Once upon a time, there lived two little boys who were brothers. They were named Wynn and James. They lived in a magical little place at the foot of the Brushy Mountains. Now these mountains were not tall but rather quite short as far as mountains go, but they were lush and green and covered in apple trees as far as the eye could see. More than anything the two brothers loved to play outdoors. They played outdoors in autumn when their Brushy Mountains turned golden amber and sugar pumpkins grew fat in the garden.
They played outdoors in the winter, when snow would sometimes appear overnight, as if by magic, and blanket everything in a shimmering white.
They played outside in the summertime when the humidity was heavy and thick and lightening bugs flew into their mason jars, becoming nightlights.
But most of all, they loved to play outdoors in the springtime, when new life burst forth from the ground and the whole world arose from its long winter slumber.
And so, this story is a springtime story. It is a story about the oldest brother, Wynn, who was at the time five years-old. It is the story of a mischievous cat called Fluffy and a very small, very young little bunny. Fluffy the cat had come to live with Wynn and James the previous Autumn, when, finding herself quite without a home, she wandered to the magic house at the foot of the Brushy Mountains and decided that it would make a fine place to live because it had a warm fireplace for cold nights and a little red barn that was perfect for hunting field mice. The boys’ mother, who had soft gentle hands, served generous portions of cream in a little silver saucer that was just the right size for a hungry cat. The boys, who up until that time had not had a true pet of their own, were delighted to have the cat come and live with them.
Fluffy was grey and white, with long soft fur and a long bushy tail. She was patient and gentle but like all cats, had a God-given inclination to hunt.
Wynn first made the acquaintance of the other character in our story, the small young bunny, on a damp morning in early April. Quite by accident, Wynn and his mother, who were walking hand and hand through the yard, stumbled upon a soft spot of earth, that upon closer inspection proved to house our small young bunny as well as three or four of his equally small brothers and sisters. It was less than one week before Easter so Wynn proclaimed them “baby easter bunnies” and declared that he loved them. Just like that, because love is such a powerful thing of course, the bunnies became extended members of the family. Wynn marked the bunny hole with two small sticks, which he arranged in the shape of a cross, so that he might be able to check back the next day and see whether the sticks were disturbed, to show that the mother rabbit had visited the hole to nurse and care for her young. As it turned out, the mother rabbit did visit the hole, twice each day, at dawn and dusk, and the bunnies were well fed, well cared for and grew so big so quickly they were soon barely able to fit inside the hole and were stacked, one on top of the other, in a warm fuzzy pile.
One evening, just a week past Easter, Wynn and James went out to play after dinner. Their mother was in the middle of washing the dinner dishes in a sink full of warm water and bubbles when Wynn came running through the front the door, frantic and red-faced.
“Mommy! Mommy!!!! Come right now, it’s an emergency!!!”
His mother, who had never before seen Wynn in such a state of panic, went running after him without question, outdoors, in her bare feet. No sooner had the front door smacked shut behind them both, Wynn and his mother heard the pathetic cry of a small animal. They looked around the side of the house to see Fluffy the cat with our small young bunny, cornered against the red brick chimney. And oh how the bunny did cry, not with tears you see, as that is not a bunny’s way, but with an agonizing cry all the same that brought tears to Wynn’s eyes. Then, quick as anything, the mother stepped between the cat and the bunny and picked the trembling bunny up, cradled carefully in her hands. At first, the bunny let out another cry at the mother, still scared as he was, but mother just “shussshed” the little darling and held him tight and the bunny realized that he was, again, safe. Wynn put the naughty cat inside the house and locked the door! Then, mother and son, sat down on the front brick steps and mother continued to hold the bunny tight up against her chest. Both stroked the bunny’s ears and spoke gently to him. The mother checked the bunny’s feet, his back and his underbelly, thankfully not finding any obvious injury. Then, mother and son returned the bunny to the grass near his hole, where he hopped off promptly into the day lily bed. A most welcome and glorious site to see a healthy spring in his step despite the evening’s near calamity.
“Wynn, you are a hero my darling,” said the mother, pulling him closely to her and kissing the top of his blond, curly head.
“I am?” asked the boy.
“Yes,” said his mother matter-of-factly. “If you hadn’t been there to see Fluffy and the bunny at just the right moment and if you hadn’t kept your wits about you to run to me for help, the bunny might not have lived.”
Wynn thought quietly for a moment and nodded his head ever so slightly, most seriously and in a grown-up manner. He felt proud in his heart and much older than his five years.
But more than anything, Wynn was simply glad that the bunny had been spared, because he loved the bunny and love is a powerful thing.