Tag Archives: Aesop Tale

The Tortoise and the Hare


BR: What comes to mind is the Tortoise and the Hare. A tortoise and a hare were competing in a race to see which animal was faster. The hare was so confident that he would win that he bragged for weeks to the entire village that he could win with almost no effort. On the day of the race, the hare easily breezed by the tortoise and seemed like the obvious winner. After gaining a few miles on the tortoise, he even decided to take a nap in the final leg of the race to gloat. The tortoise, however, never gave up and steadily walked toward the finish line. While the hare was napping, the tortoise was able to catch up to the hare and was mere steps away from victory by the time the hare finally woke up. The hare was too late. He lunged at the finish line just in time to watch the tortoise cross it, and ultimately lost the race solely due to his arrogance. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race, and that arrogance can be your downfall.


BR: The first time I remember hearing this story was in first grade. My teacher read this story to our class as we sat and listened on the alphabet carpet. I have since heard many renditions, and think that the story’s central message is a valuable one. 


The Tortoise and the Hare is one of the oldest fairy tales, going as far back as 400 B.C. and is reportedly part of Aesop’s fables. Most of these stories feature animal characters that undergo some kind of trial or adventure and the story provides a moral lesson. In this case, the lesson is that being slow and steady is the way to victory. I’ve heard people say that it isn’t true that going slow and steady is better, that the hare would have run the race if it didn’t fall asleep. So perhaps the moral of the story is more that being arrogant and overconfident can cost you.

Aesop Tales

Interviewer: What is being performed?


Informant: We have our own series of ‘Aesop Tale’ like folk stories and stories with moral lessons. By Jacqueline Jung


Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?


 Informant: I like these pieces because having exposure to Western and Eastern stories- it’s so interesting to see the cross over of  ‘moral lessons’ (air quotes) or the emphasis of compassion or community. I learned of these stories when I moved to Korea.


Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?


Informant: South Korea. (but born and raised in the US)


Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?


Informant: Not tied to a specific religion but they are Korean folktales.


Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?


Informant: When I was living in Korea, moved there in 2006 and when I was learning the language, reading various folktale books.


Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?


Informant: I think very similar to Aesop. They were developed as stories for kids to be compassionate and hardworking.


Interviewer: What does it mean to you?


Informant: They are very sweet stories. I find them particularly fascinating because they have really similar aspects with tales like Cinderella, The Ant and the Grasshopper and other Western Folktales.


Context of the performance– conversation with classmate before class


Thoughts about the piece– Reading a children’s book to learn a language is common and this exposure to cultural beliefs seems to have another purpose, to teach about societal values through story at a young age or to an immigrant. You can read a version of the Korean Ant and the Grasshopper here: http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2015/6/28/the-goblin-treasure-a-korean-folktale