Friday, September 18, 2015

Modern moral stories - The Hare and the Tortoise. And a crow.

Once upon a time, a Hare and a Tortoise happened to meet at a village. Being old acquaintances but not close enough to be friends, they greeted each other warmly, stopped by to make a courteous conversation, and wished each other luck before parting their ways. The Hare galloped North, following rumors that a trove of vegetables was discovered about 50 yojanas away. The Tortoise headed towards the river to their east, in pursuit of weeds.

Few hours later as the Tortoise made its laborious journey, it heard its name being called out loud. Turning back, it recognized the familiar face of its friend,  Samaja the crow.
"Hello, where are you headed?"
"Hi hello, glad to meet you! I am planning to settle on the river banks, where there's enough supply of weeds to last a few years"
"Haven't you heard about the news from North?"
"What news? About the vegetables?"
"Yes, everyone is headed there. I just saw saw the Hare rushing towards it. Why are you not going?"
"Oh, that's nice. Personally, I prefer weeds. "
"What's the matter with you? No one prefers weeds over vegetables."
"But I don't like vegetables!"
"So what? With vegetables, you can buy anything. Even weeds! And it will last a lifetime."
"Hmm.. are you sure?"
"Of course I am sure. Do you think the Hare is a fool?"
"But he is already halfway through! Before I complete the journey, he would have eaten up everything".
"Why do you want to give up already? With perseverance, hard work, will and determination, nothing is impossible for a man"
"Dude, I am female. And I am a tortoise!"
"Just because you are a female, or because you are a tortoise, are you any lesser than any man? Are you lesser than the Hare?"
"Of course not."
"The what are you waiting for? Run already. Go through the garden of Aneet as it is shorter"
"Where are you going?"
"Oh, just here and there"
"Okay, thanks for your valuable advice."
Saying thus, the Tortoise chugged along diagonally towards the vegetable patch.

Meanwhile, the crow went around the forest, liberally doling out advice, some solicited and some unsolicited, to all its friends. A couple of days later, it happened to be passing towards the vegetable patch when it heard loud snores from a bush nearby. Curious, it flew down, and identified its good friend, the Hare, who had just started stirring a little.
"Hi there! What are you doing here?"
"Hi, I wanted to sleep"
"I thought you were at the vegetable patch! Did you find it? It must be only 10 yojanas from here"
"Huh! I gave up on it. I realized that my passions are more towards sleeping."
"That's stupid! Who wants to sleep all the time? Everyone is headed towards the vegetable patch, like wise people ought to be. In fact, even the Tortoise must be quite close to it by now."
"The Tortoise? Wasn't he headed towards the River?"
"He was. He changed his mind. "
"Heh, doesn't he not like vegetables?"
"No one in a proper frame of mind ever dislikes vegetables. I say you are wasting your time here!"
"You think so? Where would the Tortoise be now?"
"He should be quite close to the vegetable patch."
"Hmm, then he will reach there first and eat up all vegetables! I would rather stay here and sleep."
"With perseverance, hard work, will and determination, nothing is impossible for a man. And rabbits. Why are you giving up so soon? With your speed, you should outrun her."
"Maybe. But are you sure about this vegetable thing?"
"Completely. You are wasting your time here."
"Okay. What do I know? You sound so confident. I better get started"
"That's great! Good luck."
"And hey, thanks a lot. I owe you ."
"Ahh, forget it. The pleasure is in guiding people to a right path"

So the Hare set off at great speed. The Tortoise, meanwhile, had almost completed it's tedious journey. The vegetable patch was just a yojana away. But the Hare had the advantage of rapidness. 

So, who won the race? The Hare, or the Tortoise? And more importantly, what happened to the mysterious crow? Well, who the heck cares! I am too busy chasing vegetables.

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