The Tortoise, the Hare, and the Three-legged Race

By Monterey Holland Buchanan

You’ve probably heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, of how Tortoise won the race by going "slow and steady" all the way. But I’ll bet you haven’t heard what happened next.

It all started a day after that famous race. Tortoise was still celebrating. He was now wearing his racing uniform round-the-clock - even when he went to sleep! He was showing off his racing skills to all he met, whether or not they wanted to watch.

But after awhile, Tortoise’s friends at school, including Hare, got very tired of Tortoise’s bragging and agreed that something just had to be done. "I’ll talk to him," said Hare. "He may just listen to reason."

So Hare stepped out into the school hallway, lined with big red lockers on each side. It was there that Hare spied Tortoise showing off his newly-prized collection of sweatbands in a large blue velvet case to a gathering audience.

Hare worked his way through the crowd and up to Tortoise. "Tortoise we have got to talk," Hare said. "It’s very important."

"Oh Hare, the loser! Let’s get ready to ‘repeat the feat’. I’ve entered the sprint in the Woodland Olympics. Get ready to lose again!" he said and returned smugly to his collection.

Hare threw up his paws. "Aaahhh! He just doesn’t understand!"

Racoon had been looking at the Olympic Schedule and drew back. "Nobody from our school has entered the Three-Legged Race and it’s in two days! How will we find two racers to enter?"

"I have an idea," said Fox. "Hare, why don’t you and Tortoise enter it together! That way you’ll have to work together. But don’t tell Tortoise until the big day. Otherwise, he’ll never agree."

When the day of the Three-Legged Race arrived, Hare was ready. He had practiced running three-legged races with his family and had gotten quite good. Tortoise still didn’t know he had been signed up.

"Come on Tortoise!" called Hare. "It’s time for the Three-Legged Race and you’re in it!" Before Tortoise could say anything, he and Hare were fastened together at the ankles with a big bow. Tortoise frowned down at the race track, and then up at all the cheering fans in the stands. "I can’t race with you!" he scowled.

But Hare had already taken two steps... CLUNK!!! They had fallen. "You lost the last race... THUD!!!" They fell again. After a few more tries, Hare made his move.

"Listen Tortoise..." THUD!! He kept trying to convince Tortoise from where they lay in a tangled heap on the ground. "There are two blue ribbons over at that finish line waiting for us. To get to them we have to work together."

Tortoise gazed across the race track to the finish line. "Well.... OK," he finally agreed.

They got up together. The crowd cheered!!! "Go Tortoise and Hare!" Tortoise took a step... then Hare did... then Tortoise and Hare together... step... step... together... they had it! Soon, they began passing the other racers, faster and faster... until they hit the FINISH LINE!!! The crowd roared as Tortoise and Hare were awarded shiny blue first place ribbons.

"Let’s go to the pizza shop!" cried Tortoise to his pal. The two gathered their friends and off they went to celebrate together.

Monterey wrote this in the 5th grade when she was 11 years old. She was a 24-weeker, weighed 1 lb. 9 oz. at birth.