One of the stories that we have all read in our childhood years is of course… Story of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. It is one of Aesop’s Fables and is numbered 226 in the Perry Index.
It’s about a tortoise and a hare that compete in a foot race with the tortoise surprisingly winning.
The story starts…
Once in a forest during a small get-together of animals, a Hare was boasting of his capabilities, “I am the fastest animal in the forest and no one can beat me in a race”, said he.
A tortoise was listening to the conversation and started laughing. The Hare got very angry and said, “Why are you laughing, do you think that you can beat me?”
The hare said very calmly, “I am not denying the fact that you are the fastest animal in this forest, but at the same time I am also not afraid of competing with you.”
The Hare accepted the challenge and preparations for the race started to take place.
The Tortoise and the Hare are ready to race
So one fine sunny day was chosen for the race and all the animals gathered to see it. Everybody was sure of the Hare winning the race. The Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the space and began the runners off.
The Hare ran so fast that within moments he was out of the sight. The tortoise, on the other hand, was so slow that even snails could pass by him easily.
Then suddenly the Hare stopped and looked back for the tortoise. But the tortoise was too far. “Oh my God, this poor thing will take months to reach here, so let’s just stop here and take some rest,” he said.
He lay down beside the course for a quick nap until the Tortoise should catch up. In the meanwhile, the tortoise reached the point where the hare was fast asleep. But the Hare, unaware of everything slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal.
The Hare ran as fast as possible but to his disappointment, the Hare just managed to win the race before he could.
Moral of the story:
In this story, the Hare was so overconfident of himself that he would surely beat the tortoise in the race. But the hare overestimated the tortoise and succumbed in his own fake overconfidence.
In real life also, the person who is calm and humble wins the race in every sphere of life. Proud people can’t survive for long.
The race is not always to the swift.
Misinterpretation of the moral
This is of course not a real story but the aim of such tales is not to establish a historical fact but rather give an important life lesson through a moral story.
Many people criticise this moral on the grounds that this story emphasis the quality of being slow, which is far from being true.
As far as the moral of this story is concerned (The Tortoise and the Hare), it teaches us to be consistent and steady in whatever we do.
The reality is that a certain level of wisdom is needed to interpret a story, whether real or made up.
We say that good handwriting is very important when it comes to scoring good in exams. But, it never means that we don’t need to work hard and just rely on our writing skills.
Certainly a good handwriting is important but hard work is the priority
Similarly being fast and early is beneficial but being steady is even more needed.
What are your interpretations of this story? Comment and let me know.