The Tortoise, the Hare... and the Snail
Once upon a time there was a tortoise, a hare, and a snail. The hare was always boasting about how fast he was, and the others were growing tired of his bragging. So one fine day, the tortoise challenged him to a race. He told the hare, "Well, you might think you're so fast, but I can beat you in a race!"
Hearing this, the hare burst out laughing so hard he almost fell down his rabbit hole. "Ha!," he exclaimed. "You couldn't even outrun Little Miss Snail over there. I accept your challenge."
The race was on!
The next day, all the animals of the meadow came out to see them begin. At the starting line was the hare, the tortoise, and the snail (you didn't think she'd let the hare bully her, did you?) The hedgehog announced "On your mark, get set, and... go!!!"
And so they were off.
If you've heard this story before, you may remember who won the race. The hare was so overconfident about winning that he decided to take a nap, certain there was no way the tortoise could win. Of course that's exactly what the tortoise eventually did, crossing the finish line just as the hare awoke from his nap and belatedly tried to catch up.
But this isn't the whole story. What about the snail, whom we last saw disappearing into a tuft of grass just past the starting line?
Well, as it turns out, she was having quite the adventure of her own.
After she entered the cool shade of that tuft of grass, she drank some drops of dew still left over from the early morning. Refreshed, she slowly made her way up a big hill, meeting lots of other small animals along the way. She hitched a ride on the back of a caterpillar, played games with a family of ants, and took a nap of her own later in the afternoon.
In fact, she found herself having so much fun that she entirely forgot all about the race, preferring instead to pursue her own adventures.
At one point she heard some celebrating in the direction of the finish line, accompanied by a hare screaming "No!!! It can't be!!!!" She smiled to herself and resumed listening to the crickets in the field make their sweet music. When, a few days later, she finally passed by the tattered remnants of ribbon that said "Finish line," she was too engrossed in her own adventures to pay much attention to it.
Instead, the snail kept going and going, becoming interested in one thing, and then another and another and another. She ended up making lots of varied and interesting friends, and had one exciting adventure after another.
Many years later, she looked back on a happy and exciting life filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. What had started out as a short race turned out to be a journey. A wondrous journey.
It doesn't matter how fast you can play piano, or if you're the best musician on your block. Don't compare yourself to others. Instead, be the snail: follow your musical interests to the fullest and see where they lead you. This is the key to a lifetime of musical happiness.
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