**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


by [?]

“What did I say?” cried my mother.”Take it and put it downthe field.”

Her command was in vain. We were driven to get dressed forschool. There sat the rabbit. It was like a tiny obscure cloud. Watching it, the emotions died out of our breast. Useless to loveit, to yearn over it. Its little feelings were all ambushed. Theymust be circumvented. Love and affection were a trespass upon it. A little wild thing, it became more mute and asphyxiated still inits own arrest, when we approached with love. We must not love it. We must circumvent it, for its own existence.

So I passed the order to my sister and my mother. The rabbitwas not to be spoken to, nor even looked at. Wrapping it in apiece of flannel, I put it in an obscure corner of the coldparlour, and put a saucer of milk before its nose. My mother wasforbidden to enter the parlour whilst we were at school.

“As if I should take any notice of your nonsense,” she cried,affronted. Yet I doubt if she ventured into that parlour.

At midday, after school, creeping into the front room, therewe saw the rabbit still and unmoving in the piece of flannel. Strange grey-brown neutralization of life, still living!It was asore problem to us.

“Why won’t it drink its milk, mother?” we whispered. Ourfather was asleep.

“It prefers to sulk its life away, silly little thing.”Aprofound problem. Prefers to sulk its life away!We put youngdandelion leaves to its nose. The sphinx was not more oblivious. Yet its eye was bright.

At tea-time, however, it had hopped a few inches, out of itsflannel, and there it sat again, uncovered, a little solid cloud ofmuteness, brown, with unmoving whiskers. Only its side palpitatedslightly with life.

Darkness came, my father set off to work. The rabbit wasstill unmoving. Dumb despair was coming over the sisters, a threatof tears before bedtime. Clouds of my mother’s anger gathered, asshe muttered against my father’s wantonness.

Once more the rabbit was wrapped in the old pit-singlet. Butnow it was carried into the scullery and put under the copper fire-place, that it might imagine itself inside a burrow. The saucerswere placed about, four or five, here and there on the floor, sothat if the little creature shouldchance to hop abroad, it couldnot fail to come upon some food. After this my mother wasallowed to take from the scullery what she wanted and then she wasforbidden to open the door.

When morning came and it was light, I went downstairs. Opening the scullery door, I heard a slight scuffle. Then I sawdabbles of milk all over the floor and tiny rabbit-droppings in thesaucers. And there the miscreant, the tips of his ears showingbehind a pair of boots. I peeped at him. He sat bright-eyed andaskance, twitching his nose and looking at me while not looking atme.

He was alive—very much alive. But still we were afraid totrespass much on his confidence.

“Father!”My father was arrested at the door.”Father, therabbit’s alive.”

“Back your life it is,” said my father.

“Mind how you go in.”

By evening, however, the little creature was tame, quite tame. He was christened Adolf. We were enchanted by him. We couldn’treally love him, because he was wild and loveless to the end. Buthe was an unmixed delight.

We decided he was too small to live in a hutch—he must liveat large in the house. My mother protested, but in vain. He wasso tiny. So we had him upstairs, and he dropped his tiny pills onthe bed and we were enchanted.

Adolf made himself instantly at home. He had the run of thehouse, and was perfectly happy, with his tunnels and his holesbehind the furniture.