The meadow was an endless space of life and love. The grass was long and gained great pleasure from playing with the wind. The flowers stood triumphant and aesthetic, always showing off their good looks to those who watched with envy. The trees were tall and had accumulated magnificent hoards of wisdom because they saw everything. They saw the haughty ducks that swam about the pond in circles with great pride. The saw the moles creep out at night to taste the dredges of the day. They gave amnesty to the birds that weaved homely nests in their branches. The oldest and most respected tree was talking to his fellow birch on one fine and sunny day.
“Look at the wondering rabbit,” he moaned as his trunk creaked gently with a sombre tone. “He lives such a frivolous lifestyle, that wondering rabbit. He has no true home and no true friends.”
“Indeed,” replied his friend whose leaves were quivering as he felt the wind.
“We should watch him; see how he goes, what he does and what decisions he makes. It would be a tremendous learning experience for both of us,” commented the old and sagacious woodman.
“You enjoy watching the events of the meadow, don’t you?” asked his companion.
“Yes I do. What else is there for a tree to do? We don’t get to move around much, so let’s enjoy the narrative of nature.”
The trees looked out across the meadow to find the rabbit.
The rabbit was an excited chap and he always hopped about with so much opportunism. He was grey, lean with soft but tangled fur and a charming grin. His ears flopped down by his sides so lovably.
He would speak to other rabbits as they skipped on by. The rabbit had many acquaintances but no trusted friends. He found to know someone too well such a tedious thing. He found anything but the ephemeral quickly grew boring because he got fed up with other rabbits’ personalities. He found it much better to say hello then hop on away to other things.
The rabbit had no steady home. He liked to move about, to be free so he would sleep in some shady hole wherever he dropped and whenever he pleased. He always thought that to have a house is a great burden because one has to keep it clean and tidy. He preferred to make his mess wherever he wanted and then move on to a new place.
The rabbit’s favourite thing was finding the cute bunny foes to talk to. They were so sweet and innocent with their sparkly eyes and their gentles voices. The rabbit never stayed around for very long though because he found them awfully needy. He knew there was a possibility of him having had many children but it didn’t worry him that he hadn’t stayed around to father them. As a young rabbit himself he never had a father and it didn’t bother him. His mother had been more than sufficient parentage to keep him full on grass and keep him smiling.
Sometimes he would sneak into the neighbouring farm that grew the most splendid carrots and cabbages to eat. This was always a treat. He would binge until he felt so bloated and so fat, then he would go find a quiet hole in which to lay contented.
One day as he frolicked near the pond, he saw a haughty mother duck swimming with her head held high. Eight small ducklings followed her in a long assembly line. She was teaching them to swim. He went over to the side of the water and watched her with great interest.
“Why are you watching me?” she said. She kept looking forward and did not even care to glance his way.
“I just find you interesting, that is all. Those are some lovely ducklings you have there,” replied the rabbit.
“Why thank you, but I do not need you to tell me that my duckling are lovely. I already knew that. Do you not have any children of your own to go and care for or to go and watch?”
“Well, I do have many children. Hundreds in facts, maybe even thousands. But because I have so many, I would never be able to care for them all. It would be unfair to tend to some and not to others, so it is better just to tend to none.”
“That is a very stupid thing to say,” explained the duck. “Look at me, I have eight ducklings, that is a lot of children and I manage to look after all of them just fine. You are very irresponsible and selfish to never see your children,” said the duck disapprovingly.
The duck swam off to the other side of the pond, as she didn’t want her young ones in the presence of whom she thought to be such an immoral rabbit. The rabbit was very upset by this, especially as other rabbits had always been won over by his bubbly charm and floppy ears. He figured that this charm just didn’t work on ducks, most probably because they were so pretentious. However he did ponder over what the duck had said to him, and he began to wonder about all the foes he had abandoned. He wondered how many children he really had, what they looked like, what their names were and if any of them had the same floppy ears as he.
The rabbit left the pond and ran into the woods. He hopped right past the two wise trees, hearing twigs and leaves cracking beneath his feet as he went. On a high branch of the older wiser tree he saw a blue tit sitting watchfully in her nest. She was guarding her eggs.
“What do you want?” chirped the bird. She didn’t like rabbits. They often stole her eggs as a prank.
“Oh I just find you interesting and pretty, that’s all,” the rabbit shouted up to her. “I see you are guarding your eggs quite carefully there.”
“Oh yes of course, a good mother bird always guards her eggs. There are a lot of smelly foxes about who would wish to take them and gobble them up.”
“What do you do when they hatch?” shouted the rabbit.
“I think tough love is the best way to teach them a good and sturdy work ethic. I push them out the nest to force them to learn to fly. Of course I feed them for a while first and wait until they are ready for this, but I cannot look after them forever.”
“Do you ever see them again?” asked the rabbit. He thought perhaps after this she was like him, and had no contact with her children.
“Oh yes! Of course! All my children bring me worms as presents. I have good relationships with them. I am very proud of my chicks,” exclaimed the blue tit.
The rabbit’s little heart dropped down low and he began to think he was the only one who didn’t know his children.
“Well okay, I better be off. Good luck with your eggs!” cried the rabbit as he hopped off back to the meadow.
Above the meadow the sun had begun to set. The serenity of the dusk light scattered gently across the swaying grass and filled the scene with warmth. The moon began to peak out from under her blue blanket of the day. This filled the rabbit with a reassuring feeling, as he knew that even if he didn’t have children to care for, he could still appreciate the beauty of the meadow.
Across this picturesque image hopped all the pretty bunny foes. They jumped about so merrily and so sweetly. The rabbit felt a strong and burning urge to go to them and give in to his temptations. He thought with great duration and great depth whether this was the right thing to do. He saw them skipping freely with their wild and youthful innocence. Before he knew it himself he was hopping over to them, attracted by their gravity.
Then suddenly a bunny foe came screaming at him with a frightening march.
“Where have you been?” she nagged. “Our children have been fatherless, and you just hop gaily about the meadow! Our children have needed a steady father, and you have not been there!”
The rabbit did not recognise her. She must have been a past romance of a gone by spring. The rabbit had been with so many foes.
“Oh...uhm...” he stuttered. “I am terribly sorry.”
She glared at him with a vibrant womanly rage that bunny foes often have when they are angry. He could not bear it! He just couldn’t. He ran away into the setting sun and didn’t look back.
He tried to forget about the angry foe but it plagued his mind. His hop turned slow and sullen with this sour conscience. As the night was coming fast he decided it would be a good idea to find a pleasant hole in which to sleep.
He found a brilliant hole! It was one of the best he had ever seen in all his time roaming the meadow. Unfortunately it was taken.
“Who is there?” asked a weary mole who popped out suddenly.
“I am a rabbit. I was just looking for a hole in which to sleep, but if you live here I am terribly sorry for disturbing you and I will be on my way.”
“Sorry if I seemed rude,” began the weary mole. “It is just there are an awful lot of foxes about, and I have young ones inside who are hidden in my hole. I am always scared that a fox might come to gobble them up. I don’t mind rabbits. I like rabbits. You are welcome to come in if you like. My place is only humble, but you are more than welcome.”
“Oh okay then,” accepted the rabbit. It was dark and he really did need somewhere to rest his head.
The rabbit spent the night with the family of moles. He saw how they were so happy together. The father mole spoke grace proudly at the dinner table then they sat and talked of all kinds of things. The father mole did not judge the rabbit for his lifestyle, because he felt only god had the right to judge. The rabbit normally would have slept at night, but this was daytime for the moles and the rabbit was terribly interested in what the father mole had to say about life. The rabbit stayed up all night talking with him and he learnt about many profound ideas. Eventually the darkness petered out, so the mother mole kissed and hugged the children as she tucked them into bed.
The next morning the rabbit wandered about feeling very tired. He began to question all that he had ever done; his frivolous code and his mistreat of all the bunny foes he had used then left behind. He began to feel very homesick of the hole he had grown up in and longed for somewhere permanent to live. He felt he needed something solid, something absolute and was fed up with travelling from place to place. The rabbit was so lonely and really felt he needed to make some proper friends – he had seen and heard so much the previous day and wanted the specialness he saw the other animals all had.
The rabbit decided to go consult the old wise tree as he had heard before that many had gone to him in times of need. He thought perhaps the old wise tree would give him the answers he looked for, help him get to the root of his troubles and help him find his way. The old wise tree was up so high and saw everything that happened in the meadow. The old wise tree would certainly know what was best for him to do. He began hopping through the grass towards the tree but was stopped short.
The fox had been hungry for days.