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Messages and morals | Reading

Morals are lessons about how to treat other people. Many stories have these lessons embedded in them. Let's learn how to dig them out!

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Hello, readers. Today I'd like to talk to you about The Moral of the Story. Which story? Well, we'll get to that. First, what is a moral? It's a lesson, usually about how you're supposed to treat other people. I think that we can say that if a story has a moral, it's trying to teach you how to be a good person. "Aesop's Fables" are full of these. There's the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare", which I'll tell you very quickly, if you're unfamiliar. The slow loving tortoise and the speedy hare have a foot race. And the hare is so sure that she'll beat the tortoise, that she stops to take a nap during the race. Meanwhile, the tortoise slowly and steadily continues onwards, and crosses the finish line, while the hare is sleeping. That's confetti, as the tortoise crosses the finish line. The moral of the story is, slow and steady wins the race. You can beat an overconfident person, even if they're more talented than you, if you try really hard and take it slow but steady. But it's not just old stories from ancient Greece that have morals. The stories around us are full of lessons about how to treat one another. So, how do you figure out what the moral of a story is? Good question. One way to do it is to ask yourself what the problem of the story is, or how the problem was solved. From the hare's perspective, the problem in "The Tortoise and the Hare" is that she lost the race. What could she have done to avoid that happening? Well, she probably shouldn't have stopped to take a nap. From the tortoise's perspective, the problem is solved. He won the race. And how did he do that? By maintaining a slow, steady pace for the whole race. And then you take that lesson that the characters learned and you say, "Okay, so this is true for everyone". It's not just that hares should make sure not to nap during foot races, it's that people who are good at stuff shouldn't get so confident about their skills that they don't try as hard. The hare is really good at running quickly, so she thinks she doesn't need to try so hard against a tortoise. Because that is what morals do, they are lessons in stories that we can apply to our lives. What's true for the hare and what's true for the tortoise are true for you and me, because those stories were invented to teach people stories, not just tortoises and hares. You can learn anything. David out.