Childrens' book philosophy 12: Dr Seuss on the nature of tyranny

On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,

Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.

A nice little pond.  It was clean.  It was neat.

The water was warm.  There was plenty to eat.

The turtles had everything turtles might need.

And they were all happy.  Quite happy indeed. 

They were... until Yertle, the king of them all,

Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.

"I'm ruler", said Yertle, "of all that I see.

But I don't see enough.  That's the trouble with me.

With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond

But I cannot look down on the places beyond.

This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.

It ought to be higher!" he said with a frown.

"If I could sit high, how much greater I'd be!

What a king! I'd be ruler of all that I see!"


From Dr Seuss, “Yertle the Turtle”


Derek Pinkham's picture

The Red Hot Chilipeppers have

The Red Hot Chilipeppers have a great version of this:

Thanks for your great podcasts! Recently my son (8yrs.) asked me, "Dad, can we listen to that philosophy podcast again?" We learned a bit about Aristotle that day-good times!

Peter Adamson's picture

Your son is destined for

Your son is destined for great things.

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