Fairy Tales for Kids: The Story of the Tortoise and the Hare

The Tortoise and the Hare: An engaging retelling by the team at the Learner's Nook

The story of the Tortoise and the Hare is one of Aesop’s most famous and well-known fables. It is about two animals: one a speedy hare and the other a slow tortoise. The story’s moral is supposed to teach you about how hard work and a steady effort can overcome natural talent. In the end, it is not the speedy hare that wins the race. Instead, it is the tortoise who wins because he never stops and always keeps on working towards his goals.


We have written our version of this fable using modern English. We have tried to keep the sentences as simple as possible so that beginner readers can use this as reading practice. As well, the story is primarily in the present tense, though there are sections that require some future and past tense as well. We hope that you enjoy our version of this classic story.

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The Tortoise and the Hare Story with Pictures

the tortoise and the hare

In a deep forest, far, far away, lives many animals.
Two of them are very good friends.
One is a tortoise, and the other is a hare.

hare bounds ahead of tortoise

One day, Tortoise and Hare are going to play games with their friends.
Hare wants to run to join their friends.
But Tortoise is walking very, very slowly.

picture of a snail

“You are so slow!” says Hare.
“Yes, I am,” says Tortoise.
“I think a snail is faster than you,” says Hare.

Tortoise proposes a race

Suddenly, Tortoise says, “I want to race you. Everyone can see how fast I am.”
“You want to race me?” laughs Hare, “You are too slow!”

Animal friends set up the course

“If you want to race, then we can race,” says Hare.
“Okay, we can ask our friends to set up the course,” says Tortoise.
“Good, then we will race tomorrow,” says Hare.

Tortoise sleeping in his bed. Hare awake in his.

That night, Tortoise goes to bed early and sleeps all night.
Hare is so excited, and he can’t sleep at all.

The start line

The next morning, everyone meets by the old oak tree.
Tortoise and Hare line up on the starting line.
“Ready, set, go!” yells the animals.

Hare is as quick as an arrow

Hare runs off as fast as an arrow.
Tortoise slowly walks forward, slower than a sloth.

Hare sleeping in a hammock

Hare runs and runs and runs.
He is so far ahead that he can’t even see Tortoise.
Now, Hare is very tired because he did not sleep last night.
“I think I will rest here for a bit. Tortoise is too slow to catch up,” Hare says.

Tortoise going through a steam

Meanwhile, Tortoise walks and walks and walks.
He walks over hills, across streams, and under logs.
Slowly but surely, he catches up to Hare.

Tortoise passing the sleeping Hare

Tortoise sees Hare, and Hare is still sleeping.
Tortoise does not stop.
He keeps on walking towards the finish line.

Hare running off when he wakes up

Later, Hare wakes up from his sleep.
He sees the sun and realizes that he slept all day!
He quickly runs off, hoping to still beat Tortoise.

Hare runs very quickly

Hare runs and runs and runs.
He zooms over hills, through streams, and over logs.
Finally, he sees the finish line.

Tortoise wins the race

Oh no!
Tortoise is already there.
Hare sees Tortoise cross the line.
Tortoise wins the race!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

All of the animals cheer.
“How did you beat me?” asks Hare.
“You may be fast Hare,” says Tortoise, “But slow and steady wins the race.


The Moral of the Tortoise and the Hare

The main moral of this story is summed up in its well-known final line: “Slow and steady wins the race.” You can read a lot from this line. Whether it is the power of determination over talent. That those who persevere will beat out those who do not. Or, to get things in life, you need to work hard, no matter how slow you seem to others.

What Can We Study With This Story?


Depending on how close your language is to English, the sentence structure of comparisons may be hard to get used to. In this story, we see a couple of comparisons that demonstrate for us their basic sentence structure.

“I think a snail is faster than you.”
Tortoise slowly walks forward, slower than a sloth.

In English comparisons follow the pattern of A is ____er than B.

A fox is bigger than a mouse.
She is smarter than him.
Your room is warmer than the outside.

Over, Under, and Through

In the race, both Hare and Tortoise must go over, under, and through obstacles. Children can learn these important prepositions. Teach them these words by combining them with action words like run, walk, jump, or skip.

The Story of the Tortoise and the Hare: YouTube Versions

The first two videos in this section are English versions. The next ones are in three different languages: Chinese (Mandarin), Punjabi, and Spanish. These are not ours, but they are all available on YouTube for you to watch.

Chinese Version

Punjabi Version

Spanish Version

Read More with The Learner’s Nook

There is always more to learn and practice. We hope that the story of the Tortoise and the Hare has helped you improve your English. If you are interested in seeing some of our other fairy tales and fables, click here or on the picture below.

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