We're all familiar with the Zeno's Paradox version of the race between Achilles and the Tortoise, but somewhere I read of a different race between them. In this race, Achilles passes the Tortoise soon after the start, but then passes him again and again along the race course, finally sighting the Tortoise ahead of him, just across the finish line.

The explanation is that Mr. T stationed family members along the course, and it was these--not Mr. T himself--that A kept seeing. But not having the best vision, A was taken in.

Where was this story told? I don't think it's Hofstadter (seems too simple) or Carrol.

  • @Spencer - That was the punchline of Tortoise Beats Hare (1941) - i.sstatic.net/7mDem.jpg
    – Valorum
    May 22, 2021 at 19:20
  • @Valorum Yes. I don't know why my comment was deleted.
    – Spencer
    May 22, 2021 at 20:13
  • Enid Blyton retold that story in one of her Brer Rabbit books. Brer Rabbit raced Brer Terrapin who had stationed his family along the course.
    – Moriarty
    May 22, 2021 at 22:15
  • 1
    @Moriarty - That's worthy of posting as an answer
    – Valorum
    May 22, 2021 at 22:28
  • @Valorum OK, it's probably not correct but I've done it anyway.
    – Moriarty
    May 23, 2021 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


It's not Achilles but Enid Blyton had a similar story in one of her Brer Rabbit books. Google suggests the story is "Brer Rabbit Runs a Race", which I read in the collection "Enid Blyton's Brer Rabbit Book".

Brer Rabbit races against Brer Terrapin. Brer Terrapin stationed his family all along the course and he, Brer Terrapin, was at the finish line waiting when Brer Rabbit arrived.

However, Blyton was re-telling folk tales of Brer Rabbit, and this same story featured in Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus stories.

The eighteenth of Mr. Harris's tales, entitled Mr. Rabbit finds his Match at Last, describes how Brer Rabbit runs a race with the Terrapin, which the Terrapin wins by distributing his wife and children at the different mileposts along the track, and by concealing himself near the winning post, up to which he crawls when Brer Rabbit draws near.

The Harris story was contained in "Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings" (1880) and can be read online here.

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