164. The Hasty Tortoise

Once upon a time there was a tortoise.
This tortoise happened to see some stone steps leading upwards; he didn’t know where the steps went, but he knew that he wanted to climb them.
Steps are not made for tortoises, so it was not easy.
It took him one hundred years to climb the first step.
Then, on the first day of the hundred and first year, the tortoise stumbled as he began to ascend the second step, and he fell back down to where he had started.
“Allah curse all haste!” he exclaimed. “I need to go more slowly.”

[a story from Morocco] 

Inspired by: "The Tortoise" in Folklore from Tangier (published in Folklore) by Feridah Kirby Green, 1908.
Notes: You can read the original story online

Compare this lovely African American story, published in Southern Workman 28 (January 1899):
A snail once undertook to cross the road. 
It took her seven years to accomplish this journey and just as she made the last move, clearing her from the wheel-track, a vehicle came along. 
"Oh," she exclaimed, "what a grand thing it is to be quick!"

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