The hare and the tortoise: A fable retold

The hare and the tortoise: A fable retold Cover Image

“Slow and steady wins the race”- says the moral of an old fable. But here are some valuable lessons that could be gleaned with some interesting twists in the tale.

As parents, teaching kids the fine values of losing a game like a sport or helping them recognize their strengths makes for a constant and on-going effort. So, imagine my delight when I saw how my son’s school took the help of an old tale, The hare and the tortoise, to subtly inject these good values.

As a part of a special assembly that awarded meritorious students for the academic year, students of class 3 and 4 from The Brigade School, Mahadevapura put up a beautiful reworked adaptation of this popular Aesop’s fable.

It began with how the story originally played out with the hare losing the race. We have all read the story with the moral that “the slow and steady wins the race”. However, on careful introspection we might all agree that had the hare not been overconfident, the tortoise would have still lost the race, isn’t it? This is exactly what the students emphasized.

Over-confidence always marks the downfall of a player even when he’s apparently more competent than his opponents.

Lesson 1: Learn from failure

But then, does one failure mean that you’re not good? Of course not! Especially, when you deal with it maturely and understand the reasons for a bad performance on a single occasion. The hare understood his folly and challenged the tortoise to another contest. This time he did not think low of his opponent but remained alert and energetic all through the race and won it.

Lesson 2: Identify your strengths and use them

Now, can we say that the hare is better than the tortoise? Did the tortoise wallow in self-pity thinking how he can never be as fast as the hare? No. The tortoise realized that his strengths are different from those of the hare and that does not make him any less competent than the hare.

Hence, the tortoise challenged the hare once again this time for a contest, the condition being that he would decide the track conditions. The hare agreed. The race began and the hare took the lead, naturally. After crossing a short distance, the hare stopped mid-track, for what did he see? There was a small river that now spanned between him and the finishing line. Even as he wondered what to do under the circumstances, the tortoise caught up, crossed the river and won the race in style.

Recognizing one’s unique strengths is the key to success as it never helps to compare oneself to others.

Lesson 3: United efforts reap better rewards

Seeing the tortoise win the race with his cleverness, the hare was impressed and asked the tortoise to be his friend. They decided that with their combined strengths they can do greater wonders. And, indeed their turn to show their team prowess came by soon with another race. This time, they went in as a team. In the first phase, the hare carried the tortoise on his back until the river and then the tortoise took over.

A stupendous team effort and the maturity to pool in the resources led to a team victory for the hare and the tortoise.

Aren’t these wonderful lessons? And, woven so beautifully for even little kids to learn and imbibe from.

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