There once lived a rabbit, alone in a small cozy den. He spent his time grooming himself with his pinecone brush, fluffing his little cotton tail, and whitening his two front teeth with the best bark in the whole woods. Yet, the little rabbit never seemed happy. He spent so much time on fixing up himself that when it came to helping someone else, he would back out immediately. He was too worried about how it would affect him and his lovely coat of fur. ‘If I help this squirrel get an acorn out of the brush, could I possibly lose a bit of fur? Yes, yes I could.’ as his normal internal conversation with himself carried out, the rabbit would politely back out of any situation in which he found himself.
The rabbit came up with the most elaborate lies so he could go home and fix up himself. He continued to form himself perfectly everyday, even if he heard the pleading cries of those around him. He would shut the small log window on his door, then sit down to brush, fluff, and brush even more. It got to the point where he couldn’t whiten his teeth anymore, and his fur was so silky smooth that he could dunk his head into a wash and still have it come out perfect.
“Goodness!” He exclaimed, “whatever shall I do now?” He pouted and huffed around until he decided to seek answers for his misery. He consulted the forest’s oldest turtle thinking that if he didn’t know the answers to his issue, no one would. “No little one”, the old turtle replied upon hearing his story, “you seek something that you cannot find within yourself. You must look to others to find true happiness.” The rabbit, stunned, blurted out “If that is all I must do, then why have I been fussing over myself all these years?” The turtle replied softly, “My dear rabbit, your fur and perfect teeth may help you win friends and make you look spectacular in your eyes, but when in the service of others, their gratitude to you and the others helping them, if not just you, will make you feel happier than a frog playing leapfrog!” Astonished by this, the rabbit said ‘thank you’ and bounded off back to his home.
Once there, he packed away his special bark and pinecone brush and hurried to the nearest oak tree. There, he found a family of chipmunks scavenging for some leftover acorns. The rabbit cautiously moved towards them, “do you need any help?” He politely asked. “Why yes, we do” the mother replied sadly, “We haven’t been able to find any acorns in the surrounding areas. Usually there are plenty around here! Would you mind helping us find some?” To this the rabbit bowed his head and dramatically said “Of course!” The little chipmunk children giggled at his performance and the rabbit felt himself smile. “I’ll be back” he said, and went off towards the clearing at the edge of the woods. There, he found a plethora of acorns, picked up as many as his little paws could hold, and waddled back to the chipmunks’ home. Once there, he placed them gracefully in front of the door and knocked thrice. He then hid behind a bush to watch. The mother opened the door and cried with happiness. “Thank you Rabbit!” She shouted into the darkening woods.
The rabbit smiled widely in his hiding place, turned, and slowly returned home. He felt overwhelming joy in his heart, and realized that what the turtle said was right. He found pure happiness by helping that family, so he set out the next day, and the following days, to help others in need. He soon realized that there were so many animals that needed his assistance. He helped the squirrels, birds, and deer. They all were grateful to him, and he offered them his help when they needed it. The rabbit is now happy, and proud that he can make others happy as well.
By: Natalie Clarke