Fear of Catching Up

I’m noticing – not for the first time – that I have a pattern of resistance to catching up. Or resistance to being on schedule. Or something.

If I write 5 stories, I’ll be bang on target for the first time in this entire venture, and for some reason that scares me. So I’ve decided to write 5 very short stories on the theme of ‘fear of catching up’, in the hopes of throwing some light on why I’m feeling like this.

The Sun and the Moon

At the beginning of time, the Moon challenged the Sun to a race around the world. The two of them have been racing ever since, and the Moon is always ahead; the Sun has never caught up with her.

This is because the back of the Moon’s body – the side the Sun always sees – is radiant and beautiful. But her hidden face is like that of a rotting corpse. The Sun never catches up with her because he is afraid to see her face.

The Hare and the Tortoise

You may think you know the story of the hare and the tortoise, but that isn’t how it really happened.

The hare lost on purpose. He was ashamed of himself for having bragged about his speed to a poor tortoise who would never travel faster than a crawl. He lost because he didn’t want the tortoise to feel bad.

Apollo Flies

At the beginning of time, the Moon challenged the Sun to a race around the world. The two of them have been racing ever since, and the Moon is always ahead; the Sun has never caught up with her.

This is because the race is an endless circle – so if he ever passed her, then she would be chasing him.

Sound and Light

Light travels faster than sound because sound is afraid of being seen, and prefers to stay in the dark.

The Horses and the Giant

A giant went to see a man who sold horses.

‘Give me the fastest horse you have,’ grunted the giant.

‘For you, sir,’ said the horse-seller nervously, ‘might I suggest my biggest and strongest horse.’

‘NO!’ roared the giant. ‘I want the FASTEST!’ The horse-seller’s hair blew back in the gale of his breath. ‘I had a very fast horse,’ the giant went on,’ but it died under me. Let’s see all your horses race, and I’ll buy the one that wins.’

It so happened that the fastest horse in the stables was also the cleverest. He understood human (and giant) speech, and he heard every word. So when the horses began to race around the field, the fastest horse hung back, limping behind the others as slowly as he could.

But then he began to feel guilty. He was sending one of his friends to be crushed to death in his place. Quickly, he galloped up to the horse in front and whinnied in her ear, ‘Slow down! Whoever wins is going to die. Pass it on!’

The message passed from one horse to another, and one by one they all slowed to a staggering trot. ‘FASTER, stupid nags!’ the giant bellowed in their ears, making them want to bolt; but none of them did. As one horse, they inched across the finish line side by side.

‘RUBBISH!’ boomed the giant. ‘I’m not buying any of these useless animals. I’ll take my gold elsewhere.’

‘Quite, quite,’ said the horse-seller, who was secretly glad. ‘I hear dragons are much faster than horses.’

‘Really?’ The giant’s face cracked into a wide grin, and off he went. The horses waited until he was safely out of sight, then they ran a victory lap.

***

Well, I’m not sure if that cleared anything up, but at least I’ve done five!

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