a fable (=a traditional story that teaches a moral lesson) by Aesop in which a tortoise and a hare have a race. The tortoise unexpectedly wins by moving slowly but steadily, while the hare, because he knows he can run much faster than the tortoise, stops halfway and falls asleep. The lesson of the story is "Slow and steady wins the race."
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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