The Hare of the Dog

December 6, 2011

I mentioned before that Bunnykins would tell stories to the young rabbits in the warren. This is one of the stories he told.

Bunnykins looked around as the young rabbits jostled each other to get near to the front where they could hear and see better. “If you’re all ready, then I’ll begin.”

He looked around expectantly and the youngsters were quiet and still.

“Once there was a farmer and the farmer had an old dog. Often he would take the dog with him when he strode around the field checking fences or doing some his of his chores that couldn’t be done with the tractor or land rover.

“Come, Bob” the Farmer would say and old Bob would lift his white muzzle and stretch his grey body in his basket and follow the Farmer where he went.

“I don’t know why you keep that old thing” said the Farmer’s wife one day “He does nothing but lie in that basket, stinking out my kitchen.”

“He’s been a good dog for me over the years” replied the farmer ” it’s his time to rest.”

The Farmer’s wife smiled “You softy! Well get him out from under my feet so I can clean his smelly old blanket.”

That’s how it was with old Bob. One day when the farmer took Bob out for a walk he saw him pick something up and carry it in his mouth.

“What have you got there old boy?” asked the farmer, but old Bob wouldn’t let him see and trottted off home with his prize.

The farmer followed him home and found him in his basket with a young hare between his front paws and Bob licking it clean.

“Well really!” exclaimed the farmer’s wife “What is he doing with that little creature?”

The Farmer shrugged “I guess we better wait and see. He seems to have a liking for it.”

Weeks past and soon drew into months. The young hare grew and was soon hopping around the kitchen, doing what comes naturally to young hares. Bob would look would wash him gently and farmer’s wife would feed him carrots or watch him sleeping in the basket with old Bob.

“My kitchen isn’t my own” she would mutter when in a grump some days “smelly dog and hare.” but other days she would smile as she saw the old dog and his companion stretched out in the basket.”

All would have been well if it hadn’t been for the bedding. One day the farmer had taken Bob out for his walk. The farmer’s wife was washing the bedding her mother had given her on her wedding day. Old bedding now, but she still prized it above all the other bedding that they owned. She had just put the bedding into the laundry basket when the telephone rang in the hall. She rushed off to answer it and the hare hopped over to the basket. It smelled nice, so he hopped in for a closer look. But once inside he found it damp and cold. The bedding wrapped itself around him and he struggled to get back out. So he bit and kicked and clawed and forced his way out. farmer’s wife returned to find her prized bedding in a mess. Worse still it was ripped and the damp culprit was in old Bob’s bed. Without thinking she picked up a pot and hurled it at him, hitting him on the head. The hare fell into a heap, the farmer’s wife shook him but he was quite dead.

“What will I do?” she moaned “I know I will make you into a stew and say I left the door open and you ran away.”

The farmer came home with Bob “That smells nice, dear, what is it?”

“Just a stew dear, nothing special.”

Old Bob went straight to his basket. He looked around and began to whimper. Round the kitchen he looked, searching for the hare.

“Where is the harr?” asked the Farmer “Bob is looking for him.”

“I hung out the washing, but the basket was heavy and I must have forgotten to close the door. When I came back he was gone.” replied the farmer’s wife, “Now get cleaned up, this stew is ready to eat!”

“Maybe it will come back then, if not Bob will get over it.”

But the hare didn’t come back and Bob didn’t get over it. He lay in his basket and pined. He wouldn’t eat and when the farmer coaxed him for a walk he would rush back and search his basket, then lie down sadly when he couldn’t find his friend.

One evening the farmer looked at his Wife “I am not sure how much longer Old Bob will be with us, he is fading away every day. What could have happened to that hare?”

His Wife dropped her eyes and blushed “Why you ate him Will.” and with that She blurted out the whole story.

The farmer nodded thoughtfully. “I am off out then, don’t wait up.”

Several nights passed and every night the farmer said the same thing until one night he came home with a young hare tucked inside his coat. “Finally caught one.” he smiled.

He put the trembling hare in the basket with old Bob, who glanced at it but didn’t move. The hare lay down between his paws and soon both were fast asleep.

Bob perked up again. He looked after the young Hare and fussed over him. Soon the pair were inseparable and the familiar routine began again. But Bob was getting on and one day the Farmer couldn’t rouse him for his walk. Old Bob was buried in the garden near the Kitchen door where he always lay in the warm Summer evenings.

Farmer got a new dog and a new basket, for Bob’s basket belonged to the Hare. If the new dog, Bonnie, tried to go into the basket She was told off roundly “Bad girl, go to your own basket.” With no Bob the Hare would often follow the Farmer’s wife around and some evenings She would sit with him on her lap, brushing his hair.

The hare lived on for a few more years and in the end was buried in the same grave as old Bob. The Farmer planted a Cherry blossom tree over the two friends and in Spring when the blooms were ablaze, he would think about Bob and the Hare. ”

Bunnykins looked around at the faces of the Rabbits around him. “Most dogs aren’t like old Bob. If you see one run and hide or they will eat you for their supper. Speaking of which, off you go home now.”

“Bunnykins, why were there no rabbits in today’s story?” asked one of rabbits.

Bunnykins smiled “Remember it isn’t always about us, there are many creatures in the world, not just rabbits. Now off home Scamp.”

The young rabbits hopped off home whilst Bunnykins wandered to the Farmer’s garden and lay down in the grass in the shade of the the old Cherry tree.

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