THE RABBIT AND THE HEDGEHOG
You probably will not believe this tale. But my grandfather told that to me when I was a little girl and he said: ‘‘not all the things that is said at the tale are inventions, there are true parts too, otherwise people wouldn’t tell those stories! ’’ One beautiful day the hedgehog had put his back to the wall of the house and was singing in his happiness. He sang for a long time and suddenly he began to think:
‘‘I will pass by the field to look at the beet once. Till my wife washes and wears the kids, I’ll have the time to go and come back.’’
So he set off to go to the field. On his way he met with the rabbit. He was going to his field too, because he wanted to see how the cabbage he had planted was. The hedgehog greeted and said:
- Good morning, dear rabbit! How are you doing?
Instead of doing the same thing, the rabbit nodded his head and said:
- What are you doing here so early in the morning?
- I went out for a walk because I was bored at home, - said the hedgehog.
- You have gone out just to have a walk?! – asked the rabbit ironically. With those crooked hands you have, you can’t even pass the door step, how can you go out walking!
The hedgehog was offended too much by the words of the rabbit. He always was embarrassed when they mentioned him his legs which were really short and crooked.
- Maybe your legs are faster and better? – asked the hedgehog.
- Everyone know that, - said the rabbit.
- How do you think about a race between us? – said the hedgehog.
The rabbit guffawed so much that he fell on the ground and said to the hedgehog:
- A race with you?! Please don’t joke with me! How come you want to have a race with me?
- Having those feet you wouldn’t overtake me even if I would walk on my feet.
- Let’s try once and you’ll see! – answered the hedgehog.
The rabbit said they should start at once, but the hedgehog said:
- First, I should go home for a while, I’ll have breakfast and I’ll come back in a half hour to begin the race. Just don’t move from here.
Rabbit continued to laugh and said he would not move from there. So the hedgehog left to go home. While walking in the road, he was thinking: "Everyone knows that Rabbit is faster than me, and I was a bit silly and frivolous." When he arrived at home, he said to his wife to get dressed and go immediately to the field. She asked what had happened that he was so jumpy and hedgehog said:
- I argued with the Rabbit about which one of us is faster, me or him! I need to pass the Rabbit, so you will come to help me.
- Are you mad?! How can you overtake the Rabbit?! – said the she-hedgehog surprised.
Hedgehog said she shouldn’t worry, she should just get dressed and follow him because he had thought about everything. And on the way to the field, the hedgehog said to his wife:
- I will have the race with the Rabbit at the great field. Both of us will start from this one side, and you’ll be waiting at the other side. When the Rabbit gets tired, you will get out and call: "I came here before you!"
Rabbit insulted hedgehog, so he deserved something like that. After they agreed about what she would do, the hedgehog led his wife to the end of the field, while he returned to the place where he would meet the rabbit. The rabbit was grudging without hedgehog and asked the hedgehog if they would have the race and he said he was ready. They went to the start line and the rabbit counted: - One ... two ... three! Both ran as fast as they could. The hedgehog ran three or four steps, then secretly turned back to his place and sat down. He was resting and watched the rabbit running with all the power he had. The rabbit reached the end of the field, but the hedgehog suddenly stood up and cried out loud: - I came here before you!
We must say that the hedgehog and his wife are like two drops of water and no one can tell them from each-other. The rabbit couldn’t believe to his eyes and said to the she-hedgehog:
- Let’s race once again ... one ... two ... three!
This time the rabbit ran faster, while the she-hedgehog stayed at her place. The rabbit arrived at the end of the field, but there was the hedgehog who stood up and shouted:
- I came here before you!
The rabbit was so surprised because it wasn’t possible for the hedgehog to be quicker than him.
- Let’s run again! –he said to the hedgehog.
- As you wish! - said the hedgehog.
They ran many other times, the rabbit ran seventy times from the start line to the end of the field. But to his surprise, the hedgehog reached the field first and chanted: "I came here before you!" When he asked again for a race, the rabbit went to the middle of the field and fell on the ground. He could not stay on his feet and said:
- I'm tired! I cannot run anymore!
- Do you know now who is faster? - said the hedgehog boasting.
The rabbit didn’t speak a word and left dragging his feet. Then the hedgehog and his wife called their children and went out of a walk.