Asian Stories - AtoZ 2017

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hare and the Turtle


One of my favorites fables because I think of myself like a turtle, slow and steady and somehow winning the race. The turtle in eastern countries in their ancient myths holds up the four directions of this earth. P'ngue, the first dragon of China stood on turtle's back and listened to all the stories turtle told. P'ngue gave turtles stories to us. The coastal Indians of American have a story for the 13 sections on turtle's back for the 13 moons of the year.

When I was a child in Colorado, turtles still walked the prairies, and sometimes we would catch one, of course, the snapping turtle bites. The turtles were old about a foot across. I hope the slow, careful reptiles still live on those vast plains of the midwest.

Why Hare Lost!
To the Pacific American, turtle carries 13 stories on her back.

HARE one day ridiculed the short feet and slow pace of the TURTLE, who replied, laughing: "Though you are as swift as the wind, I will beat you in a race." The Hare, believing her assertion impossible, accepted the proposal; and they agreed that the Fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race, the two started together. The Tortoise never for a moment stopped but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course. The Hare, lying down by the wayside, fell fast asleep. At last, waking up, and moving as fast as he could saw that Turtle had reached the goal, and was comfortably asleep after her success.

Slow but steady wins the race.

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Aesop's Fables, The Tortoise and the Hare, translated by George Townsend, Baronet Books, p. 5, 1954.

Thirteen Moons on Turtles's Back, Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London, illus by Thomas Locker, The Putnam and Grosset Group, 1992. ( four stories on each side and five down the middle of the shell)

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