THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

4/16/2018

A fable is a fabricated short story, usually using animals as the protagonist, that employ human traits and behaviors to convey a lesson to the audience. A famous fableist from the 5th century BCE was a suspected Greek slave, named Aesop. Many stories follow the storyteller that make it impossible to sort fact from fiction, but he IS the father of fables as told by later Greek historians. Among his many narrations attributed to him, people best remember the conflict that existed between a reptile and a mammal. Here’s the plot. The Hare says with ultimate confidence that he can easily defeat the Tortoise in a race to dominate the island. The Tortoise disagrees. This race takes place on Easter Island and the Polynesian people living there are the active audience. For the Polynesians to survive, turtle soup is tasty, and turtles are easy to catch and cook. Rabbits, on the other hand, are very fast, which makes them difficult to acquire. They also require skinning and gutting in order to make a delicious Rabbit stew. At the start, the Rabbits are everywhere because the island has no other predators that hunt them, and it is chock full of tasty grasses. The Sea Tortoises, however, have slowly evolved into carnivores because the rabbits have stripped off nearly all the vegetation, and has learned to capture Rabbits by playing dead and devouring the curious little devils when they come near. The Polynesians, being human, looked for the path of least resistance and ate all the slow Sea Tortoises, who have eaten all the Hares. What the humans neglected to foresee was by eating the liver of a carnivore in Turtle Soup, they contracted hypervitaminosis A, a toxic effect of ingesting too much vitamin A. The vast majority died a horrible and painful death of liver damage and excessive brain pressure. It was a stark lesson in ecological stupidity and was instrumental in forming the environmental group, THE SEA-HARE(A) CLUB. 

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