The hare and the tortoise
A sequel to a classic fable.
JB: I originally wrote and published this in June 2021. It remains one of my favourite pieces of writing.
As Star Wars and Independence Day got their sequels, the old classics deserve them too. Here is a sequel to a classic fable.
Once upon a time, an old tortoise was plodding along a path, carrying some juicy leaves for his family to eat. Then his hare friend appeared beside him.
“Hi Jumpy,” said the tortoise.
“Hi Ploddy. What have you got there?”
“Just some leaves. Don’t you try anything, I can see you salivating from down here.”
Jumpy wiped his mouth. “Now now, Ploddy. You know how bad it is for some this year. The least you could do is try to correct the inequity.”
Jumpy raised his head loftily. “I found a book on social justice the other day, and learned how the world’s benefits are distributed inequitably.”
“The world’s benefits? The world didn’t carry them across the fields every day.”
Jumpy smiled and shook his head. “Oh Ploddy, I’m glad I became an activist. You tortoises are all so selfish.”
Ploddy frowned. “It’s tough on us tortoises as well, you know. I need to feed my family. If you didn’t spend all your time jumping around—”
Not seeming to hear him, Jumpy continued. “Tsk tsk. If only you tortoises got out of your old, simplistic thinking.”
Realising it was the only way to shut his friend up, Ploddy gestured for him to take a leaf. “Fine, take one. But you look strong enough to my old eyes.”
Jumpy gobbled up several of Ploddy’s leaves.
Indignant, Ploddy yelled, “Hey, I told you to only take one!”
Jumpy raced off with more leaves dangling out of his mouth, tripping over and tumbling into the path of some younger hares, who helped themselves to Jumpy’s steal.
Ploddy’s family went hungry that day, but he did not stop carrying leaves till his last days.
As Ploddy and the other old tortoises passed from the scene, the younger generation of tortoises learned about social justice and adopted the lifestyle of Jumpy, who became a martyr.
More tortoises basked in the sun, stealing whatever food they could with the help of the hares, all summer long, until there was nothing left.
Then the winter came.