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I have been doing a slight rewrite of some Aesop’s Fables to make them more sensible to me and the modern public. Here is The Hare and the Tortoise (Perry 226) as rendered by Joseph Jacobs in 1894:Aesop_Hare and tortoiseAesop_Hare and tortoise_Every intelligent child will see the moral lesson Plodding wins the race is obvious nonsense, meant to challenge their good sense. It wasn’t the skill or plodding of the tortoise that won the race; it was the foolishness and sloth of the Hare that lost the race. Plodding dedication toward a goal will often get one where they want to go, but sloth will almost always come out the loser in any goal-directed activity. Another conclusion passed over in that published moral lesson was that bragging sets one up for failure.  The Hare starts right off boasting of his speed but forgets his shortcomings, and it is those that bring about his downfall.

Perhaps better moral lessons from this fable would be:

Those sleeping on the job will soon lose their job.

Consistent work brings consistent rewards.

Avoid games where, win or lose, you are a fool.

Choose games where, win or lose, you are a champion.

Use your abilities to best effect, and cover your failings with equal vigor.