World Folk Tales – The Hare and the Tortoise
When the hares bully the tortoises, a race is held to see who is really the superior one among them!!
Once upon a time in Africa, long ago, much before the dawn of humans, there existed animals that could talk. In one part of the jungle there were 2 groups of animals that lived. One was a group of hares and the other was a group of tortoises. The hares were fast on land and they could jump well too. The tortoises on the other hand were slow on land. Hence, the hares bullied the tortoises as they believed themselves to be superior in nature.
One day, a meeting was held between the tortoise king and the other tortoises. The bullying was getting too much for them to handle and so they decided to approach the god of creation for help. All the tortoises prayed with folded hands and then a huge cloud of smoke began to gather. From that an old owl emerged and all the tortoises bowed before their god. They then narrated their problem to their god. After thinking for a little time, the god replied saying that they must invite the hare king for a race which will be organised tomorrow. The tortoises said that they had no chance of winning the race as the hares were fast. The god told them not to worry as the race would fetch them all a much needed outcome.
The next day, the hare king and the tortoise king stood at the start line with all the others gathered on the sides. As god stood witness to the race below, the hares and tortoises cheered. The hare repeatedly taunted the tortoise at the start line and the tortoises were upset when they watched this. They pointed this to god, but god was calm as there were bigger plans. The countdown started and the race began.
The hare shot off immediately and covered more than half of the race in a flash. He turned back and he saw the hare far, far behind. At once he became overconfident and decided to take a nap on a tree. So, the hare climbed a tree and started to sleep. The tortoise slowly walked and eventually he passed the hare sleeping on the tree, but he did notice the hare there. After a little while, an apple fell from the tree, straight on the hare’s head. The hare woke up with a jerk and saw that the tortoise was walking in front of him. He got down and at once ran past the tortoise. He ran so fast that he did not see where he was going and with a splash, he fell into water.
As the hare was struggling to come up to the surface for a long time, the tortoise reached the spot and saw the hare drowning. At once, the tortoise jumped into the water and swam quickly to the hare. He took the hare on his back and after swimming to the other side of the water, he picked him up and carried him on his back to the finish line. Everyone was amazed to see this sight. The hares were flabbergasted and the tortoises were in awe. From above, god watched with a smile and declared that both the tortoise and the hare were the winners.
God then said that no one was superior or inferior to anyone and that all were interdependent on each other. After hearing this, the hare king apologised to the tortoise king for his actions and they both exchanged a warm hug to show their friendship. God saw that both the tortoises and hares were happy and with that he disappeared.
Moral – God blesses those who are kind to others.