The Tortoise and the Hare

Nov 28

If you asked them, neither the tortoise nor the hare could tell you how the traditional race began between their respective species. It has been suggested that both were a little reactionary, since being mistaken for a turtle or a rabbit was a common occurrence for them. At any rate, after a long lapse in this traditional competition, it was revived in hopes of bringing more business into the community.

“Dude, I am waaay faster than you.” the hare commented in the hours before the race.

“Maybe, but your overconfidence has always proven to be your undoing.” the tortoise retorted.

The hare chortled. “Not this  time, pal. I’m not gonna party all night long so I’m too tired to race. I’m not gonna outsmart myself, none of that. Just a straight up race: you and me. It’s just in a few hours, too.”

A long smirk cut across the tortoise’s beak. “We’ll see about that.”

In concerns of keeping the race fair, the judges-who, in the interest of impartiality were neither hare nor tortoise-decided that either the hare should be handicapped (it was suggested that a large weight be attached to him) or the tortoise be enhanced (a motorized dolly was wheeled out, replete with braces for the tortoise).  The hare and his kin protested this vociferously; their need to win was great. The hares had never defeated the tortoises in the long history of the race, as was well known to all the animals of the forest. This was a source of great shame to them.

With the magnanimity that those in superior positions can maintain, the tortoise offered the decision be made by the hare.

“Let him use the rocket.” the hare said glumly. When the race began, the hare shot off at full tilt, seeming to give everything he had to the initial course. This was, it seemed, unwise, as it was hardly a good strategy for a long distance race. After not too much time, the tortoise began to catch up, his dolly rattled loudly as its motor accelerated. He smiled at the hare, and said something that was inaudible under the puttering of the engine. The tortoise was soon side by side and began to pass, when, suddenly, the hare pulled out a gun and shot several holes into the motor. The fuel ignited, causing a massive explosion. Later, it was unclear whether the explosion or the fire that followed led to the death of the tortoise.

The hare maintained his course and finished the race. When asked about the tortoise he was frank about its fate. The judges were incensed, and many thundered that the hare not only be disqualified, criminal prosecution needed to follow.

“Now wait a minute-you never said it mattered how I win, it was just that I win!” the hare declared. “There were no rules!” Before the judges could levy any pronouncements, the other hares in the stands rioted. They tore down the bleachers and set fire to the judge’s wooden booths. The judges fled, along with any non-hare present that could escape. The tortoises that were present to support their own did not fair so well-being far too ponderous to get away. 

“How’s the race now? Is it fair now?” the hares said, as they bound them to motorized dollies that were made to crash and explode. When all was finished, the only semi-undamaged piece of the affair was a mud-spattered banner that advertised the race. This, the hare made sure to hang on the wall in his warren. Needless to say, races of this sort do not take place any more. But it could hardly be argued that the hares did win, and that, by winning the final time, they might as well have won all the races. They certainly said they did, and no one was going to tell them otherwise.


  1. Amazing the way that mind of yours works. After reading your allegories I find myself searching for your hidden meanings. Hmm… is the hare the white man and the rocket affirmative action? What is he trying to say?

    I’m sure most of your readers will get different things out of your posts. Thanks for another good one!

  2. Thanks for reading Heather. I think the point of the story is that any sort of artificially imposed disparities will eventually result in a sort of systemic breakdown. I wasn’t thinking of affirmative action-but actually, something of the opposite. It’s bad when people are held down for no good reason and prevented from being allowed to perform to the utmost of their abilities. Sometimes societies put these impositions in place, for various reasons (usually, reasons of class)and this inevitably leads to resentment that can break out into the violence the hares exhibited.

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