” ms tortoise said, “except…”
she handed the tortoise his present, and he unwrapped it, and it was a collection of all his favorite herbs and spices, the kind he could never afford.
“i sold my lettuce to buy you that,” she said.
mr tortoise laughed and cried and they held each other, and later, the guru would say that though they foolishly sold their lettuce for the benefit of the other, they were truly the wisest in the village.
why were they so wise?
was it because they had given up their most prized possession for each other? no.
it was because immediately after they realized their mistake, they went down to the market and stole their lettuce back from the unscrupulous merchant. and they had a green #zenmas.