Flash Fiction: Mr. Hare and Mr. Tortoise
Deep in the Amazon rainforest, there was a small village where animals lived peacefully and harmoniously together. Mr. Tortoise who lived among them was always teased for being slow. It saddened him that everyone in the village could not get past his slow-paced lifestyle.
His best friend, Mr. Hare felt bad for Mr. Tortoise and wanted to help improve his friend’s image in the village.
“I have an idea,” Mr. Hare told his friend one day, “Since I am known for being fast on my feet, I will challenge you to a race. When you win, the teasing will stop.”
“Or get worse,” Mr. Tortoise interjected. “Are you trying to humiliate me all the more? How can I win against you?”
“That is what I am trying to say, I am going to lose on purpose,” Mr. Hare explained.
Mr. Tortoise mulled on the idea for days but when the teasing showed no sign of stopping, he agreed to his friend’s plan.
The other animals were called. Mr. Fox agreed to become the judge and marked out the course. The race begun and Mr. Hare raced off while Mr. Tortoise plodded on so slowly.
Half-way through, Mr. Hare remembered that he had to lose the race so he decided to wait for his friend so that they would reach the finish line together but with Mr. Tortoise winning by a hair. He thought perhaps he had time for a short nap.
When he woke up from his nap, he thought Mr. Tortoise was still way back so he decided to wait for him near the finish line, but when he reached it, he saw that Mr. Tortoise was already there with everybody cheering his triumph.
Well, it worked out just fine, he thought. When the crowd saw him, they started chanting, “Loser, loser.”
Mr. Hare did not mind the crowd’s teasing but when he realized that it was Mr. Tortoise who was leading the pack in the name calling, he took his friend aside and asked, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, come on, it’s just a little teasing,” Mr. Tortoise smiled wickedly. “I didn’t know it feels this good to be on the other side, that is, when the object of teasing is not me.
The teasing continued and some even went as far as calling him Mr. Hare Loser.
He talked to Mr. Tortoise about it, “I think it is time to tell them that I lost to you on purpose.”
“Oh, you did,” Mr. Tortoise said sarcastically. “That was what I thought at first but when you did not show up for two hours, I knew I won the race fair and square.”
“What? I took a nap! I got so sleepy waiting for you…”
“Admit it, my friend. Those feet of yours are not as fast as you want us to believe. You planned the race to prove to everyone that you are fast at my expense.”
“How can you even think that? I am your friend and all I wanted was to help you.”
“I am sorry, I cannot have a friend who was going to use me for his own good. Have a good day, Loser.”
As Mr. Hare debated with himself whether or not to kick the haughty tortoise to kingdom come, Mr. Fox came rushing, “Mr. Tortoise, a pack of hyenas are headed to our village. You have to alert the villagers of the impending danger. You run ahead and we will be right behind you.”
Mr. Tortoise hesitated only a moment. He hastily moved forward. When he covered twenty inches of ground in ten seconds, Mr. Fox almost fainted. “Run, you slow poke! Run!” he yelled.
“I am running!” Mr. Tortoise replied breathing heavily.
Mr. Hare took a deep breath and raced to warn the villagers himself. Mr. Fox followed him, leaving Mr. Tortoise behind.
The villagers were notified in time to put into action what they had been drilling over and over again, the hyena-attack drill. They were able to fend off the hyenas who retreated to the deeper parts of the jungle. The village animals mounted a ferocious defense. And they owed their victory to Mr. Hare. Had they not been warned earlier, they would all have been caught off-guard and lost their lives to the hyenas.
Mr. Tortoise was so humiliated and was forced to tell the villagers the truth about the race. In the end, he did not only lose face, he lost a friend, too.
© 2015 Virgo908