It was an early spring. The winter had been extraordinarily warm with few snow showers, and no blizzards. Already, flower stems were starting to break the surface reaching for the sun’s rays. In harmony, the bird songs in the morning were strong and confident as if they were beating their chests in joy. And, the rabbit warrens were full of activity as the male rabbits were being challenged earlier than usual to find their future mates. Usually, it would be at least another month before such activity would start and the seasoned males would have that time to compare notes and brag about their last year conquests. However, for the to-be veterans of furry mating wars, they did not have any references to go with - they didn’t have access to their mentors given the latter’s robust rustling in the warren with the early spring.
Buns, so named for his unusual fluffy tail and head of hair, was at a lost as how to proceed. His male friend, Twitch (given hyperactive nose movements) was also so forlorn. The two would sit in the corner of one of the warren’s tunnels with their ears hanging low demonstrating their low self-esteem, that is until in mid-morning one day when Fluffy hopped by with her raging silver heather fur unlike any other young female in the warren. She was from a different section of the warren that Buns and Twitch had not visited in their short lives, and she was absolutely stunning with her hazel, bedroom eyes that only looked straight head as she moved through the warren. – She didn’t notice them.
Buns looked at Twitch, and he back, with the unspoken message that Fluffy would be the same target for each for their forthcoming mating ritual: with best bunny taking the prize. Buns took a hop to the right, for which was his normal orientation, and proceeded down a tunnel that had a path that led back to the path that Fluffy was taking. That was his thought given that he had little capacity for thinking outside of his bunny mind. However, Twitch was more perceptive and recognized a certain pattern in Fluffy’s hopping and mannerisms that he believed would result in Fluffy ending up in a corner of the warren where the young females would hang waiting for the more adventurous suiters. It is important to note that both Twitch and Buns were handsome for their breed, but each with his unique attributes that resulted in their names. However, Twitch had the advantage, even in his short life, of perceiving the unique characteristics of Fluffy by just observing her hop and apparent demeanor.
So! Who will win over Fluffy?
The Right of Passage
It was in the early part of each morning that the young female rabbits would gather at the entrance to their particular warrens, and then proceed in groups of 3 to 4 down to the green patches of herbs, shrubs, and the farmer’s vegetable gardens. At this point of the morning the mist was still snuggling the ground thereby providing a level of safety that placed these young ladies at relative ease. To be able to leave the warren unprotected by males was a right-of-passage that had to be experienced before they would be permitted to join the various lady-bunny circles. To join these circles was believed to be essential for each so as to be taught the mysteries and methods of the mating season. However, Fluffy did not fit in given her striking silver-heather fur but also, more importantly, her demeanor of independence intimidated all. Fluffy did not participate in the morning rituals, but preferred to hop alone to the edge of the brook and sip the cool water and nibble at the green, crisp ferns along the edge.
Fluffy’s peculiar wanderings did not go unnoticed by Twitch who had taken to positioning himself outside the entrance to Fluffy’s warren in the early mornings. He placed himself within a bunch of mushrooms, and with his medium brown fur was nearly unnoticeable especially given that Fluffy seemed to only look straight ahead as if she didn’t want to be distracted with peripheral scenery.
It was the fifth day after Twitch and Buns had first seen her that a situation occurred that could have been disastrous had Twitch not been there. Fluffy with her focused vision left the warren and headed down the narrow path to the brook. The tall-shrub canopy of the path provided an enclosed corridor of green that would not be noticed normally from outside of the path. However, on this day the farmer’s golden retriever pup had ventured into the woods away from the barn, perhaps on his own way to the brook. The brush he went through was a challenging match for his thick paws as he stumbled forward with the resulting significant thumps and scratched nose. Even without Twitch’s extraordinary sense of scent, he could hear the pup in the immediate vicinity, and the noise was getting louder as the pup was approaching the path. Without any hesitation, Twitch ran after Fluffy and soon caught up and tackled her to the ground. She was alarmed of course, but Twitch’s excessive nose quivering told Fluffy without a word spoken that there was immediate danger. Twitch held her close to the ground with his fore legs tightly grasping her so as she wouldn’t move. Within several minutes it was clear that the pup had ventured off towards the brook. Twitch stood up and offered his right foreleg to assist her in getting up. Twitch had never held a female before, and the scent behind her left ear had made him shiver. He was really embarrassed, nodded to her and headed back to the warren from which she had departed and then onto his warren. Fluffy was still somewhat shaken and didn’t really notice Twitch’s face other than his excessively quivering nose.
Once back in the warren, Fluffy went to her private place and reflected on what had happened. Who was that rabbit that had saved her?
Upon his return to his warren, Twitch was still sensing Fluffy’s upper body .... and her scent. Oh! That scent. Early in the afternoon he met with a number of his friends at the far corner to discuss the upcoming mating season. Still without access to the veterans of last year’s furry mating encounters, these young males would speculate about the rumors and myths as to romancing the females; there were many tales of which some simply didn’t make sense as to positions and body parts. Twitch and Buns usually sat together during such sessions, and this was no exception. Twitch already had that sense of romance with Fluffy that the others had not had. While he didn’t understand or could explain what he was feeling, there was no one there with whom he could hold a valuable discussion. So being frustrated, Twitch decided to share that Fluffy moment with Buns, recognizing that Buns had a similar fascination for the young female. Buns hid his envy and disappointment that his competition had the ”jump” on Fluffy it seemed.
The next day Twitch went back to the mushroom patch waiting for Fluffy to appear. After an hour, she had not done so. Again, fearing that she may be in danger, he went down the corridor to the brook. Rushing forward, his senses were not operating at the peak performance, and a slight step to one of side of the corridor resulted in him being caught in a snare trap. While not seriously harmed, he knew that here was no escape. Several friends had already been taken away.
When Twitch did not show up for the daily discussion, it was automatically assumed that he was gone and would not return. Not to let an opportunity to go by, Buns decided to pursue Fluffy, but not to tell her of Twitch’s supposed situation so as to cause her grief and belated sad emotions for Twitch. But, he also had heard from a dear female friend that Fluffy had spent the previous day seeking out her hero, but without any significant detail as to the rabbit’s appearance. She went through the various warrens looking for a male rabbit with a nose with an unusual amount of quivering.
So, Buns decided to emulate Twitch’s nose characteristics so as he could present himself to Fluffy as her hero. He practiced that whole night looking into a fragment of a mirror that found itself in his warren. The next morning, he waited in the mushroom patch that Twitch had told him about outside of Fluffy’s warren. Buns had no guilt about the scam he hoped to pull off. After all, Twitch was gone, and Buns could play the hero, even though he was quite a coward within himself – I mean, a really pathetic bunny. It was not long until Fluffy appeared, saddened somewhat since she had not located her hero, but determined to go to the brook. Buns stepped forward from the mushrooms and introduced himself, quivering his nose at the same time. Fluffy threw her forelegs around him and snuggled with him intensely. This was her hero, she thought, and Buns took no exception. Down the corridor they hopped paw-in-paw towards the brook. It was going to a wonderful day, and perhaps a wonderful life with her hero. Suddenly, out of nowhere the pup appeared. As gentle as the pup actually was given its youth, nonetheless Buns (the pathetic rabbit that he was) turned and hopped frantically back to the warrens, leaving Fluffy on her own. Fluffy sided up to the pup, petted him and gradually continued to the brook with the pup seeking other adventures.
For the rest of her independent life, she never sought another lover. There was only one for her, and she would pause every morning at the entrance to her warren hoping that her hero would reappear. Twitch never did.
Given her individuality and independence in nearly everything that she did, Fluffy had only the most casual of female acquaintances. As to males, her interest was limited to searching for her hero with that quivering nose. For 2 months, it seemed that Fluffy moved more slowly each day through the warrens. She was becoming increasingly depressed with her long, hanging ears now encompassing both sides of her face. It was 2 or 3 times each week that she would make her way to the brook so as to splash the bracing, cold water on her face. It was one such morning when the mist was unusually thick, even within the canopied corridor. Fluffy, now with her head lowered given the absence of her hero, meant to enter the corridor. However, she mistakenly entered a different path to the left side. She was really hopping slowly now.
Suddenly, she was pulled down without the ability to move her left rear leg. She had been captured by a snare trap. Given her depression, she made no effort to escape, but rather laid down in despair and fell asleep.
The day past and she woke in the early evening as the bright pink and orange sporadic clouds were turning to grey, and eventually disappearing all together into the dark blue sky. She could still see the soft white clouds that were lit by the lights of the farmer’s house, and strangely that was somewhat comforting to her. Suddenly she heard footsteps. She knew it wasn’t the pup given the degree of crunch in the brush. Rather, it was the young female child from the farm that she had seen days before when she was in the vegetable garden. The child approached Fluffy with a face of disbelief and pure joy as she lifted and freed Fluffy from the trap. Although small, the child’s hands encompassed Fluffy and held her firmly to her chest as she ran back to the farm.
The child was gleaming with joy and pride as she took Fluffy into the kitchen to show her parents. She placed Fluffy on the floor and petted her while the father rubbed his jaws thinking what to do. If the rabbit stayed, then this would the first, true responsibility for the daughter. The father looked at the mother, and her back with a positive nod. The father then said “ Well young lady, I guess you may be thinking about keeping this bunny as a pet”, “Yes! Yes! Yes! proclaimed the child. “Then place the rabbits in an empty cage across from the ones already filled with rabbits.”, said the father. Off the child went to do as told. It was very dark where the rabbit cages were kept, and Fluffy was placed in an empty one. After several minutes of petting the rabbit, the child returned to the house.
Early the next morning, Fluffy awoke as usual with the reality of her situation. Would there be no more visits to the brook and would she never find her hero, the hope of which was slowly subsiding. She sat up on her hind legs and looked around. Whoa! she said to herself and she spotted the other cages with rabbits. She thought she recognized one of the female captives, but was not quite positive. AND THEN, she saw a male with a quivering nose. This had to be her hero, but the cages were far enough apart that she couldn’t communicate via voice. She had a rising sense of comfort that she hadn’t felt since after her rescue by Twitch. She could only hope that someday there would be an opportunity to get with her hero, but without any thought of how that could happen.
That morning the father came out to feed the rabbits, and then took a more extensive view of the new rabbit. “Jimminee Crickets” he proclaimed. He had never seen a rabbit with such gorgeous silver heather hair. In an instant, he knew what was to be done with this rabbit. He went back to the house and called his daughter to the kitchen.
The State Fair was 3 weeks away, and he suggested to his daughter that if she took full responsibility for the rabbit as to grooming and feeding, then indeed there might be a blue ribbon at the fair for her. The father also suggested that she should enter at least one male rabbit, thinking of the recent capture 8 weeks ago. She shrieked with glee, and went to the barn to get the brush, comb, and towels to start.
It was several days before the fair, and Fluffy was even fluffier and more gorgeous than ever. The male rabbit (Twitch) had also been properly groomed and fed. It was Twitch’s quivering nose that made him so endearing to the farmer, and therefore a possible contestant for the fair. Up until this point the 2 rabbits had not been within close proximity of each other. Indeed, Twitch had noticed Fluffy across the way, as Fluffy had done regarding him, but there was nothing that could be done by them to bring them together.
At the fair, their cages were placed in opposite corners of the show building. The judging began, and amazingly each of them received a prize ribbon she the blue for extraordinary beauty, and he for out-and-out cuteness. (a new category for the fair). At the end of the fair, neither was returned to the farm. Rather, an elderly couple that had a small, fenced-in cottage along the brook bought both of them. Once taken home by the couple, the 2 rabbits were released into the yard with the freedom that they had not had since their respective warren days. First, it was Twitch released as he quickly hopped the perimeter of the yard, and then down to the edge of the brook. There was no escaping. As he returned to the small shed that had been provided, he entered and was startled to find it occupied. At first he gasped when he noted the scent within, and then his eyes adjusted to the dark, and he recognized Fluffy. They fell into each other’s bodies and snuggled with such comfort and glee, that they thus fell asleep together. It had been a very long day.
The rest of the story is as one would expect with rabbits.