Story time: Slow and steady wins the race

Published June 1, 2024
Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

It was midnight and almost the whole neighbourhood was asleep, Usama was sitting, bent over his study table and doodling on the corner of his paper on which he was supposed to write his thoughts about the story, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’’. The problem was that he couldn’t think of anything worth writing.

That was when the sounds of soft footsteps made him look up from his study table to find his grandma standing near his bedroom door, with a glass of milk in her hands.

“What are you doing so late at night?” she asked lovingly as she sat at the corner of his bed and placed the milk on the bedside table.

“Grandma, do you know that famous story of the tortoise and hare, in which the tortoise somehow wins the race and the hare gets defamed? I am supposed to write my opinion on that and I don’t know what to write,” Usama whined. He was glad that someone was there to guide him. His grandma was the number one ‘problem solver’ for him.

“Yes, I am well aware of the story. Tell me more about the problem. You can write about what you think of ‘the hare gets defamed’ part,” she quoted him.

Usama got up from the desk and came to sit cross-legged on his bed, near his grandma.

“But isn’t it weird, grandma? Everybody praised the tortoise, but I am thinking that, honestly, there is nothing to praise the tortoise for,” he replied.

“And why do you think we shouldn’t praise the tortoise, he, after all, won the race,” his grandma asked as she handed him the glass of milk. It was after his first sip when he replied,

“What’s the big deal about it though? The hare knew he could win the race so he didn’t even try,” Usama reasoned

“That’s not the point, Usama. The point was that the hare was proud. If someone’s very good at something or naturally good at it, it doesn’t mean that they have the right to look down upon others. And the story also shows how hard work is important for winning any race in life. The hare was boasting about his strength, so it became his downfall.”

Usama’s face turned into an ‘O’ shape, finally understanding what the message in the story was.

“Now I get it! Thank you so much, grandma,” he said as his grandma stood up to leave.

“By the way Usama, what do you think, did hares live above on the land or inside their burrows, underground, before they got ‘defamed’ or did losing at the race, and thus being mocked by other animals in the jungle, made them change their home? ” grandma asked just before she closed the door behind her.

And now Usama became confused yet again.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 1st, 2024

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