Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

The Tortoise and the Hare

        | HSW

He laughed so hard that he fell over.
He laughed so hard that he fell over.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

In the woods there lived a very slow tortoise and a very swift hare. The Hare was a proud animal, fast and sleek, and well aware of his speedy talents. He would take delight in taunting the humble Tortoise.

One bright morning, the Tortoise was plodding along at his usual pace. Suddenly, bounding past him was the Hare! The Hare leapt this way and that, frantically running circles around the patient Tortoise. No matter how the Hare might cross his path or try to trip him up, the Tortoise calmly continued his stroll, undisturbed by the Hare's antics.

"Good morning, Mr. Hare," the Tortoise said.

"My goodness, you are moving quickly today."

"Ha-hah! That I am, Tortoise!" snapped the Hare. "But I cannot say the same for you.

You are as slow as a sloth!"

"This is true, Mr. Hare, this is true," replied the Tortoise.

"You know, Tortoise," said the Hare mockingly,

"I just saw a snail slithering along faster than you!"

"Perhaps you did, Mr. Hare, perhaps you did,"

said the Tortoise, all the while slowly continuing along the path. "I am a very slow creature," said the Tortoise, "but all the same, I would like to challenge you to a race."

"You? You challenge me to a race?" asked the Hare.

"Why, Tortoise, I could have run a race in the time it took you to make that challenge! Ha, ha, ha!" And with that, the Hare was seized with laughter. He laughed so hard that he fell over.

The noisy laughter of the Hare caught the attention

of the other animals. "What's the commotion?" they asked.

"This silly Tortoise has challenged me to a race! Why, I'm sure to win," said the Hare. "He is so slow, I'll have time to spare."

The animals agreed on a course for the race and the Fox was chosen to act as the judge. That night, the Tortoise went to bed early to rest for the big day, but the Hare stayed up late into the night, boasting far and wide of his upcoming victory.

The next morning, the Tortoise arose early and slowly made his way to the starting line. As it was time for the race to begin, the Hare was only just waking up. "On your marks!" growled the Fox. "Get set!"

"Whoa! Don't start without me," exclaimed the Hare as he dashed to his place at the starting line.

"GO!" barked the Fox, and the Hare was off, leaving the

Tortoise behind in a cloud of dust. When the dust settled, the Tortoise had only cleared the starting line.

"Ha, ha," laughed the Hare, "I'll show that old Tortoise! He should have known better than to think that he would beat me."

After he'd eaten his fill, he felt sleepy.
After he'd eaten his fill, he felt sleepy.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Not long after the Hare was out of sight, he began to grow weary. "I am so far ahead of that Tortoise," thought the Hare. "I think I'll take a little rest here until he comes along. That ought to show him how foolish he is to race me!" The Hare stretched out on a comfortable hammock and enjoyed a few tasty carrots.

After he'd eaten his fill, he felt sleepy. "Well, I suppose there is no harm in taking a little nap," the Hare said to himself, and with that, he fell fast asleep.

To see who wins the race, go to the next page.

For more children's stories and activities, check out: