The Tortoise and the Hare

The Tortoise and the Hare
Photo by: Bijou

Seattlemum Submitted by: Seattlemum

Story contrasting approaches to meeting a goal. The rabbit represents bursts of speed but lack of consistent focus. The turtle who represents slow, deliberate progress.

10 minutes
24 - 60 months
Group size
0 - 8 tots


Once upon a time, there was a Hare which is another word for a rabbit. Also, there was a Tortoise which is another name for a turtle.
The Hare said to the Tortoise, “Why do you have such short legs?”
The Tortoise said, “Dude! I am a tortoise and all tortoises have short legs.”
The Hare said, “Then you must move very slow with such short legs. I have long legs and can run as fast as the wind.”
The Tortoise said, “I do move slowly with my short legs. But even though you are super fast, I am not afraid to race you.”
The Hare laughed at the Tortoise. “You are crazy to want to race me. I am so fast, I am like the wind. You would just eat my dust.”
The Tortoise said, "I am not afraid of dust. If you win, I will buy you lunch. If I win, you will buy me lunch."
The Hare laughed, "That will be the easiest free lunch ever. Sure, I will race you, Tortoise."
They called over a Fox who was nearby and asked him to choose a course and the finish line. The race was held the next day. The Tortoise and the Hare lined up at the start line. The Fox said, “Ready, set, go!”
The Tortoise moved along slowly on her short legs. The Hare shot off fast as the wind on his fast legs. After a while, the Hare did not see the Tortoise anymore. So he decided to rest his legs, relax and wait for the Tortoise to catch up so he could show off his speed again. The Hare found a nice cool spot under a tree to rest. Oh, it was nice and relaxing waiting in the shade of the tree. So relaxing, the Hare fell asleep.
After a long while, the Hare awoke. The sun was going down and the Tortoise was nowhere in sight.
“Could she have passed me while I slept?” Wondered the Hare, as he jumped up and raced with all his might to the finish line. But it was too late to win.
The Tortoise had already won the race by staying focused on her goal. She moved slowly and steadily until she crossed the finish line.
The Hare was disappointed at first, but then decided to be a good sport and buy her lunch. So in the end, they both had a good time.

Discussion Questions
1. Were the Hare’s legs long or short? Did the Hare move slowly or quickly?
2. Were the Tortoise’s legs long or short? Did the Tortoise move slowly or quickly?
3. Who won the race? How?
1. Hare's legs were long and moved quickly.
2. Tortoise's legs were short and moved slowly.
3. Tortoise won by staying focused on the race until she crossed the finish line.
Act It Out
Have one child volunteer to be the tortoise, another as the hare, and another to be the fox. Tell the story in a circle and have the animals run / walk around the circle during the race.

Original Source

Aesop's Fables from Ancient Greece

Developmental skills