Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 13, 2000

Every bunny's mother knows best


This is a story about four little rabbits: a mother rabbit and her three bunny children, James, Jane, and June.

The rabbit family lived in a big hole under a big barn on a dairy farm. This was a very nice place to live, as the rabbits were able to find plenty of grain in the barn to eat so they never had to go out to look for their dinner.

There was also plenty of hay and straw in the barn to keep the rabbits nice and warm.

When the little rabbits went out to play, they immediately ran over by the farmhouse where there was sure to be some fresh potato or carrot peelings to eat. Jim would eat as much of the potato and carrot peelings as he could, then he would run back to the barn and eat some grain for supper, too.

Before long, Jim became so fat that he could hardly fit through the rabbit hole. When his mother told him not to eat so much, he said, "Oh, I'm not so fat. I'm just very furry."

One day, when the little rabbits woke up and looked out of the rabbit hole, they discovered that it was snowing. It was windy, too, and the snow was blowing all around.

"Children, you may not go outside to play today," Mother Rabbit said, "It is snowing and blowing and very cold. You may play in the barn but you may not go outside."

Jim wanted to go up by the farmhouse to look for carrot peelings.

"Please, Mother?" he begged.

"No, absolutely not," Mother Rabbit said. "There is plenty of food right here in the barn for you."

So Jim decided to go into the barn to search for a snack.

"Do you want to go with me?" he asked his sisters.

"No way," his sisters said. "We are going to stay inside where it is nice and warm."

So Jim squeezed out of the rabbit hole and went running off into the barn.

Meanwhile, Mother Rabbit set to work filling a pan with grain from the barn so they would have plenty of food to eat if they were snowed in for a few days.

Mother Rabbit hopped over to the grain pile, filled her mouth up with as much grain as she could carry, and hopped back into the rabbit burrow to put the grain in the pan. Back and forth she went, and soon there was enough grain stored to last the rabbit family three days.

Jane and June got bored sitting in the rabbit hole all afternoon. They decided to go into the barn to play with Jim.

They ran around by the baby cows and down the middle of the barn. They played with the baby kittens and drank some of the milk the farmer had left for the kittens to drink. They had a very good time.

But, the little rabbits could not find their brother anywhere. One of the kittens told them that he thought he saw Jim run outside when the farmer left the barn door open.

Jane and June ran to the open door. It was still snowing, but they couldn't see Jim anywhere.

Just then, the farmer came back to the barn with his son. He was carrying something in his arms.

The rabbit sisters quickly ran and hid behind a big hay bale.

"Let's wrap him up in a big sack," they heard the farmer say. "I see Ol' Bessie is lying down. Let's put him by her. Her body heat will help to warm him up. I hope its not too late."

June and Jane peeked around the hay bale. They saw the farmer lay their brother down next to the cow. Jim was lying very still.

The little rabbits looked at each other. Then they ran home as fast as they could.

When Mother asked them where Jim was, they didn't know what to tell her.

"I'm sure Jim will be home later," June said.

Mother Rabbit made the girls a nice lunch, but the little rabbits didn't feel much like eating.

"We're not very hungry," Jane told her. "We drank some of the kitten's milk earlier, and now we are full. Can we go back to the barn and see what the kittens are doing?"

"All right," Mother said, "And tell Jim to come home for his lunch."

So Jane and June went back to the barn. They ran to where the cows were to look for their brother. They were happy to find that Jim was awake. He didn't look very good, though. He was very wet and very cold.

"You better go home, Jim," Jane said. "Mother is looking for you."

So Jim went home. When his mother saw him, she sent him straight to bed. She could see by how wet he was that he had not stayed in the barn.

Well, the next morning, when Jim was dry and rested, he felt much better. And when his mother told him that he had to stay indoors for the next two days, Jim didn't even mind.

"Okay, Mother," Jim said. "I like it here. It is nice and warm."

Jim learned a very important lesson that day. It seems that it's usually a very good idea to do as your mother tells you.

Remember, Mother knows best.

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