How Foxes Got Their Meander, Part 1

August 13, 2020

There’s More to the Story

The story you’ve been told is NOT the whole story.

Do you know the one I mean? It goes like this:

Hare had made fun of Tortoise so many times for being slow that one day Tortoise challenged Hare to a race.

Once the race began, Hare dashed away out of sight. But, because Hare was overconfident  – and because he was a bit of a stinker who wanted to make Tortoise feel bad – he decided to stop and take a little nap.

He thought, “I’ll wake up once Tortoise gets close, have a great big laugh, and then race off to the finish.”

But silly old Hare! He fell so fast asleep that by the time he woke up, Tortoise was almost finished.  

Hare sprinted to catch up, but he couldn’t catch Tortoise. Hare lost.

The moral of the story, they tell you, is: Slow and steady wins the race.

It’s not bad, as morals go. But there’s more to the story. A LOT more. And there’s a whole other moral. The best moral of all.

Want to hear THAT story?

Are you sure?

Okay, here it is.

There was ANOTHER animal in the race that day. And that animal was Fox.

Now, back in the old days, foxes were known for one thing and one thing only: going in straight lines.

Walking, trotting, or running – it was always straight lines.

Straight lines at school. Straight lines at work. Straight lines at the grocery store.

Straight lines running away from bears on Bear Mountain.

(Which, sadly, never worked.)

But one fox was different.

She meandered.

She didn’t mean to, but THIS fox could never EVER go ANYWHERE in a straight line.

During PE class, she wandered right out of the gym.

At recess, she moseyed over to the wrong forest.

Walking home from school, she always took a wrong turn somehow and before she knew it was out having a wonderful explore.

By the time she came home, her carrot soup was cold and her parents were frowny.

They talked to her.

“You’re too dreamy,” said Mrs. Fox.

“Too wandery,” said Mr. Fox.

“Too this-way-and-that-ish,” said Mrs. Fox.

“We’re worried,” said Mr. Fox.

“Who knows,” said Mrs. Fox, “where you’ll end up?”

“If you’re not careful,” said Mr. Fox, “you could meander yourself … “

“… right up to Bear Mountain,” said Mrs. and Mr. Fox together.

They pondered what to do, what to do.

Finally they decided.

“You need a goal,” said Mr. Fox.

“You need a purpose,” said Mrs. Fox.

“Discipline!” said Mr. Fox.

“Direction!” said Mrs. Fox.

“Okay, Mom and Dad. I’ll try,” said Fox.

Continue reading part 2.

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