Every summer King Leo holds a much anticipated race for all the animals in the woods. There are only two participants allowed and the names are drawn one hour before the competition. The punishment for altering the results is harsh, and nobody has ever even tried.
This time around the two names pulled are Tortoise and Hare.
Nobody laughs out loud because Miss Tort is a kind old thing, but everyone has the same thought. There is no way she can beat Hare. They wonder why she even put her name in the pot, as she is undoubtedly the slowest of all in attendance.
Her sisters are skeptical.
"What do you think you are doing?"
"You’re too old, everyone will laugh at you."
"Tell King Leo you don’t feel well, and choose another name."
Tort does not bother to answer. She knows they are really thinking of themselves, and does not hold it against them.
Hare is beside himself with glee, and improvises a little dance around Tort as she slowly makes her way to the starting point. Finally, the two competitors are in place. All the other animals line up along the road and wait for Hedgehog, King Leo’s Prime Minister, to send off the signal.
The race is on!
Hare is goofing off, certain he will win, bouncing around like a drunken arrow while Tort, calm and unflappable, takes a thoughtful first step. By the time she reaches the edge of the forest, Hare is already out of sight.
However, after running a certain distance, Hare finds he is quite tired. He stops, panting and thirsty, and sees a stream right below him by the side of the road.
"I have plenty of time," he says to himself. "Old Torty can never catch up with me, I’ll just rest here a minute."
After a brief swim, he stretches out under a tree and doses off. Suddenly the smell of pie fills the air and he wakes up, very hungry. It’s his cousin Bunny, back from market.
"Hey there, Bunny! It’s me, your favorite cousin!"
Bunny stops to look down, and sees Hare lying on the grass. He is, by far, not her favorite cousin, at all. In fact, she thinks he’s a show-off idiot, but keeps her opinions to herself.