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The Tortoise And The Hare

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Once, not so long ago, lived a hare and a tortoise. They were not the famous hare and tortoise that had raced in the ancient world, but the...


Once, not so long ago, lived a hare and a tortoise. They were not the famous hare and tortoise that had raced in the ancient world, but they were their great, great, great… grandchildren. The hare and tortoise were acquaintances and were friendly towards each other; the hare was particularly friendly. They always said hello when crossing paths, but they had no common interests, so they were not close friends.

The tortoise loved to read and write and was an accomplished scholar. Always interested in history, he knew everything about his famous ancestor and about the hare that his ancestor had beaten in that race. He knew everything about the race. In fact, he was writing a book about his famous ancestor and how he had beaten the ancient hare.

The tortoise's friend, the hare, knew nothing about the ancient race. The hare did not care about the things the tortoise loved. Instead, the hare loved to run and race. Quick and swift, the hare was always up for a race and did not care if he won or lost, although he invariably won. The hare just wanted to run.

One day while writing his book about his ancestor, the tortoise considered that ancient race. He decided that to understand the race, he too had to experience it, and he decided to do as his great, great, great...grandfather had done. He found the hare and challenged the hare to a race. The hare thought the tortoise was joking and laughed. The tortoise did not laugh and assured the hare he was serious about the offer. The hare apologized and asked why the tortoise would want to race him. The hare knew he could easily beat the tortoise, even demonstrated by running several laps while the tortoise watched because he did not wish to embarrass the tortoise.

The tortoise explained the famous race between their ancestors and that he was writing a book about it. He needed to understand the race by participating in a similar one. The hare smiled at the thought that a hare had ever lost a race to a tortoise, but he would race if the tortoise really wanted to. The hare did not wish to embarrass the tortoise, so he insisted they race the next morning after sun up because he knew the other animals would be in their nests. The tortoise agreed and went back to his books.

The next morning the tortoise and hare met at the starting point on the path where the hare normally ran his races. The path ran between some high grass, down a gully and up, into some trees and into a creek, then around a patch of more trees, then back around to the starting point. The hare made sure the tortoise knew where to go; the path was well worn so the tortoise only needed to follow it. The tortoise assured the hare he had seen the hare race the path before.

They lined up, the tortoise said “Go,” and they were off. The hare dashed away from the tortoise. The tortoise, his eyes fixed straight ahead, had traveled a few feet but the hare was already down and up the gully, in and out of the trees, and hopping over the creek. The hare was almost to the finish line, but the tortoise had raced only a few more feet. The tortoise had gone about six feet when the hare came up to him from behind, having already run the entire course.

"Here I am," the hare said with a smile.

"I am just getting warmed up," the tortoise explained with eyes fixed on the path ahead of him. "You better get going."

"Okay." With a smile, the hare raced around the path again and came back to the tortoise. Again, the tortoise told him he better get going. Again and again, this happened and the hare ran around the path ten times before the tortoise finally reached the creek. The hare was now very tire and decided to take a nap. He found a nice soft spot and fell into a deep sleep. The tortoise continued his race and finally came to the finish line. When he crossed the finish line, he looked and saw the hare sound asleep. The tortoise smiled, walked back to his nest and wrote about how he too had beaten the hare just as his great, great, great… grandfather had.

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Consider This:

I have never gone to sleep with a grievance against anyone. And, as far as I could, I have never let anyone go to sleep with a grievance against me. -Abba Agathon, monk (4th/5th century)

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