Short Story: “The Tortoise with No Hare”

I wrote this story a few years ago, and thought it might be fun to post again. Hope you enjoy it.

“The Tortoise with No Hare”
by J.Watson

This is a story, just a story. But as you know, most stories have a moral.

There is a lot we do not know about turtles. Some things have been blown out of proportion; some things have been covered up. This is my attempt to allow the truth to be known. I want to blow the shell off of this secret so the world may know… names and exact places have been changed to protect the innocent.

Have you ever wondered why so many Turtles have attempted to cross the highway? They are in training. The whole tortoise and hare fairy tale is based in fact. Actually the only fact is the tortoise. No bunny has ever raced in our spectacular event. But yes, there is a race. My name is Colby, I am a hard shell, and this is my story.

If you examine a turtle, it is evident to the eye, that our legs are not what you would call lanky, nor do we ripple with the muscles of a thoroughbred, but one thing has been missed by all of creation. We are aerodynamic. From Bicycle helmets to Volkswagen Beetles, scientists create in our image.

For every tortoise, at the appointed age, must travel a great distance and compete in the Tort-athalon. All hard shells must compete- but only one time. All hard shells must travel great distances to make the race… but some are defeated upon the highways and intersections of busy giants in busy machines too busy to see the little things in life. This is something I have known since I can remember. We know the cost- but our shelltegrity is on the line. Everyone must compete in the Tort-athalon.

My journey to the race is a whole other story in itself. The very fact that I am writing this proves I made it, do not fear. I walked a long way, there was tremendous danger, I hid in my shell, blah blah, and I’m at the race. This is not the intriguing part of this story. The intrigue lies within the race.

No one is allowed to go to the race to watch or cheer. I went alone; those are the rules. Yes, there are rules; I was taught them from birth. We had to write them on the inside of our shell.

As I entered Turtle-opolis, I had never seen so many hard shells in my life. You will not find this on a map- because no one knows it exists. It is a huge mountain, with tunnels and slopes within. On the outside, Giant faces have been carved to show us the way; there are four of them to be exact. Everyone has ideas of who we think they are, I think they are turtle forefathers, who have pioneered our race. I entered through the nose of the one Giant with glasses and a goofy grin- my father had told me exactly what to do.

After check-in, and getting my number, and signing a medical release form, I was placed in a small room, with 50 turtles standing shell to shell. This wrinkled little hard shell stood in front of the room and began roll call. As names and shell dates were called out, I sized up the competition.

I noticed one tort with water bottles jetting out of his shell with a little sippy straw going to his mouth. I someone else with tattoos of flames all over his legs and tail. But everyone was staring at one tort in particular. I didn’t catch his name, but we all knew he was a snapper from distant lands known for its champions. Someone went to shake his hand and slipped off of him because of the abundance of turtle wax he had covered himself in. This group was intimidating to say the least.

“OK, I know everybody knows the rules”, the ancient turtle mumbled, “But- let’s have a quick recap. 1. Finish the race. 2. Stay on the course laid out before you. 3. Do not do anything to hinder other racers…” We could recite each of these rules. Truthfully, I wasn’t paying attention; my mind was solely on winning.

We were escorted to the starting line. The tort-atholon Governor bellowed from his perch at the top of inside of the Mountain. “100 miles of slopes and turns are set out before you. Remember, your tort-tegrity, and shell-aracter are on the line in this race. You will be forever remembered for how you finish.”

100 miles seems like a lifetime for a tortoise, and it is a lot farther than Giant people miles, but fortunately it was all downhill. We all lined up- there were thousands all around me ready to start this journey for the first and last time. Turtle wax and flame tattoo were elbowing for position as the flags dropped and the race began.

I won’t bother you with the swooshes, and curves and turns that I took from inside my shell. This race is not on foot, you use your feet, but this is a shell race- a bobsled race of sorts. Yes, I used my feet for brakes and my tail as a directional rudder, and it was all quite fascinating. 100 miles seemed like a blur of twists and turns. I placed 25th out of 2,023. Although some might be pleased with such a finish- I was devastated.

Then the news came. No one had ever raced before, or knew what to expect. There was no platform for the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place finisher. No paparazzi taking pictures, only a long line with the race governor at the front talking with each competitor. Since I did finish 25th it wasn’t long before I could hear the questions he was asking. “Did you finish the race? Did you follow the rules?”

“You Won.”

From 1 to 2023, every turtle that finished the race and followed the rules was treated as a champion.

I cannot express to you the emotions that swept over me that evening. I remembered reading over the rules and realizing that nothing was ever said about coming in 1st place. 1. Finish the race. 2. Stay on the course set out before you. 3. Do not do anything to hinder other racers.

When I made it back to Turtleham, I found my father waiting outside. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Did you finish the race?” “Yes Father”. “Did you follow the rules.” “Yes Father.” “Then you are my Champion.”

The End.

Joshua 1:6-9
JOS 1:6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”


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