Here’s yet another story of mine. I have a soft spot in my heart for the littlest bunny. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to convince a publisher that this translates to sales.
Farmer Spudbutter’s Garden
It was once that there was a very little bunny. He was the very littlest bunny in the whole bunny family; in fact, he was the littlest bunny in all of Carrotvale. And he was always getting into trouble.
Now, it wasn’t because he meant to get into trouble, but it seemed to the Littlest Bunny, for that was all anyone every called him, that no matter how fast he hopped, trouble would always catch up and tweak him on the ears.
The Littlest Bunny wasn’t just the littlest; he was also the youngest in his family and sometimes he was all but forgotten in all the hopping and shuffling as his brothers and sisters got ready for their lessons or were excited to go and meet their friends in Farmer Spudbutter’s garden.
The garden was at the far end of a lane that went past Farmer Spudbutter’s house and down through the middle of a long, green yard. The lane was shaded by big, leafy trees with branches that reached out and met one another high above the ground.
One warm summer days squirrels played up and down these branches, jumping from tree to tree and chasing themselves along the length of the lane. The birds who lived in the trees sometimes swooped lazily around the garden looking for some thing to eat and in the autumn they helped themselves to the ripe berries that grew wild along the garden’s outer edge.
His brothers and sisters always said he was too young and too little to play with them and he would get lost among the cabbages if he came along. Sometimes he followed them, but they told him scary stories about the big birds that would come to the garden and carry him away to their nests if he went any further.
The Littlest Bunny didn’t really believe them, but he didn’t want to take any chances of carried off by birds so he always went back home.
The Littlest Bunny really like the birds, and knew he shouldn’t be scared, but he didn’t want to live in a tree for the rest of his life and maybe never taste his mother’s lettuce pie ever again.
But today was a different day. That morning, as the sun’s warmth tickled his whiskers and woke him up, he told himself, “I’m not scared of any birds. I’m going to Farmer Spudbutter’s garden!”
It was very hot in Farmer Spudbutter’s garden and the earth felt very warm on the Littlest Bunny’s feet as he hopped between the cabbage rows. He nibbled here and there, just enough to taste, but not enough so anyone would know he had been there.
He had already tried the carrots, which were very sweet and juicy, and the radishes, too, but they made his tummy feel almost as hot as his feet. He really liked the tender lettuce and he even ate a few peas, although the shells weren’t to his liking at all.
He was having so much fun playing and eating in Farmer Spudbutter’s garden that he forgot all about everything else and he ate and he ate and he ate. But he found his tummy was very full and he was getting tired, so the Littlest Bunny thought he should take the very littlest of a nap before starting out for home.
He looked around the garden for a place to rest and saw that the big yellow sun had disappeared and in its place was an even bigger big cloud. It looked dark and heavy, and a cool, forceful wind had come up.
“Oh,” he thought, “it is going to rain. I will have to stay in the garden.”
So he hid under a big lettuce leaf to keep the rain out of his ears and he fell asleep.
But the Littlest Bunny didn’t sleep very long. A big clap of thunder woke him up and shook the tops of the corn behind him.
He woke up with a start and shivered. The leaf over him bowed under the weight of the rain and now he was getting wet, too.
He was miserable. His tummy hurt from eating too much in Farmer Spudbutter’s bountiful garden, and he was wet and cold and scared and a long way from home.
He shivered some more and began to cry, just a little bit, because he wanted to be home where it was safe and dry. He sniffled and tried to hide deeper in the lettuce.
“I should have listened,” he thought. “They were right, I am too little to be out here all by myself.”
Just then he heard a scratching noise. He peeked out from underneath the leaf and saw a crow standing near his hiding place pecking at the dirt.
He remembered what his brothers and sisters had said about the birds carrying him off and he started to cry even more. Why hadn’t he listened?
“What is wrong little bunny?” asked the crow in a strong, but gentle voice. “Why are you crying? Are you lost?”
The Littlest Bunny wasn’t sure what to do. His brothers and sisters had teased him about birds, but this one seemed nice. “No, I am not lost,” he said. "But I am far away from home and my tummy hurts.”
“And,” he added, getting a bit braver now, and sticking up his fuzzy chin so his ears knocked the leaf away, “I am not just a little bunny. I am the Littlest Bunny.”
“Oh, I am sorry,” said Mrs. Cora Crow. “I didn’t know that is who you were.” And she tried not to laugh because the young, bedraggled rabbit under the lettuce leaf looked so serious.
“Do you live in Carrotvale on the other side of Farmer Spudbutter’s lawn? I live in the trees along his laneway,” said Mrs. Crow. “I often see other young rabbits in this garden in the early morning before Farmer Spudbutter wakes up.”
“Sometimes I have to chase them away,” she continued. “I don’t want to do it, but they scare away the worms and make it hard for me to get enough food for my babies.”
The rain had turned to a gentle shower and the wind had calmed down quite a bit since they started talking.
“You look tired, bunny, and I am sure you would like to be home with your family and not trying to keep the rain away under a lettuce leaf. Would you like me to fly you home?”
“Thank you, Mrs. Crow,” said the Littlest Bunny, for he was very polite and came from a well-bred family of Gentlerabbits who always said “Please” and Thank You.”
So Mrs. Crow spread out her wings and told the young rabbit to stand on her feet and hang on tight to her and to not be scared.
"I'm not scared,” said the Littlest Bunny as took hold of Mrs. Crow. He really was a brave young rabbit, and he was with a friend.
They flew high in the air, or so it seemed to the Littlest Bunny, because he had never been up in the air before and it was all new and wonderful.
They flew past the trees in the lane and Mrs. Crow shouted down “Hello” to her family and the Littlest Bunny tried his best to shout down “Hello,” too.
The sky cleared as they flew high above Farmer Spudbutter’s long lane and over the big farmhouse on their way to Carrotvale.
It seemed to the Littlest Bunny that they were flying so high that they would fly right into the sun, but then Mrs. Crow began to circle and start toward the ground and it was all over.
He was home. His mother ran out of the house to see what all the commotion was and watched as Mrs. Crow delivered her tired, smudged and still wet youngest offspring to her door.
She had never seen a crow or any other bird deliver a rabbit or anything else safely home and she didn’t know what to do except to say Thank You.
“You are very welcome, Mrs. Rabbit.” And she flapped her wings good-bye and took off toward Farmer Spudbutter’s lane.
The Littlest Bunny was very glad to be home and wanted to tell his brothers and sisters not to be scared of birds, but his mother was looking at him very sternly and he knew he should wait until later to tell about his adventures in the garden.