There was once a Rabbit who refused to breed, declining absolutely and without any apparent remorse, to indulge in the business of procreation that so occupied all the other rabbits in the warren.
The Bachelor Rabbit maintained that his decision was a moral stand against the threat of over-population. However, others were soon putting around the story that his abstinence was, in truth, a clear indication of moral corruption and sexual deviancy.
Concerned that their young might be at risk from his unnatural perversions, the community ostracised the Bachelor Rabbit and avoided all contact with him. The single Rabbit, nevertheless, remained surprisingly cheerful and resolutely refused to be rushed into the mating game merely in order to save his reputation.
One day a Polecat caught and was about to eat one of the warren’s most prolific breeders, a rabbit who had already fathered several dozen young and whose sexual prowess showed no sign of flagging.
The Bachelor Rabbit, seeing the Father Rabbit’s plight, hopped swiftly over and pleaded with the Polecat on his behalf. “Please,” he begged, “this rabbit has a huge family to support, I have none. Eat me instead.”
The Polecat who had already breakfasted on two starlings and a baby ferret and was, therefore, not hungry enough to eat both rabbits agreed without hesitation, gobbled up the Bachelor Rabbit and allowed the Father Rabbit to go free.
Later, passing the warren, the Polecat heard the rabbits discussing the incident and praising the Polecat's generosity and thoughtfulness in ridding the rabbit community of a perverted and morally bankrupt misfit.
The Polecat smiled to himself. “How strange!” he thought, “It was merely an economic decision: given a choice, why would I eat a rabbit who still has many years left in which to provide me with new generations of breakfasts, lunches and dinners?”
© Brian Sibley 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
“I know I’m sticking my neck out,” said the Young Giraffe, “But those trees, way over there, look to me as if they are covered in really luscious leaves right at the very top.”
“What trees?” asked one of his elderly relatives.
“Trust me,” said the Young Giraffe, “with due respect, my eyesight is better than yours.”
So the whole herd followed the Young Giraffe and headed off for the trees, which were, even further away than they had at first supposed.
Although they began their journey almost as a canter, their speed soon dropped to a lope and, by the time they reached the trees, they were going at little more than a dawdle and were exhausted and very hungry.
They were pleased to discover that the trees were indeed covered in the most lip-smackingly luscious leaves at the very top of their branches. But unfortunately however far they stuck their necks out every single bunch of leaves was just beyond their reach.
As can be imagined, they were not best pleased with the Young Giraffe.
A few weeks later, the Young Giraffe coughed politely and said that whilst he was probably sticking his neck out once more, he could smell a waterhole full of fresh, clear drinking water off in the distance beside a large outcrop of rock.
“What rock?” asked another of his relatives.
“Trust me,” said the Young Giraffe, “I have a very keen sense of smell.”
Against their better judgement - and only because they were very thirsty - the herd agreed to follow the Young Giraffe to his waterhole.
After another long, tiring trek, they arrived at a muddy puddle at the bottom of a deep hole that was currently occupied by a bad-tempered and overweight warthog.
Even if they had been willing to drink a warthog’s bath water, it would have made no difference for however far they spread their long legs and however far they stuck out their long necks they couldn’t reach the brown, brackish sludge.
For the second time in too short a time, the Young Giraffe was not especially popular with his family.
A week or two passed and, one day when the giraffes were roaming the savannah, the Young Giraffe once again felt compelled to make an announcement.
“I know you are tired of me sticking my neck out,” he began, “but I really think that I can hear a pride of lions creeping up on us through the long grasses.”
“SHUT UP!!” shouted the giraffe family as one animal.
So he did…
Feeling unbelievably humiliated, tears welled up in his big brown eyes and it was at that moment that the lions sprang!
The first animal to fall was the Young Giraffe, proving that if you keep sticking your neck out, sooner or later, you are going to get your head bitten off…
© Brian Sibley 2006