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1001 Stories Collection

The Tortoise and the Hare

1001 thetortoiseandthehare
Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek fable

Europe Animals Fables
1001 , Audio

Determination and perseverance are key in this often told fable from Aesop.


A tortoise and a hare decide to have a race. The hare mocks the tortoise for being slow. He is so confident he we will win that he decides to take a nap during the middle of the race, but the tortoise carries on moving…

Why we chose it

A very popular story – one of the best known of Aesop’s fables and one which is still popular today with its message of perseverance and determination winning the day.

Where it came from

Aesop is thought to have been an ex-slave and storyteller, active in Greece around 620 to 560 BCE. Each of his fables uses animals to teach important moral lessons. Aesop never wrote his fables down, and is unlikely to have created all of these stories himself. The first written record of Aesop's fables came several centuries after his death, most famously by the Greek author Babrius.

Where it went next

There have been many picture book retellings, including Brian Wildsmith’s The Tortoise and the Hare (1966, reissued 1997). A short animation produced by Walt Disney in 1935 won an Oscar for Best Short Cartoon and is thought to have been one of the inspirations for Bugs Bunny.

Artist Nancy Schön commemorated the Boston Marathon in 1996 by making a sculpture of the tortoise and the hare which is placed at the finishing line of the race. Mercedes Benz used the story of the Tortoise and the Hare in an advertisement in 2015. The tortoise wins the race by driving the speedy Mercedes-AMG GT over the hare!

Associated stories

A similar story exists in Native American literature, where a Hummingbird and a Crane agree to race across the ocean. Despite being faster, Hummingbird decides to stop at night and sleep whilst the Crane continues to fly.

Aesop's other fables include The Fox and the Crow, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Lion and the Mouse, and The Boy who Cried Wolf.

Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek fable

Europe Animals Fables
1001 , Audio