Most fairy tales and bedtime stories always end with a moral because what better way is there than to teach a child something good than a story. The Hare and The Tortoise is one such popular bedtime story that teaches kids several important moral lessons. This story has its origin in the famous Aesop’s fables and teaches children that boasting about one’s strengths is not good and instead one should encourage others rather than belittling them. Also, pride comes before the fall and overconfidence eventually leads to failure. Eventually, slow and steady wins the race and persistent effort is what matters. The tortoise and hare short story has seen many variations over the years as well as some modern adaptations, but the basic elements remain the same.
The Story of the Hare and the Tortoise
Once upon a time, there was a quiet and polite tortoise in a forest who liked to live life on his own terms without interfering with others. There was also a loud and boastful hare who loved to talk about how fast he could run and the various awards he had won because of that. He would tease the tortoise mercilessly about what a slow coach he was. One day he came up to the tortoise and asked him why he couldn’t move faster as then they could have a race. The tortoise just smiled and went on chewing on some leaves. But the hare just wouldn’t give up and every day he would come to the tortoise and ask him the same thing. One fine day, the bragging and teasing got too much for the tortoise and when the hare challenged him, he accepted the challenge.
The date of the race was set for a few days later and all the animals of the forest came to see the race. The race began and within no time at all, the hare overtook the tortoise and was way ahead. When he saw that the tortoise was nowhere in sight, the hare decided to stop running and take a break. He lay down under a shady tree, ate a snack of some cabbage leaves and carrots and soon the cool breeze put him into a deep sleep. Meanwhile, the tortoise plodded on at his slow speed without stopping. Some time passed and he crossed the hare who was still sleeping peacefully. Slowly and steadily, the tortoise reached the finish line and won the race. All the animals of the forest started clapping for the tortoise and the loud cheering woke up the hare. He stretched lazily not realising what had happened as he thought the tortoise must be still struggling to catch up. The hare began running towards the finish line and to his shock he saw the tortoise wearing a crown and all the animals congratulating him. The tortoise saw the hare and smiled at him and the hare was left embarrassed and regretful that he with all his speed had lost the race to the slowest animal of the forest. To top it, all the animals laughed at him for losing the race to the tortoise.
Moral of the Story
The hare and tortoise story moral goes beyond just one single thing and there are several lessons that children can learn from this tale.
- Overconfidence is never good and the hare lost the race in spite of being very fast at running. His overconfidence did not allow him to take the competition seriously. The tortoise, even though he was the slowest animal, did not lose confidence or give up while competing with the hare.
- Slow and steady wins the race and hard work and perseverance is never wasted. It is okay to be slow or not as good as others in everything. What is more important is that one should remain steady and determined in the pursuit of their goals. Not everyone has the same strengths or talents, but that should not stop you from achieving a difficult goal. Even though he was much slower than the hare, the tortoise didn’t get disheartened or give up.
- Pride comes before the fall and being proud and boastful eventually leads to failure. The hare was so proud of himself that he decided to snack and nap between the race that led to him being defeated.
- Always be calm in life and focus on your goals. The tortoise never got irritated by the hare’s teasing and criticism. He remained calm and focused on his goals without getting distracted. This attitude helped him to win the race.
- One should never make fun of others who may be less talented or weaker than you. You never know when their effort and sincerity will help them outshine you.
Modern Adaptations of the Story
Over time, there have been some modern adaptations to the hare and tortoise story that pan out in different ways. Here are a few other things that could have possibly happened after the tortoise won the race against the hare.
- The hare went through a phase of self-realisation after being defeated by the tortoise and concluded that his overconfidence was the reason for his defeat. He challenged the tortoise to another race and this time focused on the challenge and did not take a break. He won the race proving that a combination of talent and hard work will lead you to victory.
- When the hare challenged the tortoise to another race hoping to win this time around, the tortoise knew that he couldn’t win. He accepted the challenge on the condition that he would decide the course for the race. The hare was smug and agreed, believing that he was the fastest and he wouldn’t repeat his mistake. However, the hare didn’t know that after running for some distance on land, the course led to a river. The hare did not know how to swim while the tortoise easily swam across the river. This time the tortoise was smart and played to his strengths which led him to victory.
- Another tortoise and hare short story is that they were on their way to the Ferris wheel in the village and the hare as usual kept teasing the tortoise for being slow. He challenged the tortoise to a race to the Ferris wheel and took off and was soon lost in the crowd. The tortoise knew a short-cut through the woods. There was a large pond between the Ferris wheel and the tortoise. The tortoise swam across the pond quickly and had already enjoyed a ride on the Ferris wheel before the hare arrived! The moral that children can learn from this story is that one should recognise their strengths and weaknesses and not compare themselves to others.
The hare and tortoise story is a great way to make children understand that overconfidence and bragging will not always get you what you want in life. One should not rush into anything as perseverance and hard work are what get you success. Stories with morals enhance the thinking capacity of kids and broaden their mental horizon. The tortoise story teaches kids that to achieve success one has to be slow and steady, rather than being hasty and careless. For more such stories with morals, EuroKids can offer you a great deal of variety that is sure to be fun for kids and will also teach them a valuable lesson.