THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE
Once upon a time .... there was a hare who, boasting how he could run
faster than anyone else, was forever teasing tortoise for its slowness. Then
one day, the irate tortoise answered back: "Who do you think you are? There's
no denying you're swift, but even you can be beaten!" The hare squealed with
"Beaten in a race? By whom? Not you, surely! I bet there's nobody in the
world that can win against me, I'm so speedy. Now, why don't you try?"
Annoyed by such bragging, the tortoise accepted the challenge. A course was
planned, and next day at dawn they stood at the startiny line. The hare yawned
sleepily as the meek tortoise trudged slowly off. When the hare saw how
painfully slow his rival was, he decided, half asleep on his feet, to have a
quick nap. "Take your time!" he said. "I'll have forty winks and catch up with
you in a minute."
The hare woke with a start from a fitful sleep and gazed round, looking for
the tortoise. But the creature was only a short distance away, having barely
covered a third of the course. Breathing a sigh of relief, the hare decided he
might as well have breakfast too, and off he went to munch some cabbages he
had noticed in a nearby field. But the heavy meal and the hot sun made his
eyelids droop. With a careless glance at the tortoise, now halfway along the
course, he decided to have another snooze before flashing past the winning
post. And smiling at the thought of the look on the tortoise's face when it
saw the hare speed by, he fell fast asleep and was soon snoring happily. The
sun started to sink, below the horizon, and the tortoise, who had been
plodding towards the winning post since morning, was scarcely a yard from the
finish. At that very point, the hare woke with a jolt. He could see the
tortoise a speck in the distance and away he dashed. He leapt and bounded at a
great rate, his tongue lolling, and gasping for breath. Just a little more and
he'd be first at the finish. But the hare's last leap was just too late, for
the tortoise had beaten him to the winning post. Poor hare! Tired and in
disgrace, he slumped down beside the tortoise who was silently smiling at him.
"Slowly does it every time!" he said.