Raphael was always dreaming about the world beyond the warren where he lived. Raphael’s brown nose was always sniffing the tantalizing scents and wondrous sounds coming for outside the warren. There are lots of amazing things out there, I know it, I’ve dreamed of it, he thought, “a whole world to discover.” He couldn’t understand why no one else felt the call of the wild but him.
His siblings, however, huddled and cuddled together in their warm abode, while Raphael’s brown nose was always sniffing the tantalizing scents and wondrous sounds coming for outside the warren. Raphael thought of himself as being like Marco Polo or Columbus, out to explore and discover new lands, except not oceans, that was a bridge too far. He was not yet old enough to learn how to swim, that would happen next summer.
Rabbits, by nature, are surprisingly good swimmers. Some warrens are very close to waterways, sometimes a necessary escape route when attacks happen by predators like wolves or worse, yes there are worse-the flying predators like eagles and hawks. Raphael knew about all these predators. His teacher, Mrs. Rumple, always talked about the dangers of the outside world and taught us about snares, bear traps, wire cages and poisons – a ghastly thing, and not very rabbit like in the ethical and philosophical rabbit rule of right and wrong.
A young rabbit must weigh at least ten pounds or 14 stones, as the British Rabbits would attest too, before they are can leave the warren alone and the reason is that hawks could not possibly carry away, with their talons, a ten-pound rabbit! Raphael considered the facts carefully. He had taken the preparatory time to eat and eat and eat and finally he knew he weighed at least ten pounds! He was now almost ready to take the leap or hop into the wild unknown.
Raphael’s mother, knitted for her children, hats and warm vests for the winter. Food was no problem. In the wild lands outside his warren are delicious Hawthorn, Willow and Maple twigs to nibble as well as fallen apples hidden under the early snow. Raphael reasoned that exploration into this unknown world, is worth the risk, just like his rabbit heroes. Where would the rabbit kingdom be without Peter Rabbit, The Easter Bunny, and the sage wisdom of Brer Rabbit. One day, thought Raphael, they will write a book about me too and my explorations, just like Marco Polo!
While everyone was taking their afternoon nap, Raphael quietly made his way through the long corridor of their warren, with all its meandering, until at long last he looked out at the snow-covered ground! Well, only his eyes and nose. He had prepared well, he thought. This is amazing he thought, but also very wet and cold. Raphael, not being a dumb bunny, knew that with adventure comes danger and for a good long while, he just sniffed and listened for the dangerous sounds of unfriendly neighbors. As Raphael was contemplating his next move, a shadow fell over the opening of the warren, in the shape of hawk wings.
It was mid-day, and a very poor choice for exploring, he knew full well. Raphael waited patiently until the danger was gone. Now is my chance, he thought, I know I can hop quickly to the hedge of those brambles and hide there until it is safe!” Raphael was beside himself with joy. He was the smart bunny and he would have lots of adventures of his bravery to tell his siblings and friends upon his return!
End of Part One – Part Two Immediately Now Following This Post!
Story by K. D. Dowdall December 10th, 2016