More Terrapin Tales


(Just a few months ago, our youngest daughter — Great Granddaughter of the Terrapin King

discovered the following article on the internet that brought this story to life again. – Gertrude)

by Zoe Beckley published in the Syracuse Herald – Aug 6, 1925:

Toby was a diamond-back terrapin of unusual gifts. He is owned by a man whose name I have forgotten, but who owns and manages what he claims is the only diamond-back terrapin farm in existence. It is in Savannah, Georgia, and Toby’s father ships anything from one terrapin to a carload to any point east, west, north or south, in these United States where the delicacy of diamond-back terrapin may at that moment be desired. Also, he cans terrapin and makes them into soup.

Toby, however, has escaped this fate by virtue of the rare and great affection which exists between him and his master. He is a small terrapin, and he lived in his master’s bath-tub. Each of the diamonds upon his back has been lovingly outlined in gold paint.

When Toby is taken from the bath-tub and into the parlor for the edification of visitors, he is instructed to wink his left eye, and Toby responds properly. Then he is told to cry, and up go his tiny flippers to his tinier eyes, while Toby would appear to be violently sorrowing.

But his crowning achievement is waving his flippers temperamentally over the keys of a tiny music box built to resemble a piano, on which his master has propped him. It would appear to the uninitiated that Toby was making music with all the fire of a Paderewski, albeit minus the hair and the politics. Truly, a talented terrapin.