The Tortoise and the Hare
In the woods there lived a very slow tortoise and a very swift hare. The Hare was a proud animal, fast and sleek, and well aware of his speedy talents. He would take delight in taunting the humble Tortoise.
One bright morning, the Tortoise was plodding along at his usual pace. Suddenly, bounding past him was the Hare! The Hare leapt this way and that, frantically running circles around the patient Tortoise. No matter how the Hare might cross his path or try to trip him up, the Tortoise calmly continued his stroll, undisturbed by the Hare’s antics.
“Good morning, Mr. Hare,” the Tortoise said.
“My goodness, you are moving quickly today.”
“Ha-hah! That I am, Tortoise!” snapped the Hare. “But I cannot say the same for you.
You are as slow as a sloth!”
“This is true, Mr. Hare, this is true,” replied the Tortoise.
“You know, Tortoise,” said the Hare mockingly,
“I just saw a snail slithering along faster than you!”
“Perhaps you did, Mr. Hare, perhaps you did,”
said the Tortoise, all the while slowly continuing along the path. “I am a very slow creature,” said the Tortoise, “but all the same, I would like to challenge you to a race.”
“You? You challenge me to a race?” asked the Hare.
“Why, Tortoise, I could have run a race in the time it took you to make that challenge! Ha, ha, ha!” And with that, the Hare was seized with laughter. He laughed so hard that he fell over.
The noisy laughter of the Hare caught the attention
of the other animals. “What’s the commotion?” they asked.
“This silly Tortoise has challenged me to a race! Why, I’m sure to win,” said the Hare. “He is so slow, I’ll have time to spare.”
The animals agreed on a course for the race and the Fox was chosen to act as the judge. That night, the Tortoise went to bed early to rest for the big day, but the Hare stayed up late into the night, boasting far and wide of his upcoming victory.
The next morning, the Tortoise arose early and slowly made his way to the starting line. As it was time for the race to begin, the Hare was only just waking up. “On your marks!” growled the Fox. “Get set!”
“Whoa! Don’t start without me,” exclaimed the Hare as he dashed to his place at the starting line.
“GO!” barked the Fox, and the Hare was off, leaving the
Tortoise behind in a cloud of dust. When the dust settled, the Tortoise had only cleared the starting line.
“Ha, ha,” laughed the Hare, “I’ll show that old Tortoise! He should have known better than to think that he would beat me.”Not long after the Hare was out of sight, he began to grow weary. “I am so far ahead of that Tortoise,” thought the Hare. “I think I’ll take a little rest here until he comes along. That ought to show him how foolish he is to race me!” The Hare stretched out on a comfortable hammock and enjoyed a few tasty carrots.
After he’d eaten his fill, he felt sleepy. “Well, I suppose there is no harm in taking a little nap,” the Hare said to himself, and with that, he fell fast asleep.Meanwhile, the Tortoise had been making slow but steady progress. He had been happily moving along one step at a time, enjoying the scenery of the race course and greeting the other animals along the way. After quite some time, he
came upon the sleeping Hare.
“Hello, friend Owl! Hello, friend Squirrel,” said the Tortoise quietly, so as not to wake the Hare. “It is a beautiful day, is it not?”
“Yes it is,” chirped the Squirrel. “Keep up the good work!”
“Thank you,” replied the Tortoise, as he slowly moved along, enjoying the sun and the warm breeze.
While the foolish Hare slept, the Tortoise continued to make his way patiently along the trail. Over hills and through the forest, the Tortoise slowly plodded along. Hours passed as he crept past a brook, moseyed through a field, and walked along beside a pond. He could see the finish line not far ahead of him. Still the Hare dozed away.
When the sun began to grow low in the sky, a cool breeze blew, chilling the Hare. At last he awoke.
“Oh my!” said the Hare with a start. “How long have I been sleeping? The race! I must get back to the race!”
“You had better hurry if you want to win,” hooted the old Owl. “The Tortoise passed here hours ago.”
The Hare was surprised to hear that he had been asleep so long.
“I’d better get moving!” he said, and darted off in a panic. The Hare scampered along, and tripped and fell many times as he scrambled to make up for the time that he had lost to his long nap. The Hare ran and ran.
The Hare went as fast as he could, but it was of no use, for as he went over the last hill, he could see the Tortoise ahead of him, crossing the finish line ever so slowly.
“I declare, the Tortoise has beaten the Hare!” barked the Fox.
As the animals cheered and congratulated the Tortoise, the Hare came puffing, out of breath and dragging himself along along the trail.
“How could you have beaten me?” said the Hare. “You are so slow and I am so fast!”
“That is right, Mr. Hare,” said the Tortoise.
“I may be slow, but I am patient and steady, and I never stopped going. You see, my friend,” said the Tortoise with a smile, “slow and steady wins the race!”