Once upon a time, a tortoise and a hare became friends in a forest. The hare loved to show off. The tortoise would patiently listen to all his tall stories, because he knew the hare was a good-hearted fellow.
One summer morning, the tortoise joined the hare and a group of animals sitting around the lake to enjoy fresh air. The hare, as usual, was boasting of his capacity as a fast runner. “I run very fast!” said the hare, “No one has beaten me as yet! I challenge you to run faster than I!” He looked around at the squirrels and the frogs, the birds, the deer and the other animals who were near him. No one was ready to take up the challenge for a race with the hare
‘I think it’s time to take my friend down a little, before he becomes a nuisance to everyone!’ thought the tortoise. “I accept your challenge, my friend,” the tortoise called out to the hare.
For a moment the hare looked at the tortoise, stunned. Then he burst out laughing. “Will you take up my challenge?” he said, laughing uproariously, “You take hours even to reach that tree!”
“That’s true,” smiled the tortoise, “But a race is different. I’ll win it!” The hare continued to chuckle. But the other animals were quite excited.
A distance was marked from a tree through the forest till the stream. The day was fixed and the tortoise and the hare stood at the starting line. A large parakeet waved a flag. The hare shot off at a leap and vanished among the trees. The tortoise plodded along slowly.
Soon the hare was way ahead of the tortoise. The hare looked back. There was no sign of the tortoise. It was a hot day. He’d grown tired from running fast. ‘Oh, well,’ he thought, ‘the tortoise is so slow that he must be far behind. I’ll just rest a while and i’ll catch up in no time at all.’ The hare sat down on a soft and shady patch of grass, leaning against a shady tree. As he was tired, he fell fast asleep.
Steadily and slowly, the tortoise kept plodding along and gently went past the hare. When the hare woke up, he looked back down the road and could not see the tortoise. He thought that the tortoise was still far behind. Then he looked up towards the finish line near the stream and was shocked to find that the tortoise was nearing the end of the race. Then the hare ran fastest he ever had, but it was too late. The tortoise crossed the finish line and was declared winner by a group of animals. The hare could not believe it and he learnt the lesson not to be boastful! Afterward, nobody passed remark on the walking speed of the tortoise.