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.
According to the article, those two questions are multiple choice (see below), which makes even less sense, since there aren’t objectively correct answers. What if I think the pineapple is wisest? That’s not even a choice. (Fruit plants spread by being eaten, to disperse their seeds. Being eaten is a good outcome for the pineapple. Without challenging the hare to the race, the pineapple would perhaps have failed its only mission in life.)
Even if the answers were essay form, it’s not clear what the test creators are looking for, which is an important part of designing a test question. Although I like E.D Hirsch’s answer in the article.
But the hare had a plan based on a realistic assessment of the situation. He knew that he was able to win a race against the pineapple and he was offered a prize for winning such a race. He followed the path which gave him the highest reasonable expectation of reward.
Granted, unforeseen circumstances arose - the pineapple was eaten before it could pay off the bet. But that was a low probability event.
The moose did make an accurate statement. But doing this had no effect on the moose’s status, other than perhaps raising his reputation for wisdom among the woodland creatures.
The crow made an inaccurate presumption which was based on minimal evidence. But like the moose, he didn’t lose anything directly other than taking a blow to his reputation.
The owl apparently is a control.
The pineapple was clearly the least wise. It must have been aware if couldn’t win a race but it offered the prize. It was the opposite of the hare in that it took an action which it should have been reasonable aware would cost it. Although again, the pineapple had no reason to assume getting eaten would be a cost.