Raphael, hidden at the entrance of the rabbit warren, with only his keen brown eyes and brown nose visible to the outside snowy world, realized that his dream was at hand. For so long he had been dreaming about this day. The day that he would prove to the world that he, Raphael, was the Marco Polo of the Rabbit World, a brave rabbit, a hero rabbit, for all the world to see and know.
Raphael was so anxious to set out into the unknown land before him that he threw caution to the wind and hopped out of the safety of the Warren. He was at once overwhelmed by the beauty in front of him. The lush landscape of snow covered hills, an array of wondrous vegetation that filled his senses, it was beyond his wildest dreams.
Raphael hopped around in an enchanted daze, wondering which bush to nibble on first, all of them looked delicious. He hopped over to the Hawthorn bush, nibbled, and then off he was to the Willow tree, with its low hanging branches and nibbled. As he looked around he saw the flowering Witch Hazel tree in full bloom. It’s star-shaped yellow blooms held an enchanting scent that drew him, almost spell-bound, to the perfumed yellow star flowers. His full tummy made it difficult for him to even hop and he wished for a bigger tummy. Nonetheless, he began to nibble the succulent blooms until he was drowsy with the sweet yellow nectar.
Suddenly, he heard the flapping of wings and saw the shadow of them descending quickly over him. He froze. It was the hawk he had seen earlier. It grabbed him with its sharp talons around his very chubby tummy. Raphael screamed for dear life.
At that very moment, he heard his mother calling his name and he called out “Mother, help, help!” His truly brave mother, hopped as quick as lightning to his side, without fear for her own life and bit down on the leg of the hawk still trying to carry Raphael away to its nest. At the mouth of the warren, he heard the cries of his siblings as they hopped up and down and all were crying out his name.
The gray hawk, seeing he was out numbered, let go of the very chubby rabbit and flew off for easier prey. Raphael and his mother hopped quickly back to their Warren and all of them returned safely to their warm and cozy abode. Raphael, now ashamed of his dangerous behavior that put not only himself at risk, but his family too!
“Raphael”, his mother replied, “there is more to being courageous than throwing caution to the wind. A great rabbit once said, “love, caring for others, and the spirit of self-sacrifice is the bravest and most courageous thing of all.”
Raphael now knew that true courage and bravery is found in the love you have for others, family, friends, and even strangers. A lesson, that he, Raphael, would never, ever forget! The End.
Story by K. D. Dowdall, December 10, 2016