Today's story is a simple retelling of the traditional tale of The Hare and the Tortoise.
Slow and Steady
by WillowIn a pleasant evergreen forest there lived a community of woodland animals. A tortoise, who had escaped from a nearby farmhouse many years before, lived among the rugged gray rocks on the edge of the meadow. Under a large fir tree, a loud, lively hare had dug a den for himself. Hare loved to boast about his ability to outrun any forest animal even the red fox. Because Hare was a bragging boaster, he did not have many friends. Obviously, most of the other animals preferred to avoid him.
One day Hare and Tortoise met by chance near the brook which bubbled through the clearing in the middle of the forest. As Tortoise trudged along the path, Hare viciously taunted him. "Out of my way, Tortoise! You are so slow you may not make it across the clearing before dark, and then the night owls will swoop down and grab you for their breakfast!" "I am fine, Master Hare. If I keep walking steadily, I will be safely back under my rock home in time for dinner. In fact, I could beat you," replied Tortoise mildly. "Ha! I'll race you across the clearing and we'll see who's the fastest creature in the forest," challenged Hare. The other animals heard the loud voices and curiously hopped over to listen. Hare yelled, "Hey, Red Fox, will you mark our beginning and finish lines? I'll prove to this old reptilian slow-poke that he should never question the fleetest runner in the forest!" Red Fox agreed. Carefully, he mapped out the route along the creek, through the farmer's garden and up the slope to the fallen log on the other side of the meadow and then indicated to the two contestants the start and finish lines. "Ready, set, go!" Tortoise placed one leathery claw in front of the other and slowly made his way past the crowd of animals which lined the trail. Hare sped off. Soon he was out of sight. When he approached the farmer's garden, he slowed down a bit and noticed that the carrot tops were poking through the moist soil. He decided that he needed a sweet snack and stopped to nibble a few green shoots. Then he spied the lettuces. After eating his second helping of carrot tops, he became sleepy. Having forgotten all about the race, he curled up under an apple tree by the edge of the path and fell fast asleep. Meanwhile, Tortoise reached the end of the path along the creek and hurried as quickly as his short stumpy legs could move past the farmer's garden. He noticed Hare. He did not waken him.
Eventually, Hare awoke and leisurely sat up. He observed Tortoise near the top of the meadow and suddenly remembered the race. Although he hopped twice as quickly as he usually did, Hare crossed the finish line twenty seconds after Tortoise. All the forest animals excitedly cheered for Tortoise as Hare stood there in humiliation and disbelief while Fox placed the winner's garland of springtime flowers on Tortoise's head. Fox turned to Hare and remarked, "Slow and steady wins the race."