The Turtle and the Snail
by Don Ford
I know why you are here. You thought this was about that turtle and rabbit story. Am I
right? This story does start where that tale ended. The turtle was feeling pretty
confident after winning the race against the rabbit. Now seemed like a good time to
approach him with a new challenger. Sammy Snail knew how impossible the odds
were that he could ever beat the turtle. But remember that our Turtle beat the rabbit with odds that seemed stacked aginst him as well.
“Excuse me, sir!” The small voice of the snail could hardly be heard as more than a
whisper. Possibly it was a slight sound in the breeze that the turtle was hearing. Then
the snail crawled ever so slowly up onto the turtle’s foot.
“Hey, what is going on here? Looking down at his left front foot, he noticed a small shell
moving slightly across his foot. “Get your slimy whatever off of me. Who do you think
“Just a friend,” the snail yelled in the deepest voice he could muster. “I wanted to
congratulate you on a job well done. I was rooting for you the whole time.”
“Well, thank you. What brings you here to Clay Pond?”
“I know that I am small in everyones’ sight, but I would like to challenge you to a race
around this pond.”
“You’d stand a better chance, if you raced me across the water to the other side.”
“No. I would stand a good chance of drowning, as too much water is not good for a snail. I want to race you on the ground.”
“Before I say yes to your rediculous notion, let me ask you a question. Have you ever
“No. I haven’t, but when I watched you race, it gave me courage, and I know I can do it.”
Now it was the rabbit’s turn to laugh, and he did it heartily and with gusto. Once the
hare settled down from all of his rolling on the ground laughing spell, he approached the
snail. Look, I’ll be honest with you. I beat that rabbit because he brought that cot along
to sleep on. I got lucky. I don’t even own a cot.”
“I’m just asking for the same opportunity that was given to you by the hare. He laughed at you too, so I’m not offended, nor surprised at your reaction to my request.”
“Okay, when do you want this race to begin and where?” The turtle probably thought
about the second trophy he could sport when he won hands down. Maybe this might
lead to more challenges, trophies, ribbons, and awards, is what he must have
been cooking up in his brain.
“I’d like it to start right here where this tiny hill is,” said Sammy. I’ll climb the hill and you can wait at the bottom until I’m ready. This will give me a little chance to slide down the hill for a decent start. Then the rest of the way we will be on flat ground around the pond.”
“I’ll even give you a head start. I won’t begin until you hit the bottom of the hill.” The turtle was quite confident of a win.
“I assure you, that won’t be necessary,” Sammy said proudly.
The next sound heard would be the start of the race.” The turtle got into position, and
once the snail reached the crest of the little knoll, a Canada Goose let out a honk and
they were off, sorta. After all, how much action could there be between the two of
After what seemed like an eternity, but he only traveled ten feet, the tortoise glanced back. The snail had been left in the dust. He was no where in sight. The turtle kept plodding along as quickly as his short stubby feet would carry him. Did he stop now and then to take a breather? Absolutely not, but he did take the time without stopping to dream about that second trophy on his mantle.
The crowd never saw the start of the race, but were waiting at the other end of the
pond. This was too boring for any of them to view. They were the ones with cots to sleep
on this time. They gestured to each-other to wake them up when it was all over. But all
of them fell fast asleep at the finish line.
The turtle could see the end of the race now. It was just up ahead, and he could smell
victory. Just as he neared the hill and finish line, a flock of birds flew over and
something fell splat on this head. “Bird dodo, yuck”, he screamed as he finished the
race across the line. The crowd woke up when he yelled, and they began to cheer.
“Hooray, Sammy Snail is the winner.”
“Are you all nuts? The turtle yelled back at them. “I won this race fair and square, and
didn’t even stop once to rest along the way.”
There on top of the turtle’s head was our snail, perched in all of his glory. He was beaming,
and was thrilled to receive the award. You see, Sammy wasn’t something the birds had
dropped; instead he was perched on the hill and jumped down at the right moment onto our turtle’s head, leaning just far enough forward to garner the win. He literally won by an antenna.
Our turtle had nothing to say as he saundered off into the pond to drown his sorrows.
He chose to keep his dignity intact, and not seem like a sore loser, like our rabbit