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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

237. THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE
Perry 226 (Chambry 352 *)

The hare laughed at the tortoise's feet but the tortoise declared, 'I will beat you in a race!' The hare replied, 'Those are just words. Race with me, and you'll see! Who will mark out the track and serve as our umpire?' 'The fox,' replied the tortoise, 'since she is honest and highly intelligent.' When the time for the race had been decided upon, the tortoise did not delay, but immediately took off down the race course. The hare, however, lay down to take a nap, confident in the speed of his feet. Then, when the hare eventually made his way to the finish line, he found that the tortoise had already won.
The story shows that many people have good natural abilities which are ruined by idleness; on the other hand, sobriety, zeal and perseverance can prevail over indolence.


Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.