Bumper, The White Rabbit

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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There was once an old woman who had so many rabbits that she hardly knew what to do. They ate her out of house and home, and kept the cupboard so bare she often had to go to bed hungry. But none of the rabbits suffered this way. They all had their supper, and their breakfast, too, even if there wasn't a crust left in the old woman's cupboard.

There were big rabbits and little rabbits; lean ones and fat ones; comical little youngsters who played pranks upon their elders, and staid, serious old ones who never laughed or smiled the livelong day; boy rabbits and girl rabbits, mother rabbits and father rabbits, and goodness knows how many aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, second cousins and distant relatives-in-law! They all lived under one big roof in the backyard of the good old woman who kept them, and they had such jolly times together that it seemed a shame to separate them.

But once every day the old woman chose several of her pets, and carried them away in a basket to a certain street corner of the city where she offered them for sale. She was dreadfully poor, and often when she returned home at night, counting her money, she would murmur: "It's a cabbage for them or a loaf of bread for myself. I can't get both."

She didn't always get the loaf of bread, but the rabbits always had their cabbage. They were all pink-eyed, white rabbits, and people were willing to pay good prices for them. But the whitest and pinkest-eyed of them all was Bumper, a tiny rabbit when he was born, and not very big when the old woman took him away on his first trip to the street corner. Bumper had never seen so many people before, and he was a little shy and frightened at first; but Jimsy and Wheedles, his brothers, laughed at his fears, and told him not to mind.

After that he plucked up courage, and when a little girl suddenly ran out of the crowd and picked him up in her arms, he tried not to be afraid. "Oh, you sweet little thing!" the girl exclaimed, pinching his ears softly. "Where did you come from, and where did you get those pink eyes and those long, fluffy ears?"

Then the girl kissed Bumper and rubbed his nose against her soft, fresh young cheek; but when the old lady approached, all smiles, and said, "Want him, dear?" she put him down in the basket again.

"Want him? Of course, I want him!" she replied a little scornfully. "But I can't buy him to-day. I spent all my birthday money on candies and cakes. Take him now before I steal him and run away."

She was a pretty girl, with red hair, a dimple in her chin, and one big freckle on the end of her nose; but her eyes were blue, and they made Bumper think of the sky which he could see through a hole in the roof of his house. I suppose it was because he had pink eyes that he thought blue was so becoming to little girls.

That night when he got home, Bumper was bursting with excitement. The day's experience was enough to cause this, but the words of the little girl who had spent all of her birthday money for candies and cakes were fresh in his mind....