Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Hare and the Tortoise

I guess you’re aware
Of the tortoise and hare
Who had challenged each other to race
I’ll bet you don’t know
The complete story though
So I’ll tell the whole tale, just in case

Hare trained hard each day
An impressive display
Though his friends said, “Just think of your knees!”
The tortoise, called Jake
Spent his time eating cake
Just the thought of a run made him wheeze

Now, Jake had a mate
Who, concerned with his weight,
Said that Jake should join him at the gym
Then on the first day
Jake got carried away
And signed up for a race on a whim

Jake ran once or twice
When the weather was nice
Though he wouldn’t go out in the rain
He’d bought all the gear
But was slightly unclear
How the new fancy watch helped him train

Meanwhile Phil the Hare
Had won more silverware
And collected a trophy or two
But his target race
Was to take the first place
In the marathon held at the zoo

The big day came round
And poor Jake could be found
Taping packets of sweets to his shell
He’d used all the space
On his own carapace
So he filled up a bum bag as well

As runners prepared
The loudspeakers blared
With loud music to help them warm up
They jogged on the spot
And they stretched quite a lot
While tortoise drank coke from a cup

A pig at the front
Announced with a grunt
That the race had a problem or two
A typing mistake
By a quite clumsy snake
Meant he just had a starting gnu

He yanked on the tail
The gnu gave a wail
And the runners set off down the road
The hare started fast
Runners watched him zoom past
Jake set off at a crawl, and then slowed

“Yes, yes,” you all say
“This race starts the same way
As the tale we all know from Aesop
Then hare has a snooze
In the end he will lose
To the tortoise who just wouldn’t stop”

Prepare for a shock
As I try to unlock
The full truth of the story for all
There’s no forty winks
Just because the hare thinks
That the tortoise can’t win with a crawl

Phil was in the lead
And he thought he’d succeed
In a recording a personal best
If you’re in his place
At the head of the race
Would you really lie down for a rest?

The truth I’m afraid
Is that poor hare got sprayed
By a skunk that he’d given a fright
One whiff of the gas
Knocked him down on the grass
And from then he was out like a light

While all this took place
At the front of the race
Our friend tortoise was doing quite well
He’d fancied some lunch
So had started to munch
On the jelly beans plucked from his shell

Because of the heat
Every sugary treat
Had started to melt and turn sticky
He only had claws
Not fine fingers like yours
So picking just one sweet was tricky

They came in a clump
One sweet, sugary lump
So he shoved the whole lot in his face
With sweets from his nose
To the tips of his toes
He'd completely forgotten the race

High up in the sky
Was a hawk flying by
Who was scanning the ground from above
It's eyes opened wide
When it suddenly spied
Just the kind of a snack it would love

Some fresh tortoise steak
Was a great thing to take
To his nest on the outskirts of town
With wings swept right back
He was set to attack
And with no time to waste he swept down

Sharp talons spread out
So there seemed little doubt
That the hawk would collect its next meal
But its feathers got stuck
In the melted sweet muck
And for hawk this was less than ideal

As hawk left the floor
To soar skywards once more
Our fat tortoise pulled off one more trick
He’d eaten a lot
And the fright that he’d got
Meant that he was incredibly sick

The hawk took a peek
At the colourful streak
That was spewed up all over his breast
It started to drip
So, releasing his grip,
He decided a wash might be best

Jake started to cry
As he fell from the sky
He was still shaking from the attack
His luck turned around
For when reaching the ground
He landed, quite safe, in a haystack

He lay on his back
In the comfy haystack
Thinking hard about what had occurred
It’s not everyday
You get carried away
Then throw up in mid-air on a bird

It made his legs weak
Just to think of that beak
And the fact he was nearly a meal
To add to his stress
Now his shell was a mess
The whole thing had been quite an ordeal

He slid to the ground
Took a good look around
There were only two creatures near by
A hare, who looked drunk
Plus a jittery skunk
But just then something new caught his eye

What came into view
Surely couldn’t be true
He was sure it must be a mistake
Fifty yards down the road
Tables just overflowed
With the lightest and creamiest cakes

He started to crawl
Though each step was quite small
Because all his legs felt like jelly
More cakes came in sight
Tortoise gasped in delight
A loud rumble came from his belly

The whole crowd went wild
But the tortoise just smiled
As he plodded towards chocolate cake
But with cakes of all sorts
Sponges, gateaux and tortes
It was quite a decision to make

As he nibbled some pie
Race director came by
To ask how he felt, as the winner
"All I have to say
At the end of the day
I'm glad to be getting some dinner.

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