One day a little bear, whom everyone called Misha, was walking in the forest. He hummed as he walked, hopped here and there, watched the squirrels in the trees and when there was a big stick on the forest path, he put it aside. He liked these walks very much. He walked at his own pace. Sometimes he rested in the moss and enjoyed the pleasant peace that was in the woods. One day when Mickey was sitting by a tree during a walk like this, something surprised him.
“Watch out, get out of my way.” Someone called from a distance. Mickey stood up and looked around and saw a rabbit approaching him. He was running at an incredible speed. Dust and tiny pine needles swirled around his hind paws. Mickey jumped to the side and the hare just whizzed past him. In a few minutes it happened again. The hare ran past the bear again, so fast that his head spun.
By the time he ran for the third time, Mickey called him from a distance: “Wait, stop, please. I want to ask you something.” The rabbit stopped, panting, and looked at Mickey. “Why are you so shy? Is someone chasing you?” Mickey asked, curious and worried. The hare just smiled and explained, “No Mickey, I’m training. I must keep fat. Next week is the forest race. And I’d like to win. Anyone from the forest can take part. You must run several laps around the forest path.”
“Keep fat?” Mickey asked, puzzled. “That’s what they say when you want to be good and fast at a sport.” Replied the rabbit. “Oh, you mean fit.” Mickey smiled and continued, “Are you saying anyone can participate? I could do that too?” “Sure, you could. But you’d have to train a lot.” The rabbit replied, looking at the slightly chubby teddy bear.
From then on, Mickey thought of nothing else. He knew he was rounder and had no kettle, as the hare had said, but he wanted to try. Even if he was last, he wanted to at least run those few laps. So he set about training. He ran every day. Slowly at first. Eventually, he picked up the pace a little. He was enjoying himself and having fun.
Until one day, the big day came. The day of the race. All the racers lined up at the starting line. Almost everyone was right next to each other. The rabbits, the wolves, the squirrels and last in line, Mickey the bear. The others looked at him in disbelief. Now and then someone made a joke that a racer with such a tummy should stay at home. But Mickey didn’t care.
And then the race started. Everybody started running. Everybody was right up front. Mickey was last, but he didn’t mind. He kept running. He knew he could do it. But on the last lap, something surprised him.
There was a rabbit in the grass next to the race track. He fell during the race and broke his leg. But no one helped him. Some were already at the finish line and some ran so fast they didn’t even notice him. The bear did not hesitate and ran to the hare. He picked him up in his paws and carried him to the finish line so that someone could treat him. When the others saw Mickey coming to the finish line carrying the injured rabbit, they all started clapping. Even those who mocked him were ashamed.
Mickey preferred to save his friend than to win or finish the race. Although he was last, he was a hero. At the end of the race, four medals were handed. For first, second and third place and a medal for the best racer. That one went to Mickey.