The hare and the tortoise stood side by side, and
at the command,
“Go!”, from the fox, they began the race.
The hare bounded along and was very soon far ahead of the tortoise. He called back to the fox, “I think I shall take a little nap before I finish the race; the tortoise will not reach here for an hour or more.” So he lay down in some bushes and went to sleep.
Every minute brought the tortoise a little nearer to the goal. He did not stop for a second.
At last he passed the hare, but the hare still slept. On and on he plodded; it was a long way, but he had no thought of stopping.
He came nearer and nearer the goal. At last his foot touched the stake.
The hare wakened, stretched himself, and leaped toward the goal. “What, you here!” he cried when he saw the tortoise. “How did you ever reach here?”
“Just by keeping at it,” said the tortoise.
“I shall have to sell that donkey of ours,” said a miller to his son. “I can not afford to keep him through the winter. I will take him to town this very morning to see if I can find a buyer. You may go with me.” In a little while the miller, his son, and the donkey were on their way to town.
They had not gone far when they met some girls going to a party. They were talking and laughing as they went along. One of them said, “Look at that man and boy driving a donkey. One of them surely might ride.”
The miller heard what they said, and quickly made his you mount the donkey, while he walked along at its side.
After a while they came to a group of old men who were talking very earnestly. “There,” said one, “I was just saying that boys and girls have no respect for the aged. You see it is true in this case. See that boy riding while his old father has to walk.”
“Get down, my son,” said his father, “and I will ride.” So they went on.
They next met some women coming from town. “Why!” they cried, “your poor little boy is nearly tired out. How can you ride and make him walk?” So the miller made his son ride on the donkey behind him.
They were now in town. A man coming down the street called to the miller, “Why do you make your donkey carry such a load? You can carry him better than he can carry you.”
At this the miller and his son got off the donkey. They tied the donkey’s legs together, turned him over on his back; and began to carry him.
A crowd soon gathered to see the strange sight. As they were crossing a bridge the donkey became frightened at the hooting of the crowd. He broke loose, fell into the river, and was drowned.
The miller was angry and ashamed. He said, “There! I have tried to please everybody and have only made a fool of myself. After this I shall do as I think best and let people say what they will.”