Once upon a time, a Momma bunny who was rather lacking in discretion, prepared a nest underneath the playfort belonging to the children who live at House of Horne. The location at the base of the playfort was not so much of a problem as was the yard in which the playset resided. For in addition to the children, two dogs spent much time in this yard. One would think the Momma Bunny should have had reviewed a text like “Make Way for Ducklings” before settling on such a dangerous location to raise her babies, but alas…
One fateful day, long after the bunnies were born, and grown to reasonable size, some movement or noise in the general region of their nest garnered the notice of the aforementioned canines. Had the lady of the house, or any of the sweet children who resided therein had any notion as to the carnage that would ensue, they surely would have shepherded these poor sweet rabbits to safety. But sadly, none of the humans who lived here had any idea that the rabbits had taken up residence on the grounds.
On Monday morning, the children’s mother glanced out her back window to see one of the dogs sniffing at something laying on the ground. Fearing it was a mouse (or, far worse: a rat!), the lady panicked, and called the man of the house to come attend to the situation.
It was a sad scene that greeted Papa Horne. One wee little rabbit lay expired, a mere few feet away from his birthplace. A second rabbit, already fatally wounded, was still hopping about, likely intent on escaping the evil clutches of the fierce canines.
The third rabbit miraculously avoided the dogs and cleverly hid himself between the corner fence post and the wood, squeezing his tiny body into the crevice there, ensuring the animals couldn’t reach him. Certainly, he did not anticipate that the tiniest member of the human family would be able to grab him, either. But this chubby-cheeked boy, intent on saving the poor frightened creature, scooped the rabbit up in his own wee hands, and, quite pleased with himself, held it up for his parents to see.
Once the adults determined that this third rabbit was unharmed save for certain trauma to his small system, they permitted the children to go about making the little invader comfortable. The children begged to keep the small brown rabbit as a pet (to add to the two dogs, two gerbils, and twenty-something odd fish already living at House of Horne) to no avail, but were promised they might care for it until it got over its shock.
E Pluribus Unum, as he was christened by the children, took up residence on the back deck, in a container filled with soft bedding, water, and food, set safely up high, away from the reaches of the murderous canines. For two days the bunny rested and recovered from his frightful experience, delighting the children by devouring the baby carrots they fed him.
On Tuesday night, it was determined that E.P.U. must be set free to live his life as a wild rabbit, for that is what God created him to be. There were tears, video footage shot of the emotional event, and prayers for his safety. In the end, the gentle humans set down the container which the bunny had called home for two days in a front flower bed where they hoped he might even someday return to seek shelter from the heat of the sun.
For now, the children hope and dream that their little bunny has encountered some other friendly rabbits in the area, and is finding a place to call home in the big wide world. Perhaps having tasted of the harshness of this life, he might cherish his freedom all the more, and someday when he chooses to settle down and raise a family, locate a safer haven for his own little bunnies.
And maybe, just maybe…on a dusky evening some day this summer, the children might catch a glimpse of the little creature they saved and cared for long ago as he frolicks and plays in the tall grass and bushes nearby. Or at least, they hope so.