This will be my final Throwaway Friday story as it’s the last one from the vault. I’ve really enjoyed being able to show them off. Thanks for reading them and for your kind words in the comments trail.
Bunny’s Winter Friend
It had finally stopped snowing. His father was out scraping away the snow from the door and his mother was busily knitting some new ear protectors for her children when the Littlest Bunny woke from his afternoon nap.
He had a nap every afternoon because he was a young bunny and was always up early in the morning. Most of the time it was the Littlest Bunny who woke everyone else in the household when he sang his morning song to the sun:
Good Morning Mr. Bright and Cheery
I am happy you are here
You make it light and warm and bright
And tickle me, tickle me, on my ears!
He sang this song early every morning as the sun came up because he was a very happy bunny.
He had been up early today, too, even though the sun got up later in the wintertime and the Littlest Bunny sometimes had to wait a very long time to sing his song.
So he had his nap and was ready to go out and play in the new snow when he woke up.
It was crisp and cold out under the mid-afternoon sky. The last few snow clouds were bustling off to rest and refill as the Littlest Bunny stood outside on the freshly cleared path.
His father had swept away the snow all the way up to main pathway through Carrotvale and the Littlest Bunny decided he would go for a hop through the village to see what was happening.
It had been snowing for several days and most everyone in Carrotvale had stayed inside. Now that the sun was out many of the residents were busy outside clearing away snow. Several young rabbits were running and jumping into the big, fluffy piles of snow that were being made as the paths were swept.
“Wheeee.” He could hear them laugh and shout as they as they ran and he heard “Ooooomph!” as they landed in the snow.
He kept going, sniffing the fresh, cool air and looking around.
As he turned a corner he saw an interesting sight head of him. This was new. He’d never seen this path before and it seemed to go to the top of a hill. Maybe he could see all of Carrotvale from the top, he thought, so he decided to climb to the top of the hill to see what he could see.
What he saw surprised him. The Littlest Bunny had only ever been to Carrotvale and Farmer Spudbutter’s garden. This was new and very exciting. From the top of the hill he could see even more hills and they seemed to go on and on and stretch to the end of the world where they met the sky.
He forgot all about Carrotvale. These hills and trees were much more exciting for the Littlest Bunny so he plunked down in the soft, cold snow and watched them.
Soon he began to wonder if there were any more bunnies out on any of the other hills looking at him.
“Wouldn’t it be fun,” he said to himself, “to meet another bunny from somewhere else.”
“Helloooooo,” he shouted with all his might toward the hills.
“Hellllllooooooo” he heard back after hardly more than a second.
It sounded just like another young bunny!
“Where are you?” he shouted. And the answer he got was the same as his question.
“I am over here,” he said.
“I am over here,” came the reply, which the young rabbit didn’t find all that helpful. But it didn’t matter. He had found someone new to talk to.
The sun was sinking very low behind the hills and the Littlest Bunny knew he’d better start for home
“Good-bye,” he shouted and “Good-bye” came back to him, but a bit fainter than before and the Littlest Bunny decided his new friend must have already started for home.
Every nice winter day the Littlest Bunny came back to the hilltop hoping to talk to his new friend and every day his new friend was already waiting for him.
He had a good and faithful friend, but he hadn’t told anyone about him yet. For now he wanted his new friend all to himself.
His brothers and sisters wanted to know where the Littlest Bunny went every afternoon so one day his brother, the oldest in the family and in his third season of bunny lessons, followed him.
The Littlest Bunny went to the hill and started talking to his faraway friend. Soon he heard a noise behind him and turned around find his big brother two tree-lengths down the path with his ears pulled down over his face trying to keep from laughing.
“What are you laughing at?” he asked just a little annoyed that his brother was there.
“You,” said the older rabbit. “You are talking to yourself.”
“No I am not! I am talking to my new friend over there.” And he stretched out a little paw and pointed to a tree-covered hill in the distance.
“That is your echo,” said his big brother. “We learned about them in bunny lessons. Sometime objects like hills and bare trees will bounce your voice back to you when the air is just right.”
But the Littlest Bunny didn’t believe him. “He’s my friend, not my echo.”
“Okay,” laughed his brother, “you can have him all to yourself. But it is nearly time for supper so you’d better come home with me.”
So the Littlest Bunny shouted “Good-bye” to the hills and so did his big brother and they got two “Good-byes” back as they made their way home for supper.
The cold returned and more snow came down. The path to the top of the hill was not cleared again that winter so the Littlest Bunny did not get a chance to go out and talk to his friend any more.
Finally one warm spring day the Littlest Bunny could see the path was open again. He went to the top of the hill and looked all around him.
It looked so different. The bare trees of winter were now covered with their new green suits, a small stream was flowing through the bottom of the valley between the hills and some of the south-facing hills were smiling with red and yellow flowers.
It was a beautiful day in spring and the Littlest Bunny wondered if his winter friend was out enjoying the day, too.
“Hellooo,” he shouted, “how are you?”
He waited a moment or two, listening intently. He heard the chirrups and caws of some birds and a gentle breeze stirred through the new grass, but that was all.
He tried again, “Helllllloooo!”
Only the breeze and birds answered him.
“Oh,” he thought, “he must be busy playing. I’ll try again in the winter.”
And as he made his way down the hill he thought, “Maybe it was just my echo.”
But maybe it wasn’t.