The Tortoise and The Hare

Posted on July 5, 2007

5


– A contemporary rendition

Once Upon a time, there was a hare who often boasted about his swiftness, speed and how nobody could beat him. He frequently taunted and scorned everyone but especially the self-effacing tortoise who tolerated his insults to avoid any unwanted and pointless confrontation with someone who suffers from a over-inflated ego which tends to affect reasoning and intelligence, if any.

One day came when the tortoise came to the gathering exhausted and jaded. It was a tough day for him, toiling away for hours to reach the gathering from the beach was not an easy task, especially if his ride forgot to pick him up…ah…the cranes are known to be amnesiacs. He was just about done licking the last drop of the drink, he ordered. His eyes lifted curiously to see what the commotion was all about, “ohh… its him”, he thought.

The hare began his egotistical journey with his audience watching intently as he described his prowess and continued until his listeners were dizzy with this tawdry exhibitionist display. Witnessing these events from a distance, the irate tortoise couldn’t control his disgust and exclaimed “who do you think you are?” There is no denying that you are swift but even you can be beaten!” The hare astonished at this sudden outburst from the docile creature but soon rebutted with a smug smile on his face, “Beaten in a race? By whom? Not you, surely! The hare squealed with laughter and proclaimed “I’ll bet there is nobody in the world that can win against me.” and confidently challenged the tortoise,” Now, why don’t you try.”

Annoyed by such bragging the tortoise accepted the challenge. A course was planned and agreed upon, and the next day at dawn they stood at the starting line. The over-confident Hare knew that the tortoise didn’t have a chance in hell, and so did the rest of the witness that choose to attend. The commended the turtle for his courage to stand up against the egotistical Hare, but knew the odds were stacked up against him. Unless, some kind of miracle occurred, the hare would undoubtedly win in-turn to swell up an already over-inflated ego.

The race began, the hare yawned deeply as he saw the meek tortoise trudged off slowly. The Hare watched how painfully slow his rival was and spat out a few uninspiring words to taunt him. The tortoise paid no heed to the typical behavior of this bully and marched ahead at his pace. Watching the tortoise plodding ahead, the hare decided to give him a head start and take a nap instead. “Take your time he said, I’ll catch up with you in a minute.”

The hare, than retreated into a slumber, as the tortoise persistently prodded ahead. The witness who had been cheering the tortoise soon retreated to their corners awaiting the inevitable to happen and thereby unconsciously siding with the pompous hare. Alone, confident and unhindered by his surrounding and shutting out every rational thought that told him that this race was decided before it began and any effort was fruitless.

The Hare suddenly woke up with a jolt and gazed around for the tortoise and noticed that the creature was only a short distance away and had barely covered one-third of the course. Breathing a sign of relief, the hare decided he might as well have some breakfast too and he went off to a near by field to much some cabbages he had noticed earlier.

The tortoise meanwhile copped a glance at a the hare and smiled with the knowledge of a cunning wolf. The hare midway through his heavy meal and adding the glare of the hot sun made his eyelids droop. He though it was funny as the other day he remembered eating more than five cabbages and still reserving energy to run three courses, but he blamed the drowsiness on the afternoon sun and gave in. The hare didn’t feel the need to resort to any underhanded schemes as he underestimated the creature and it wasn’t exactly known for its swiftness and believed that nature was on its side.

The tortoise meanwhile had reached half way along the course as the hare lay dreaming of the expression on the creatures face as he speeds past him to the finishing line and continued snoring happily. The sun began to sink below the horizon and the tortoise, who had been plodding towards the winning post all morning, was scarcely a yard from the finish. He hare woke up with a jolt and he could hardly see more than a speck of the tortoise from the distance and as he braced himself. He realized that his hands and feet and his entire body felt unusually heavy. The effort to simply walk was tantamount to attempting to sprint in space. He tried his hardest and from a distance he watched as the tortoise was greeted at the finishing line by all the surprised and overjoyed onlookers. Little did he know that the tortoise had concocted a soporific mushroom and sprinkled it on the cabbages and placed them in his sight. He did all this while the hare was asleep. Poor hare, tired and disgraced, he slumped down beside the tortoise who was silently smiling at him.” the slow with a steady mind wins every time” he said.

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