Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Hare and the Tortoise

English short storiesFables for Children

The Hare and the Tortoise

An old box
It is a warm afternoon, in summer. We can see a grassy field. In the middle of the field is an animal. It has long back legs. It has long ears. It looks like a rabbit, but it is too big. It is a hare.
Why is the hare sitting there in the middle of the field? Why are its long ears sticking straight up? The hare is watching something. It can see something moving along the side of the field.
The hare has never seen anything like this before. It looks like an animal in a box. The box has six small holes. Four legs stick out of the side holes. There are two on one side, two on the other. A tail sticks out of the hole at the back. A head sticks out of the hole at the front. The animal is walking along the side of the field. It is walking very slowly.

The hare wants to know more. He goes closer. The animal can see someone coming. She stops. She pulls her head inside the box. She pulls her legs and tail back inside the box, too. She waits quietly. 'What's this?' says the hare to himself. 'I thought I saw an animal. This is just an old box. Shell,' says a voice from inside the box. The hare jumps into the air and runs away. He runs as fast as he can. Hares do not like surprises.
The voice
 The box does not move. The hare stops running. He turns round and looks. Then he comes back. He still wants to know what the strange thing is.
 Did I really hear a voice  coming from this, er, shell? thinks the hare.
 He looks closer. He touches the shell with his nose. Nothing happens. Go on says the hare. Say something. Nothing happens. Go on I like listening to a shell that speaks. A talking shell that is very strange. Then a small soft voice comes from the shell. The shell is not speaking. I am the one who is speaking the voice says.
 The hare stands up quickly. His eyes are full of surprise. His ears are flat. He wants to run away. He is ready to go fast as the wind. But he also wants to hear more. He stays. I am just a little animal says the voice. I will not hurt you. The hare looks worried but he does not move. Now don't get excited says the animal. I am going to stick my head out. Don't jump. The hare looks more worried than ever.

Ms Tortoise
Slowly a small head comes through the front hole of the shell. It is grey. It has two small black eyes a flat nose and a wide straight mouth. The hare moves back two or three meters. There says the quite voice. Nothing to be frightened of. you see I am just a little animal. I am much smaller than you. I am a tortoise. The hare is beginning to think this is a very funny animal. And you live in that box thing do you?' he asks. Er sorry, I mean shell?
 Yes the shell is part of me, says the tortoise. You have a nice warm coat. I have this shell. It is very useful. I just go anywhere I like. When I am tired, I stop and pull myself back inside.
 It looks heavy. Mr Tortoise. says the hare. I am used to it says the tortoise. And I am Ms Tortoise not Mr, Oh sorry says the hare. But there is something else he wants to know. How fast do you go Ms  Tortoise? he asks my guess is that you can only go slowly. That shell  must be heavy.
 You are right says the tortoise. I am not the fastest animal in the world but I think about where I want to go and then I go there. Slow but steady my friend. That is the way we tortoises go. We always get there in the end.
Part Two

The Apple Tree
You remember a hare is talking to a tortoise. The tortoise says it can only move slowly. 'I wouldn't like that says the hare. 'I like to go fast. Quicker than lightning that's me. Here one second, gone the next. I have been watching you says the tortoise. I have seen how fast you go. But what I want to know is do you ever get there? Where? To where you want to go. I have seen you doing all this running about. But do you ever go anywhere special? I think not. You have no plan says the tortoise. Well I can run faster than you says the here. I am sure you can the tortoise laughs. But will you get there before me?
Get where? Well, let's say to that apple tree over there. Let us have a race. Let us see who will get there first. The apple tree is on the other side of the field. The here thinks this idea is very funny. He laughs loudly. That is so silly, he says. But shall we try? asks the tortoise. Oh, all right if you want to says the here. Then he adds I will let you start before me. With that shell on your back you will take all afternoon to get there. Most of the evening too I think. I'll stop here and take a little rest first. I will meet you at the apple tree by teatime. Do you think you will have arrived by then? I shall be there by teatime the tortoise replies. And off she goes. She moves as tortoise do very slowly. That does not mean she is not moving at all. The tree is about five hundred meters away. It will take her an hour to get there. The here lies back in the grass. He goes to sleep.
Fast as the wind
Time passes.
Fifty-five minutes later the here wakes up. He looks across the field. The tortoise is close to the apple tree now. She will arrive in just a few minutes. Hmm says the here thoughtfully. Nothing to worry about. He stands up. He gets ready to run. Hares really can run fast. It should take him less than half a minute to get to the apple tree. Off he goes as fast as the wind. He gets closer and closer to the apple tree. A grasshopper jumps out of the grass just in front of the hare. It surprises the hare. The hare turns to the left. He is still going as fast as before but not towards the apple tree. A bird cries out. That surprises the hare too. The hare turns to the right. He is still going as fast as before but not towards the apple tree.
A butterfly flies past his nose. The hare turns back. He is still going as fast as before but back to where he started. He gets to the side of the field and remembers. He turns round and starts running towards the apple tree again. Then something else gives him a surprise. He turns to the left or the right. Then something else after that and he turns in another direction.
The tortoise is sitting under the apple tree now. She is watching the hare. He is still running this way and that way all over the field. That animal is very fast says the tortoise to herself. I feel weak just watching him. But he has no plan. He does not know where he wants to go. She watches a little while longer. She watches a little while longer. Well I feel quite tired after my long walk. I'll just shut my eyes for a few minutes. I will wait for him to arrive if he ever does. Ah well slow but steady wins the race. That's what we tortoises always say. And we are usually right she says. She pulls her head her legs and her tail into her shell, and goes to sleep. 

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