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The Hare And The Tortoise Moral Story For Children

The Hare and The Tortoise is a very popular bedtime story with an important moral lesson. From this story, kids learn that one doesn’t have to be a champion to reach their goal. What one really needs is relentless hard work. Aesop’s fables are a common way of giving children the wisest messages.

Origin And History of The Story Of The Hare and Tortoise Story

This bedtime story for children has its roots in the famous Aesop’s Fables. The story sends a message of encouraging people, not belittling others, never bragging about your own strengths but motivating those around you. The story has had many variations over the years, but the core elements remain the same.

The Story Of The Hare And Tortoise Story in English

Once upon a time, there was a tortoise in a jungle who lived life on his own terms. He was quiet, polite and non-interfering. In the same town lived a hare who loved to talk about the very many awards he had won for always finishing first in a race. One day he came up to the tortoise and said, “Why don’t you learn to walk faster? If you do, we can race someday.” The tortoise only smiled at him and moved on. The hare was in a wicked mood. Every day, he would approach the tortoise at the same place and pass the same comment. One fine day, when the hare challenged him again, the tortoise replied, “Alright, I accept the challenge.” He looked around and saw the other jungle animals clapping their hands and cheering him on.

A few days later, the race began! The entire jungle came to a standstill to see the result of this great challenge. When the race began, the hare overtook the tortoise within no time. His speed was remarkably high, making him cover a considerable distance on the track. When he looked back and saw how far behind he had left the tortoise, the hare decided to stop running and rest for a while. He lay down under a huge banyan tree on one side of the track. The lovely shade of the leaves sent him into a deep slumber. Meanwhile, the tortoise ran with his slow speed without giving up and stopping. As time passed, he gradually caught up with the hare, who was still sleeping. The tortoise crossed by him and continued moving towards the winning line. Slowly but surely, the tortoise reached the finish line and won the race. The entire town started clapping for the tortoise. The loud cheers woke up the hare from his deep sleep. He woke up, not realising what had happened. He rubbed his eyes and thought to himself, “Gosh, the tortoise must be still struggling.” The hare got up and dashed towards the winning post. When he got there, he saw that, to his surprise, the tortoise was wearing the victory crown and all the other animals were congratulating him. The tortoise saw the hare from a distance and smiled at him. The hare sat down, regretting the action that made him lose the race against the slowest animal of the jungle. 

Moral of the Story

“Overconfidence is not good”

In this story, the hare lost the race despite being a faster running. He was overconfident and did not take the competition seriously. On the other hand, the tortoise was the slowest animal and yet did not lose confidence while competing with the hare. Not everyone is blessed with similar talents, but that does not mean one can’t achieve a difficult goal. Hard work and perseverance always pay off. It is okay if you are slow, but it is more important that you are steady in the pursuit of your goal. 

Additions to the Story

Over the years, there have been some new additions to the story, that imagine what would have happened next. Here are a couple of events that might have happened after the tortoise won the grand race:

  1. The hare did some introspection after being defeated by the slow tortoise. He thought to himself, “Perhaps, my over-confidence got the better of me.” He decided to challenge the tortoise to another race. This time the hare ran fast and steady and did not stop for a break. He won the race, proving that it is a combination of hard work and talent that help you achieve your goals.
  2. When the hare challenged the tortoise to another race hoping for redemption, the tortoise knew that this would belong to the hare. He knew his greatest strengths and weaknesses and so did not want to get into another track race with the hare. The tortoise accepted the challenge, but with one condition, that this time, he will decide the path for the race. The hare was amused at the tortoise’s condition and smugly agreed, believing that no matter which path, he is the fastest, and will not repeat his mistake. However, what the hare didn’t anticipate was that after running some distance on land, the path led to a small river. The hare lost all his confidence once again, as he did not know how to swim. Meanwhile, the tortoise easily swam across the river and continued on the rest of the track. The tortoise’s smart thinking of playing to his strengths led him to win the race by a considerable distance.

Alternate Story

This popular children’s story has been retold in several versions that children might find relatable. Let us look at a few of these alternate stories.

A Race Towards The Ferris Wheel

A hare and a tortoise were on their way to the Ferris wheel in the centre of the village. The hare kept teasing the tortoise for being slow while walking. “Come on, let’s race to the Ferris wheel. I will surely defeat you,” said the hare as he took off and vanished into the crowded street with many people headed in the same direction. The tortoise knew about a shorter path towards that spot that went through the woods. A large pond stood between the Ferris wheel on the other side and the tortoise. The tortoise swam swiftly across the pond and reached way before the hare. He enjoyed a ride on the Ferris wheel and when his ride was over, there he saw the hare who had only just arrived!

Moral of the story: This story encourages children to recognise their strengths and weaknesses without comparing themselves to others. 

A Race Towards the Other Town:

A hare and tortoise were good friends, but the hare always teased the tortoise for being slow. One day, they decide to visit the town on the other side of the city. The only way to reach that town was to cross it by boat. The hare told the tortoise, “You better be early or else I will have to leave you behind.” Though it rained heavily through the night, the tortoise got up early to make sure he catches the early morning boat. The hare kept snuggling under his warm blanket and by the time he got up, he realised he was two hours late! While the hare missed out on the fun outing, the tortoise walked through the town’s lanes at his pace, enjoyed his day and returned home by boat in the evening after having a great time.

Moral of the story: From this story, you learn that overconfidence is never a good trait. One must always be prepared with a plan to achieve their goal. One should also never make fun of those who you might think are less talented. You never know when they will outshine you with their effort and planning. 

What Do Children Learn From The Moral Of ‘The Hare and The Tortoise’ Story?

  • Always be calm in life. Children should observe the tortoise who never got irritated by the hare’s constant criticism. His confidence and peace of mind helped him remain calm.
  • Never be over-confident. The hare was convinced he would win the race, but made a mistake due to over-confidence.
  • Focus on your goals. The Hare and The Tortoise short story tells kids to focus on their goals and never get distracted. This attitude will surely help them achieve success.

The Hare and The Tortoise is a great story for parents to make their children understand that one should not rush into anything in life. If you are dedicated and work hard, you can achieve all your objectives easily.

Shraddha Mishra
Writer, journalist and content creator, she has worked across several publications. She takes a keen interest in travel, food and culture. A new mother, she loves talking about her parenting journey and watching her toddler play, learn and grow. When not working, you will find her watching a movie or web series, or reading a novel, chasing a good story everywhere.
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