“So be mindful of things you do not see.” Little Hop-Sing’s pawpaw always ended the tale of the windy feathered beasts that swoop down from the vast blue. “They have carried many rabbits before us off to their world above the trees. Few have returned. Those that have, tell of a land where there is no place to rest. It is thought the beasts capture us to serve as soft resting places, because our bellies are wide and soft, and their world offers little comfort.”
“Those that have returned to us, are often injured beyond healing, not at the hand of the captors, but rather from the fall back into our world. Most never hop again. Those that do, lead short miserable lives, painfully dragging themselves from place to place, and dying slow deaths ridden with hunger and sadness.”
“Many have said, should they be captured again by the beasts, they would choose to stay and remain the soft resting place of their captor rather than face the slow painful death they endured upon returning to our world.”
Hop-Sing had known of many of his folk whom were lost to the windy feathered beasts. He had not however, known any who had returned.
As time passed and he grew older, he spent much time pondering being taken by the winged beasts back to their world without a place to rest.
With his days primarily consumed hopping from sweet clover to savory grass, he had much time to think.
Many suns he dreamed of being whisked away into the vast blue by the windy feathered beasts, only to return and tell his heroes tale to the rabbit folk in his colony. He wondered what it would be like to provide comfort to a beast great enough to carry his like into a world far away, a world no rabbit had entered and lived to tell.
He often saw himself as the rabbit destined to see the world of the great winged beast, and return to tell the tale. Should he accomplish such a feat surely he would be a legend among all rabbit folk for many generations and his name would be spoken with reverence to bunnies for all eternity.
By the time he reached maturity he had decided such was to be his destiny. He spent much time in preparation, lifting his eyes to the vast blue, searching for the beast that came unseen. Sometimes he would sit like that for most of the sun. This greatly interfered with his ability to nourish himself. He grew visibly wane and was often goaded by other rabbit folk to do what rabbits do best.
“Hop-Sing,” many would say when they came upon him sitting idly in the fields, face upturned to the vast blue. “Surely you will perish from hunger before a windy feathered beast will see fit to carry you off. Think of the bony bed you would make. Fur and bones. They will throw you back to our world for sure, and you would live in agony all the rest of your days! Eat, Hop-Sing. Eat”
But Hop-Sing paid them no mind. He knew he was destined for greatness, and if suffering momentary hunger was the price for such greatness, he was willing to pay it.
The season soon came, when Hop-Sing’s attentions turned toward finding a mate, and it caused great distraction in the pursuit of his destiny.
It came about late one sun as Hop-Sing was approaching the fragrant clover field, that he happened upon a pleasing young she rabbit he had known since bunnyhood. Her name was Pitty-Pat.
“Fine sun, Pitty-Pat. Fine sun for sweet clover, too.” Hop-Sing mentioned in passing as he hopped ahead just far enough to see if she would follow.
“Fine clover indeed.” Pitty-Pat answered shyly before joining Hop-Sing and hopping into the center of the field where the sweetest clover could be found.
“Will you seek a mate this sun, Pitty?” Hop-Sing queried boldly, as he saw no use in hopping around the bush.
“I will. But I seek a strong, fat male capable of bringing me many strong, fat children.” Pitty-Pat answered. “Your spirit pleases me, Hop-Sing. But I must think about my bunnies. How could I raise them to be strong and successful in the fields if they see you, their father, sitting idle, refusing to spend your day in search of the nourishment that is our way of life?”
Hop-Sing thought seriously before he replied. “One day I will be the greatest rabbit in all folk lore, and your bunnies will regret your not having chosen me to father them when given the chance.”
Pitty-Pat did not answer, but rather nibbled at the sweet clover as she thought about what Hop-Sing had said.
As he awaited her response, Hop-Sing gazed into the vast blue with longing. This time, however, his longing was for Pitty-Pat.
He was surrounded in a dream of Pitty-Pat lining their warren in warm soft fur, when a great wind erupted. Before he could even turn his eyes to the vast blue, his captor was upon him. Great tine like talons piercing the thin fur on his back, and jerking him upward.
Startled though he was, Hop-Sing found he was not consumed with fear, as he thought at times he might be. Instead, he congratulated himself on his good fortune, reflecting on the many suns he had spent preparing himself for precisely this moment.
As the windy feathered beast carried him high into the sun, Hop-Sing took in the true vastness of the blue. It was all his eyes could see. Gone were the fields of sweet clover and savory grass. Gone were the trails his folk hopped every sun. And just as gone, was his dream of the warm soft warren Pitty-Pat would surely have prepared for him.
That thought gave Hop-Sing much determination to return to the only world that offered him contentment and happiness with Pitty-Pat and the fine strong, fat bunnies she would no doubt surround him with. A world he had all but forsaken when he was a part of it, but now, hero or not, was determined to return to.
At the precise moment in which he came to this realization, the windy feathered beast swooped below the drafts which held it aloft and when it did so, Hop Sing caught sight of a huge brier bush, bent and misshapen by many suns spent enduring powerful winds. Although cracked and broken, the brier bush extended far over the edge of the great rock toward which his captor was flying.
Without hesitation, Hop-Sing extended both his back legs to the fullness of their length, and with great luck, caught his long furry feet in the thorns of the brier bush. The abrupt stop caused the windy feathered beast to release it’s talon hold on Hop-Sing, and fall deep into the thorny belly of the bush.
As the windy feathered beast fought vigorously to free itself, Hop-Sing slipped unharmed through the thick brambles and made his escape.
On his long journey back to his folk, Hop-Sing stopped many times to nourish himself on savory grass and sweet clover. Though it took him many suns to recover the scent of his folk, when he finally did arrive back at the field of sweet clover, he was strong and fat.
Tired from his long journey, Hop-Sing found a particularly soft patch of sweet clover, and laid down to rest while he waited for Pitty-Pat to come nibble on the sweet clover as she always did at high sun.
As Hop-Sing slept soundly in the soft sweet cover field, dreaming dreams of fur lined warrens, and strong, fat bunnies, a hungry red fox watched intently from his den on the hillside. It was unusual for the hungry red fox to see a rabbit in the sweet clover this early in the day. And even more unusual to see a rabbit- alone.
The hungry red foxes empty belly growled at the thought of being filled with a strong, fat rabbit. He quickly gave in to the call of hunger and slunk silently down the hillside to catch his morning meal.
Slyly the hungry red fox crouched low to the ground and inched toward the rabbit, until he was close enough to cover the space between them in one long leap.
And then- he leaped.
When the now not so hungry red fox, had filled his empty belly, he started out across the field of sweet clover to return to his den. So contentedly full was he, that he didn’t even notice a whole warren of rabbits hiding silently in the tall grass watching his every move.
Once the rabbits were sure the red fox was safely asleep in his den, they hopped into the field of sweet clover to nourish themselves. Pitty-Pat herself came across all that remained of Hop-Sing. One long leg joint, licked clean, atop a perfect snowshoe rabbits foot.
Of course, it never occurred to Pitty-Pat that the perfect snowshoe rabbits foot could have once belonged to her own Hop-Sing- as that silly rabbit had been carried away by a great windy feathered beast, many suns ago. Never to return.
And the moral of the story is: Never fall asleep while in pursuit of a dream.
9 thoughts on “How a rabbit came to give me his foot.”
I loved this. Your description of rabbit life was great. I also loved the names you gave them.
That was entrancing. A lovely fable. A sort of cross between Watership Down and a Native American story. It works brilliantly.
Captivating! And all those fat little bunnies spared. Moral received. :).
Took a sudden turn! What a fantastic tale. Genuinely enjoyed reading about Hop-Sing.
Though, I must ask: was his namesake the chef on Bonanza?
Dang…Here I was so hoping Hop-Sing would make it back to Pitty-Pat… Silly Wabbit. All that for naught.
Wonderful tale, Violet!
This piece is so clever, Violet! Brilliantly written!
You must have been a rabbit in a past life Violet. I hope his death was quick while he was in the middle of his fantasy. I loved the story.