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Tortoise and the Hare

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I remember a lot of little stories as a kid and I was having a hard time figuring out one to share. One stuck out to me the most. My grandma would tell it to me to teach me about patience. Of course, at the time I did not think of it as a lesson, but more as entertainment at grandma’s house. Looking back, I can definably appreciate this classic story called the “Tortoise and the Hare.” Once upon a time there was a hare who kept bragging about how he could run faster than anyone else, and was especially teasing tortoise for how slow he was. Then one day, the irritated tortoise answered back: “Who do you think you are? You sure are fast, but you can be beat!” The hare exclaimed with laughter. “Beaten in a race? By who? Not by you! I bet there’s nobody in the world that can win against me, I’m so fast. Now, why don’t you try?” Annoyed by all the bragging, the tortoise accepted the challenge. A course was planned, and the next day at dawn they stood at the starting line. The hare yawned as the tortoise headed off slowly. 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 catch up with you in a minute.”

The hare woke up with a start from his little nap, looking for the tortoise. But he 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 eat 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 nap before winning this race. He was smiling at the thought of the look on the tortoise’s face when it saw the hare speed by, he then fell fast asleep. The sun started to go down, and the tortoise, who had been heading towards the finish line since the morning, was maybe a yard from the finish line. The hare woke up. He could see the tortoise a short bit away and the hare sprinted off. He bolted down the track, gasping for breath. Just a little more and he’d be first to finish. But the hare’s last leap was just too late, for the tortoise had beaten him to the finish line. The hare all tired and ashamed, slumped down beside the tortoise who was silently smiling at him. The tortoise turns to him and says,

“Slowly does it every time!”
I think this story has a lot to with being in college and striving for goals as well. I think this story means to work slowly and efficiently at something you think is challenging. If you work too fast, and have a big ego about the task at hand, you may tire out and lose what you were striving for in the first place. Basically, you are more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly. Patience is also a big factor in this story. The hare wasn’t patient and was too confident in winning the race that he became frustrated and went to sleep. If he had a little more patience and didn’t underestimate the tortoise, maybe he would have won. Now that I think of it, this story had A LOT of meanings. : )

I like this story in this format because it makes kids want to listen about what the outcome is. They want to hear who wins. As a child, I know I wanted the tortoise to win. A kid might not know what the story means at the time, but if they are like I was, the story gets stuck in your brain and shows up later in life. I think this lesson has an effect on the reader because it made a profound effect on me. This story has stuck in my head, and when I become frustrated or in a hurry to finish a paper or something, I kid you not, I think of the “Tortoise and the Hare.”

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