Jonathan Tests His Speed

Jonathan Tests his Speed
Chapter 3 from the story
Jonathan the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
A children’s fable by Jan Luthman

Old Mrs Spider smiled, and pointed to a tree on the other side of the clearing. “See how fast you can run over there.”

Jonathan The Snail
Jonathan The Snail

Jonathan was just about to say that he couldn’t run anywhere when, all of a sudden, he felt like he really could. He gave a little hop of excitement then, with a puff of dust, shot off across the clearing in a blur of speed, straight towards the tree.

Robbit couldn’t believe his eyes.

Robbit The Rabbit
Robbit The Rabbit

“Wow!” He breathed. Robbit had never, ever seen anybody move that fast.

“Wow!” He breathed again, ” Jonathan the high speed snail!”

Away across on the other side of the clearing, Jonathan slithered to a halt beside the tree, breathing deeply. He felt wonderful.

“Now run back here again,” Called old Mrs Spider.

Jonathan took a deep breath and, in a cloud of leaves and twigs and dust, zipped back across the clearing towards Robbit and old Mrs Spider.

“Watch out, Jonathan!” Yelled Robbit.

It was too late. With a tremendous crash, Jonathan piled headfirst into a huge bush. There was a moment of silence, then Jonathan slid slowly and unsteadily out from under the branches.

“Oooh, my goodness,” He breathed, “Things do rather rush at you, don’t they?”

” Ahem,” Coughed Robbit, “That bush didn’t rush at you: you rushed at it.”

Jonathan looked rather proud of himself

“Yes, I did rather, didn’t I?” He smiled happily. He took off his spectacles and began wiping blobs of mud off them.

Robbit gazed at his friend with new-found admiration.

Jonathan put his glasses back on again,

“That was exciting,” He said, peering up at Robbit through mud-smeered lenses, “I think I’ll do it again.”

“Hang on a mo,” Called Robbit, “You need some practice first.”

But Jonathan wasn’t listening. He gave a quick little hop and roared off round the clearing, his shell glinting in the sunlight as he sped across the grass.

“Oh, no,” Robbit sighed, and put his paws over his eyes, “I can’t watch.”

There was a despairing wail and a skidding noise followed by a loud thump.

Robbit uncovered his eyes and looked. There, on the far side of the clearing, lay Jonathan, his shell on one side in the mud. Old Mrs Spider chortled with delight. Robbit ran over and began to hoist his friend back upright again.

“What happened?” Asked Robbit, wiping the worst of the mud and leaves off Jonathan’s shell.

“I fell over,” Said Jonathan indignantly, “When I tried to turn, I fell over.”

Robbit tapped his feet impatiently.

“If you really want to run fast, and chase those bullies,” He said, his paws on his hips, “You’re going to have to learn how to steer properly.”

Jonathan scratched his head

“That’s easy for you to say,” He answered, “You’ve always been a rabbit. But I’ve always been a snail. Besides, I wear glasses, so things sometimes arrive before I see them.”

Robbit thought for a bit. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers.

“I’ve got it!” He exclaimed.

“Got what?” Jonathan was puzzled.

“The answer!” Robbit was hopping up and down with excitement, “We could use Andrew!”

“Andrew?” Queried Old Mrs Spider.

“Andy,” Explained Robbit, “Andy the ant.”

Andy The Ant
Andy The Ant

“How could he help?” Asked Jonathan.

“Easy,” Said Robbit, “Andy’s got the sharpest eyes of anybody in the meadow, and he’s tiny: he could sit on your shell and tell you which direction to go.”

It seemed like a brilliant idea.

“Come on,” Robbit bounced off down the path, “Let’s go find him.”

Jonathan sped after him, Old Mrs Spider at his side, her dark green bottle clutched in one hand. She was so excited, she had quite forgotten her aches and pains. As she bowled along along between the two friends, Old Mrs Spider thought to herself that she hadn’t run like this since she was a girl. This was fun.

Go to Chapter 4 of this story of
Jonathan, the Fastest Snail in the Meadow
Jonathan Learns To Steer