One of the most popular tales told to children is Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and The Hare. At a very young age, children learn that “slow and steady wins the race”. There is still a lot of truth into this today. But what if that wasn’t the main point of the story? What if there was actually another moral lying underneath the colorful undertones of this classic fable?
The Fable of The Tortoise and The Hare
Once there was a hare, who incessantly boasted about how he was the fastest animal in the land. He would forever ridicule the tortoise for the tortoise was slow. When the tortoise had about enough of the hare’s taunting, he challenged the hare to a race. Of course, the hare, confidently accepted. The course was planned and the next day both the hare and the tortoise stood at the starting line. The race began and the hare zipped through half the course. As he looked back, he realized that the painfully slow tortoise was nowhere to be seen. He thought to himself that even if he takes his time, the tortoise will never be able to catch up to him so he decided to take a nap, and then catch up with the tortoise (should he be ahead) when he wakes.
The hare woke from his nap, and began to look for the tortoise. But the tortoise had moved barely a third of the course. With a sigh of relief, the hare decided he might as well have breakfast for this may take a longer than expected. He went off to munch on some cabbages from a nearby field. The hearty meal and blazing sun made him drowsy. With a last glance at his rival who was only halfway along the course, he decided to take another nap before winning the race. He smirked at the thought of the creature’s face as he’d flash past him after pacing so far for so long, and with a confident smile, he slept and snored happily.
The sun had begun to set, and the tortoise who’d been tirelessly plodding through the course since morning was barely one yard from the finish line. At this point, the hare woke with a start, and frantically searched for the tortoise. Upon seeing that the tortoise was nearing the finish, he ran and jumped as fast as he could. But the hare was too late. On his final leap, the tortoise had already beaten him to the finish line.
A Different Perspective
Since time immemorial, the moral taught to children by the end of this story is “slow and steady wins the race”. In this view, we are better off being a tortoise that paces steadily towards a goal, rather than being a hare that “rushing into things” only to slack off later on. Now there is a lot of truth in that. However, that only considers the side of people that are tortoises — the side that isn’t particularly good at something, but is persistent and hardworking. But there is actually a lot of “hare” in all of us. The side of us that is born with amazing talents, that we often take for granted. You see, the tortoise didn’t just win because of his diligence; he won because the hare was overconfident, lax, and lost sight of his goal.
Now you’re probably thinking that in this sense, the moral remains the same. That is still true. The point is still that no matter how brilliant you are at something, if you don’t put in the work, someone less brilliant but twice as hardworking and persistent will beat you. But what if the hare didn’t slack off? What if the hare actually put in the effort to winning the race? Of course, it’d be an entirely different (and probably much shorter) story. But the point of that notion is that it’s a lot more true-to-life today.
In a competition, people who’ve been the best of the best rarely ever slack off. This is why there’s always that kid in high school who always wins the science fair, or why there’s always one momma who always wins the county pie competition. These “hares” are always at the top of their game, and if or when they lose, they do better than their best to get back to the top. This is how life is and how it’s supposed to be. I believe that great people who slack off and then lose, mostly belong to fairytales and movies.
In the case of The Tortoise and the Hare, I believe the bigger lessons (than slow and steady wins the race) are: use your strengths to reach your goals, don’t be overconfident, and give it your all even if you know you’ll win. After all, slow and steady is good, but fast, smart, and efficient is even better.
For this one great story, a lot of people collect rabbit toys or hare and turtle cute stuffed animals. In fact, you may go to http://www.ebay.com/usr/theescapeplace and check out our collection of rabbit and tortoise plush. Samples below:
Click here for the amazing hare plush
Click here for the turtle cute stuffed animal
Click here for this nice rabbit bag or bunny bag – this would desirable for little kids inspire by the tortoise and the hare kid story.