Le Lièvre et la Tortue

The Hare and the Tortoise


Chapter 1

Rushing is useless; one has to leave on time. To such Truth witness is given by the Tortoise and the Hare.

"Let’s make a bet," the former once said, "that you won’t touch That line as soon as I." "As soon? Are you all there,

Neighbor?" said the rapid beast. "You need a purge: four grains at least

Of hellebore, you’re now so far gone." "All there or not, the bet’s still on."

So it was done; the wagers of the two Were placed at the finish, in view.

It doesn’t matter what was down at stake, Nor who was the judge that they got.

Our Hare had, at most, four steps or so to take. I mean the kind he takes when, on the verge of being caught,

He outruns dogs sent to the calends for their pains, Making them run all over the plains.

Having, I say, time to spare, sleep, browse around, Listen to where the wind was bound,

He let the Tortoise leave the starting place In stately steps, wide-spaced.

Straining, she commenced the race: Going slow was how she made haste.

He, meanwhile, thought such a win derogatory, Judged the bet to be devoid of glory,

Believed his honor was all based On leaving late. He browsed, lolled like a king,

Amused himself with everything But the bet. When at last he took a look,

Saw that she’d almost arrived at the end of the course, He shot off like a bolt. But all of the leaps he took

Were in vain; the Tortoise was first perforce. "Well, now!" she cried out to him. "Was I wrong?

What good is all your speed to you?

The winner is me! And how would you do If you also carried a house along?"