This week there was a bunch of hoopla over an eighth grade state reading test, stemming from the passage and question below.
… The Pineapple and the Hare …
In the olden times, animals could speak English, just like you and me. There was a lovely enchanted forest that flourished with a bunch of these magical animals. One day, a hare was relaxing by a tree. All of a sudden, he noticed a pineapple sitting near him.
The hare, being magical and all, told the pineapple, “Um, hi.” The pineapple could speak English too.
“I challenge you to a race! Whoever makes it across the forest and back first wins a ninja! And a lifetime’s supply of toothpaste!” The hare looked at the pineapple strangely, but agreed to the race.
The next day, the competition was coming into play. All the animals in the forest (but not the pineapples, for pineapples are immobile) arranged a finish/start line in between two trees. The coyote placed the pineapple in front of the starting line, and the hare was on his way.
Everyone on the sidelines was bustling about and chatting about the obvious prediction that the hare was going to claim the victory (and the ninja and the toothpaste). Suddenly, the crow had a revolutionary realization.
“AAAAIEEH! Friends! I have an idea to share! The pineapple has not challenged our good companion, the hare, to just a simple race! Surely the pineapple must know that he CANNOT MOVE! He obviously has a trick up his sleeve!” exclaimed the crow.
The moose spoke up.
“Pineapples don’t have sleeves.”
“You fool! You know what I mean! I think that the pineapple knows we’re cheering for the hare, so he is planning to pull a trick on us, so we look foolish when he wins! Let’s sink the pineapple’s intentions, and let’s cheer for the stupid fruit!” the crow passionately proclaimed. The other animals cheered, and started chanting, “FOIL THE PLAN! FOIL THE PLAN! FOIL THE PLAN!”
A few minutes later, the hare arrived. He got into place next to the pineapple, who sat there contently. The monkey blew the tree-bark whistle, and the race began! The hare took off, sprinting through the forest, and the pineapple …
It sat there.
The animals glanced at each other blankly, and then started to realize how dumb they were. The pineapple did not have a trick up its sleeve. It wanted an honest race – but it knew it couldn’t walk (let alone run)!
About a few hours later, the hare came into sight again. It flew right across the finish line, still as fast as it was when it first took off. The hare had won, but the pineapple still sat at his starting point, and had not even budged.
The animals ate the pineapple.
MORAL: Pineapples don’t have sleeves.
Here are two of the questions:
1. Why did the animals eat the pineapple?
a. they were annoyed
b. they were amused
c. they were hungry
d. they wanted to
2. Who was the wisest?
a. the hare
First off, let me say, that may be the greatest ending to a story OF ALL TIME. I literally laughed out loud. Read it again. And laughed out loud again. Now for my answers to the questions above. I’ll start with question two, which I think is pretty simple. Who was the wisest? A, the hare, B, the moose, C, the crow or D, the owl. We can first eliminate the Owl since he does not appear in the story. Next, I think we can eliminate the crow for thinking a pineapple could beat the hare in a race. It comes down to the hare and the moose. While the moose’s statement does echo the story’s moral it can be the moose, but because he didn’t understand the simple turn of phrase “he has something up his sleeve” I will assume the moose is quite dim, therefore my answer would be A, the hare is the wisest. Now for the first question, Why did the animal’s eat the pineapple? This is a perplexing one, but I think we can safely rule out choice ‘B,’ “they were amused,” because that makes absolutely no sense (not like the rest of the passage does, but stay with me). The animal’s may have been annoyed for looking so dumb, but I doubt they would eat anything just because of their annoyance. The remaining choices are C, “they were hungry” or D, “they wanted to.” Using the Socratic method or Kantian ethics or some form of freshman Philosophy, I would say every decision begins with desires and wants, therefore I would choose D, “they wanted to to.” I have no clue if these are the right answers but I am confident in my effort.
– “What is this a Trix commercial”
– “It’s the bootleg tortoise and the hare”
– “But, such is life”