‘There is one important thing which we must not forget,’ he said as they flew on their way. ‘When people are invited to a great feast like this, they take new names for the occasion. Our hosts in the sky will expect us to honor this age-old custom.’

‘‘None of the birds had heard of this custom but they knew that Tortoise, in spite of his failings in other directions, was a widely-traveled man who knew the customs of different peoples. And so they each took a new name. When they had all taken, Tortoise also took one. He was to be called All of you.

Is to be necessary here? Is there going to be a difference if we take out to be?


He was called X suggests that X was his real name. This is apparently a different name that he is taking on just for the occasion, so he was going to be known by it at the feast.

  • Thank you for the answer. – Sam Nov 28 '20 at 10:00

“He was to be called...” means that the new name applies from this point forward.

“He was called...” means the name was used in the past.

Very different.

  • Thank you very much. – Sam Nov 28 '20 at 10:00

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