Hares with bad handwriting

Article published on Dec. 14, 2005
Article published on Dec. 14, 2005

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

The fable about the hare and the tortoise has been used by writers such as Aesop and Lafontaine to underline the necessity of doing things slowly but surely and effectively. Such is its influence across the continent that it is unthinkable that a single European would be unable to tell the story of the slow but persistent tortoise against the quick but impetuous hare. However, the tale doesn't end here. In languages such as Catalan and Italian, there are old proverbs which convey the same message in a different way. For Catalonians, cal anar poc a poc i amb bona lletra (it’s better to advance little by little and have beautiful handwriting), meaning that it’s better to write slowly but more clearly. For the Italians, Chi va piano va sano e va lontano (he who takes things one step at a time will go far, safe and sound). But, in an unusual display of efficiency, the French remind us that il ne faut pas confondre vitesse et precipitation (one mustn’t confuse speed with haste). Which proverb do you prefer? Personally, I like epics in which the weak triumph over the strong – it’s more poetic.