Everyone in the jungle was busy, preoccupied with their daily chores. All of them minded their own business, except the hare…
“Where are you going to, my friend?” the naughty bunny asked the tortoise, laughing at the poor thing and mocking him. “You are walking so slowly. I don’t think you’ll get to where you’re going before the sun goes down.”
“Say what you want,” the tortoise answered. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words never will.
So why don’t you just go away and leave me alone?”
“Temper! Temper I’m only trying to be friendly, my dear friend. Isn’t it true that you are moving so very slowly. I am very sure that you cannot get very far like that, going at a snail’s pace.”
“Hey! Just keep me out of it!” the snail shouted at the hare angrily…
…You are always boasting about how fast you are on your feet and laughing at the rest of us who are slow. What a show off!”
“Now, who’s talking to you, you busybody?” retorted the hare. “I’m talking to my friend, the mobile condominium here.”
“Well, I’m not interested in talking to you, so why don’t you just go away and leave me alone?” the tortoise said. “After all, as they say, slow and steady wins the race.”
“Race? Did somebody mention ‘race’?” the hare asked. “I don’t believe what I’m hearing. Are you, by any chance, challenging me to a race?” He roared with laughter as he knew the tortoise would never be able to beat him.
“Why not? Now, do you see that tall tree over there? Let us meet here tomorrow morning and I’ll race you to that tree,” the tortoise said. He was so angry that he did not really know what he was saying. The poor thing would have no chance at all of ever winning.
“I’ll be here,” promised the hare, feeling very confident as there was no way that the slow tortoise was ever going to beat him.
The news of the race spread round the jungle like wild fire and the next morning, all the animals turned up by the droves to watch. “At least something is happening around here,” yawned the owl, “even though I do not think it is going to be very exciting. Everybody knows who is going to win.”
The cunning fox went round the crowd, trying to persuade some unsuspecting victim to bet on the race but everyone knew what he had up his sleeves. “Go away!” everybody told him. “We are not so foolish. We all know what you’re up to. Don’t think it is so easy for you to cheat us of our money.”
The giraffe had a bird’s eye view of the whole route so everybody asked him to give a running commentary of the event. Soon it was time for the race to begin. The beautiful peacock walked proudly forward to flag off the pair of competitors with her colourful tail. “On your mark…get set…GO!”
The tortoise was very determined. Step by step, he walked slowly on his way. The hare noticed that and it got him rolling on the ground laughing, unable to start running. Finally, as soon as he was able to stop, he shot off as fast as lightning. But before he did that, the mean streak in him got the better of him and with all his strength, he kicked the poor tortoise out of the way. “Step aside, David!” he shouted at the top of his voice.
“Here comes Rabbit Beckham!” The poor tortoise had no idea what was going on and the next instant, he found himself flying in the air.
As Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you’ll never know what you’ll get.” The tortoise came crashing down on the hare who, unfortunately, was at the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, it all happened so fast that he did not know what hit him. In the meantime, the tortoise fell onto the ground and rolled straight in the direction of the tree. The animals did not make a sound. They were all stunned speechless by what had happened. The tortoise stuck its head and legs out of the shell, dazed from the turbulent flight, and crawled slowly but surely to the finishing line.
“Hooray!” everyone cheered, jumping up and down with excitement
“That should teach him a good lesson!” mocked the snail, pointing at the hare, still lying on the ground in a coma. “He finally got what he deserves after all. As the proverb goes, pride always comes before a fall.”