The man who drew pictures for a living was flustered. He had just one day left to create the front cover of a new book, and he couldn’t get it right. On the floor by his desk was a mountain of scrunched up paper; the bin overflowed and he rubbed his eyes with weariness.
I know, he thought, I draw a nice, big rabbit. But he drew the rabbit so quickly that it kicked its back legs in the air and ran off the page to dig a burrow. Hmm, thought the cartoonist, I’ll have to draw slower.
So he drew another rabbit, less hastily, but still it scampered off the page and hid in the first rabbit’s burrow.
Right! This one’s not getting away from me! He drew a whiskery fat rabbit with a carrot, but that rabbit looked at him knowingly from its pencilled eye and hopped away, carrot in mouth.
Grrr, thought the cartoonist. What to do? Time was ticking on, the afternoon had darkened into evening and he got up to light a lamp.
Rabbits are all wrong, he decided. I need to draw a much slower animal that will not flee, nor hide, nor dig. He scratched his head with his pencil. A tortoise! Yes, a tortoise would be perfect. Just to make sure, he drew his tortoise slowly and deliberately until finally it was finished – a beautiful tortoise that would look marvellous on the front cover of the new book.
Hooray! he shouted out loud. The tortoise, clearly startled by the sudden noise, tucked its head firmly in its shell and refused to come out, even when he poked it with his pencil. Now his beautiful tortoise looked like a big pebble. Nobody would buy a book with a big pebble on the cover. He put the tortoise to one side in despair.
The cartoonist made a cup of tea. He walked about a bit. He made another cup of tea and ate a biscuit.
Then an idea came. He would draw a dog. It didn’t matter if he drew it quickly or slowly. He made it a shaggy sort of dog, the sort of dog you’d want to hug. As soon as he finished it, the dog barked, sniffed around a bit then ran off to annoy the rabbits and the sulking tortoise. But the cartoonist whistled and the dog lolloped back, sat down and waited until the man had finished sketching its basket. It got in and barked again, so he drew it a bone to chew on while – at last! – he could finally get some sleep.