Posted by jlubans on October 13, 2017

Caption: In Need of No-Doz. (Illus. by Harrison Weir, 1871).

“A HARE one day made himself merry over the slow pace of the Tortoise, vainly boasting of his own great speed in running.
The Tortoise took the laughing and boasting in good part. ‘Let us try a race,’ she said; ‘I will run with you five miles for five dollars, and the Fox out yonder shall be the judge.”
The Hare agreed, a course was arranged, and away they started together. True to his boasting the Hare was out of sight in a moment.
The Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but jogged along with a slow, steady pace, straight to the end of the course. Full of sport, the Hare first outran the Tortoise, then fell behind. Having come midway to the goal, he began to nibble at the young herbage, and to amuse himself in many ways. After a while, the day being warm, he lay down for a nap, saying: ‘She is behind me now. If she should go by, I can easily enough catch up.’
When the Hare awoke, the Tortoise was not in sight; and running as fast as he could, he found her comfortably dozing at their their goal.

Those who are very quick are apt to be too sure. Slow and steady often wins the race”

Probably among the two or three best known of Aesop’s fables, is there any more to be said beyond the obvious?
Of course. There’s always more with Aesop. All it takes is re-thinking the fable’s meaning. I’ll show you:
The turtle wins less for being slow and steady than for the hare’s over confidence (and considerable smuggery). IOW, the hare is his own worst enemy.
And, so it can be at work.
Studies have shown it is not always the loudest, the smartest, the fittest, or the strongest in a group that holds the key to a knotty problem. Time and again, I have seen the quietest group member, or someone of average intelligence, or the physically weakest member offer the best idea for solving a problem.
Often, it is the person with the highest EQ (emotional intelligence) that facilitates the best decision-making. That’s because of his or her capacity to work with others and to get others thinking.
A trickster or Team Turtle version of this fable has the turtle winning not because of the rabbit’s laziness, but because of turn taking by different turtles. No matter how hard the hare dashed, there was always turtle in front, a la Rosie Ruiz.**

*Source: J. H. Stickney. “Aesop's Fables / A Version for Young Readers.” Æsop’s Fables: A Version for Young Readers
Illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull
New York: Ginn and Company 1915
Available at Gutenberg e-books

**Rosie Ruiz won the 1980 Boston Marathon in record time. Shortly after she was exposed as having run only the last mile. Her secret to winning: “Don’t run the whole thing.”
Maybe Rosie read the alternate version of the turtle/hare fable, the one with the turn taking turtles.

Fables for Leaders, with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron and designed by ALISE ŠNĒBAHA, launched September 30, 2017 ($26.99).
Ezis Press
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783
Or, Amazon

© Copyright John Lubans 2017
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