Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Tortoise and the Snail

A Morally Instructive Tale of Romance, Suspense and Inter-species Competition

Once upon a time a snail and a tortoise met in a forest and started to argue about who was faster.
“I’m faster than you,” said the tortoise.
“I’m faster than you,” said the snail.
And so they decided to have a race.

All the animals in the forest came out to watch: the rabbits and the chipmunks, the squirrels and the field mice. Even a hedgehog came out of hibernation early so that he could set up a concession stand selling slugs. His name was Bernard Tiggiewinkle and I don’t think he did much business.

The race course was set up in a small clearing at the top of the forest. The tortoise and the snail were lined up behind the start line. A hare, who was a veteran of many races in the forest, said “Ready... Set... GO!”, and all the animals started shouting “Tortoise! Tortoise! and “Come on Snail!”.

 After a while a little boy bunny said to his mother, “Mommy, why aren’t they moving”, and his mother said “They are moving dear: the tortoise’s front foot just crossed the start line.”

The animals watched and waited.

A little bunny girl said, “Daddy I’m bored.” “Me too,” said her father.

One by one the animals wandered off. The rabbits took their little bunnies to get some carrot gelato as a special treat, and the squirrels went home to watch the season finale of Game Of Nuts which was on cable that evening.

The little bunny boy and the little bunny girl grew up and  left home to go to college. They graduated, fell in love and, after a long (by rabbit standards) courtship lasting almost 15 minutes, they decided to start a bunny family of their own.

One day, some years later, they decided to take their children for a hop in the forest, and happened to come to the part of the forest where the tortoise and the snail had had their race. As they hopped along, they told their children about the day when they were young and their parents took them to see the race. When they came to the clearing they found the grass had grown tall, and the clearing was full of wildflowers. And there, in the middle, were the tortoise and the snail, still neck-and-neck about three feet from the finish line. The little bunny children looked up from their iPhones, said “Yeah, whatever” and went back to sending text messages to their friends.

The morale of this story is, races between snails and tortoises are extremely boring.