The little cottontail was cornered, cowering behind two floppy ears against the dirt wall under Grandma Bunny’s stove.
A slender paw with four sharp, well manicured claws reached swiftly under the cast iron feet and batted about amongst the cobwebs.
Fox Rabbit hoisted the small fellow into the air by his scruff.
“Gracious, you’re a quick one.”
The bunny, now held flat against the kitchen table, squirmed and whimpered as Fox Rabbit pulled a neatly pressed handkerchief from his breast pocket.
“Hold still darling, it will only hurt for a moment.”
The bunny let out a high pitched squeal, but as promised, the pain was gone as quickly as it came.
Fox Rabbit placed the offending thorn in a glass dish and dabbed softly at the injured paw with his cloth.
“Now run along” he said,
setting the bunny down in a rowdy
“Look at this one, Granny” Fox Rabbit prompted, brandishing the rather large thorn.
“Poor little dear.” cooed the old rabbit.
“I wish they’d let me remove them without such a fuss. I’ve been trying to catch this one for days!”
Grandma Bunny slipped on her spectacles to examine the thorn.
“A perfect new embroidery needle!” she declared, tucking it into the front pocket of her apron.
“Thank you for your help, Fox dear. I’m not as young and spry as I was when you were a kit.”
To Fox Rabbit, Grandma Bunny had always seemed an eternal well of energy, but he wondered how long she could continue to manage on her own.
“Speaking of embroidery,” she whispered,
“you’ll be needing a new pair soon.”
Grandma Bunny plucked at a fray along one ear of Fox Rabbit’s cap, “this pair is getting a bit shabby.”
Fox Rabbit silently agreed. He hated to trouble Grandma Bunny, but he was a sharp dresser and a bit of a dandy. Shabbiness, he could not abide.
Fox Rabbit took one last sip of nettle tea and rose to leave.
Grandma Bunny smiled as dozens of bunnies swarmed Fox Rabbit’s hind legs and clung lovingly to his ankles.
“You’ve taken in too many!” he admonished, peering down at the orphans, “they’ll eat you out of house and home.”
“Nonsense,” Grandma Bunny scolded “Where else could they go? And besides, not one of them eats half as much as you did.”
“I’ll come round next Tuesday” Fox Rabbit said, then turned to address the furry heap at his feet.
“In the meantime, my little friends, mind you stay out of those bramble bushes!”
Shutting the burrow door behind him, Fox Rabbit removed the handkerchief from his pocket and took a deep sniff.
There in the center of the white square was a bright red spot of bunny blood.
He quickly shoved it back in his jacket and blushed with shame. He would never eat a bunny in a million years, but why, oh why, did they have to smell so delicious.