The hare was always boasting about being the fastest runner around, especially when it came to running uphill. The other animals grew tired of this and finally persuaded the tortoise to challenge the hare to a running race.
This was not because they believed the tortoise could win the race by running faster than the hare, as the tortoise’s running speed had been tested and found to be the same as its crawling speed.
The tortoise was chosen for three reasons .
The hare could not easily refuse to race without lacking all future credibility.
There was the best chance that the hare would underestimate the tortoise’s capability.
If the hare did win, the tortoise had the thickest skin and would be the best at withstanding criticism and ridicule.
Without really thinking about it, the hare accepted.
The day of the race arrived and all the animals gathered at the starting point, which happened to be at the top of a steep cliff. The tortoise said nothing.
‘Where’s the course?’ asked the hare.
The other animals pointed down over the cliff to where a river happened to be meandering past at the bottom. ‘First to reach the river wins,’ they explained.
The hare began to realize what kind of game was being played.
Next moment the animals shouted : ‘Take your marks ; get set ; GO !!!’
Then they quickly pushed the tortoise off the cliff edge before it could reconsider.
The tortoise took off at a tremendous speed, bouncing off rocks and vegetation from which its hard shell protected it well along with contributing momentum.
The hare paused for a moment before dashing off along the clifftop looking for an easier downhill run. The race rules had failed to specify the precise route to take.
The tortoise and the hare reached the river at exactly the same time, although not the same part of the river. They didn’t know which of them had won – nor did any of the other animals.
MORAL #1 : Leveling the playing field might mean something else.
MORAL #2 : A happy ending is usually definite and serves someone right. Let’s see if we can manage without needing that 🙂