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|Clever Hare out-manoeuvred by
Many animals regarded the hare to be the most intelligent animal in the forest. Some respected him for this, while others thought this was just a cheeky little animal whose only claim to fame was the cause mischief and make fun of other animals.
However, while some animals despised the little hare, none of them had the courage to come into the open and tell the him off. This was because most of them were afraid of the scorn they would suffer from the hare if they dared to challenge the small animal.
One of the animals that really despised the hare was the fox. The fox thought that the hare was a mischievous little creature which had nothing to prove to anyone. At one public meeting, the fox stood up and challenged the hare to come out in the open and tell the animals what he was capable of doing.
"I can run faster than everyone here," the hare boldly declared. There was murmuring from the animals who thought that there were faster animals than this self-declared wise animal. The fox shot up quickly and declared that this will have to be proved on a day that the animals will decide.
He, however, declared that this was not enough to prove that the hare was better than the other animals. The tortoise which most of the animals thought was clumsy and slow shot up and said that he could dig a field, plant peanuts, and harvest a lot more, something which the hare could not do.
This was unanimously accepted and even the hares mother who was present in the meeting supported the other animals because she thought her son was just a bum who wanted food every day but was not willing to work.
So the animals set a day when the race will be held and several animals that hated the hare decided to enter to prove to him that he was not as smart as he claimed to be after all. Many animals were surprised when the tortoise also decided to enter the race as he was generally considered to be slow.
But the tortoise had a plan that was much smarter than all the other animals. He called several of his brothers and asked them to be at strategic positions. One was at the starting point, the next was one thirds of the way, the other was half way, the other was three quarters and the tortoise that challenged the hare was at the finishing point.
On a cool morning, the other animals that had entered the race dropped out and the stage was left to the tortoise and the hare. The lion, being the king of the bush flagged off the race and off went the hare at a lightning speed. The first tortoise followed the hare for a while and then disappeared into the bushes behind the hare and then went home.
When the hare reached one third of the journey, he saw a tortoise slowly running ahead of him. The hare could not believe his eyes that the tortoise was ahead of him after he had left him at the start in a lightning speed.
He sped again and overtook the tortoise, thinking that this was going to set the record straight. At half way point, the hare saw the tortoise ahead of him and was very upset. "How come this slow animal appears in front of me all the time?" he wondered.
He again accelerated his speed and overtook the next tortoise which after completing its task, went away home. Knowing that the hare was about to arrive, the last and genuine tortoise came out of the bushes where it had been hiding and went to the finishing point, much to the applause of the animals that had been stationed at the finishing point.
When the hare arrived, the celebration had already started and he could not believe it when he saw the tortoise seated comfortably with the ribbon that was the first prize for the race. He went disappeared into the forest and no one heard of him again for a while.
But the animals always knew that this was not the last time they had seen the hare as he kept coming with new tricks. But the animals knew that if he came back and started to boast, there was still another test against his biggest nemesis, the tortoise.
Like it had been expected, the hare came out of the hiding and started to accuse the other animals of ganging up against him and cheating in the race. But the lion quickly ordered that the next test be carried out. But everyone knew that this was a tough one for the hare as he was known to be the laziest creature that was only able to talk and unable to work.
So the two were given pieces of land deep in the forest and there were given a time period when they were supposed to complete clearing the forest and then start sowing the seeds. Early in the morning, the hare woke up and asked his mother for lunch and set off for the forest. He went to some part of the forest and sat down, ate the food and started to play. When it was time to go home, he took some wet soil and soiled his feet and hands and then went home. Seeing his dirty hands and feet, the hares mother thought that a huge amount of work had been done.
The tortoise on its part again summoned the help of its brothers and they worked together very hard. Soon, they had completed clearing the forest and proceeded to dig, before sowing he seeds. But for the hare, it was the same story everyday and he would come to tell his mother how hard he had worked.
Weeding time came and the same thing happened each day. The mother to the hare was convinced that her son was working very hard for a change but she did not know the surprise that was in store for her when harvesting time came. But being the clever animal that he was, the hare was thinking of what to do when harvesting time came.
It was announced that both of them should start to harvest because the crop was ready. But the mistakes that the other animals made was not to go out to the forest to check whether there were any crops ready. Happily, the tortoise went out and harvested its peanuts and brought them before the animals.
The hare went to the forest and thought hard about what he was supposed to do, then decided that since the other animals were at the meeting place, he could easily go to harvest from the lions garden and come to present the peanuts as his own. He did exactly that started off to present his harvest to the animals. But the clever fox had been following him and had seen everything that had happened. It ran to the meeting place and reported what had happened.
When the hare arrived with his load, the animals pounced on him and almost killed him. As a punishment he was ordered to dig a well in the middle of the village. The hare was so embarrassed that he never dared challenge anyone again.
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