The Legend of Bunny, the Easter Rat
By Martin Caldewood
Bunny lived alone in the furthest corner of the big city dump just outside of Easter Town. Now this is not as bad as it seems because, you see, Bunny is a big, all white rat with beady red eyes and a long white tail. Unlike many of the rats in the dump, who were big, fat and lazy, Bunny was sleek and in great shape and could run faster than all the other rats in the dump.
He was also mostly happy, but he had one big problem, his name.
Who had ever heard of a rat named ‘Bunny’? All the other rats had cool names like Wilbur and Rachet and Sharp Tooth but his parents had chosen to name him ‘Bunny’ after the Easter Bunny who was the most honored citizen of Easter Town.
For as far back as he could remember Bunny was teased and left alone because of his ‘weird name’. Many of the other rats also made fun of the fact that Bunny was all white while they were nice and gray and black or brown. Oh, some of them had white parts but none of them were all white from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail and, of course, none of them had a name like ‘Bunny’! When his mom and dad, who had recently moved to the basement of the jellybean factory clear on the other side of town, realized their mistake, they tried to change the name to Buddy, but it was too late because once a rat is named, the name stuck, for that was the rule of the dump.
But, still, for the most part, Bunny was a happy rat. He had plenty of food and the nicest home in all the dump, an old refrigerator that he had found when he had first decided to explore the parts of the dump few rats ever visited because the area was so far away from the front where all the best trash was being delivered. Bunny had been very surprised when he found the perfect sized hole in the back of the old fridge that allowed him to climb in and out very easily. The inside had a nice musty smell of old socks and a metal shelf that was still sticky and slightly moldy even after all the time it had been at the dump.
Over the next few days, after his discovery, Bunny dragged in pieces of brightly colored cloth, worn fleece and other nice things that helped him create a cozy, warm nest. He brought in some food and some pretty shiny things that made his new home bright and very beautiful. So, he was a pretty happy rat. He was warm, well fed and he was free. The fact that he was far from his family and had very few friends did not seem to bother him because he was a rat and those kind of things really don’t bother them all that much. Or at least, that is what they claim.
Bunny did have one very good friend, a young, pink furred rabbit named Emmy. She lived at the dump too because her father was the Chief Security Bunny at the dump. It was his job to make certain that no one got hurt while visiting the dump and that they put all the trash in the designated place. He was also in charge of the lost and found because you would be surprised at how many people accidentally throw away something and come, panic stricken, to the dump to try to recover it. When the rats or other workers find something of value they are supposed to turn it into the Lost and Found but some rats are true rats and they sometimes ‘forget’ to turn things in. This was never the case with Bunny, he was an honest rat and besides he got by because you would also be surprised at how many good and useable things people throw away deliberately. This is how Bunny got his alarm clock, his favorite bowl and many other things that made his home nest a very nice place to live.
One afternoon, Bunny was out searching the most recent deliveries for new food and anything that might be exciting. His sensitive nose caused him to pass by the first few bags until he came to a white zip string bag. Within seconds his sharp teeth had made short work of the bag and as expected he found some of his very favorite foods including several pieces of very ripe fruit, some newly molding bread and his favorite food of all, a half dozen two week old hard boiled eggs.
He was just beginning to search for another bag to put what he wanted into it when he heard a scraping noise behind him.
“Glad ta see yaz workin’ so hard fer me, snowball.” replied the largest black rat in the dump.
Bunny turned slowly and looked upward toward the voice. “Go away, Bash. I found these for me.”
“So? Now yer donatin’ them to me cuz we’re such good buds.”
“You know the rules. Now go away!”
“Oooo. Getten’ tough are ya? Guess if I had a gal pal with a big..bad daddy I’d think myself invulnerable too, but I’d be wrong. It’s a big dump and he’s only one rabbit. Now why don’t ya make it easy on yerself and give me the eggs and go ‘un find something I like a bit less?” Bash rose on his haunches and bared his teeth menacingly. “Now be a good little snowball and give me the goods then melt away befor’ I has to get tough.”
For a minute Bunny stood silently fighting nerves and reason as his sharp beady eyes continued to stare up at Bash who sneered back at him confidently.
“Boys.” the voice was soft and amused. “I suggest you quit teasing each other and go about your business.”
“Or you’ll go get daddy?” smirked Bash.
Bash smiled back. “Remember, it is a very large dump.” he said glancing at Bunny. “I’ll be seein’ ya ‘round.”
With only a whisper of paws on metal the large rat glided into the shadows where he was most at home.
As soon as he was gone Emmy hopped over to her friend. “He’s a real pain.”
Bunny managed a smile. “I can take him if I have to.
Emmy shook her head. “Boys. Just take your food and leave it be.” She then turned to Bunny. “Are you going to go into the city for the big Easter Egg-Stravaganza?”
“No. You know I don’t like eggs unless they’re at least two weeks old. Besides you know how I feel about Easter, it falls on the heels of Christmas and Valentines and there is always so much candy and stuff left over I wonder why humans need another day to restock the sweet tooth larder? If I had my way I would just stuff the baskets with Candy canes and heart leftovers and maybe throw in a bunch of Halloween candy for fun.”
The young bunny tossed back her long pink ears and giggled. “You are silly but sweet. That is why you are I are friends, besides how many pink furred bunnies do you know?”
“About as many as you know white rats named Bunny.”
Emmy giggled again. “I gotta run. If you want I’ll have dad talk to Bash.”
Bunny shook his head. “As I said, I can take him if I have too. Have fun at the party.”
Emmy nodded. “I just hope you never have to, fight him I mean. My dad hates to do paper work and if you to got into a fight he’d have to do a lot of it. See you later!”
Bunny smiled slightly as she turned and hopped away. For a moment Bunny watched her until she disappeared around a pile of trash. He smiled a little broader, bearing a sharp set of yellow-white teeth.
“So do I.” he whispered softly. “So do I.”
It took about a half hour for Bunny to drag his skoff bag to his fridge home. As usual he did not encounter anybody other than a bunch of insects who were too busy with their lives to even notice a large white rat slipping from shadow to shadow to avoid the direct sunlight. Soon he was munching away at his goodies and resting until the sun went down. As he relaxed he decided that once the sun went down he would go out and find something for his home. You see, Bunny realized he needed something new to sleep in and so right at dusk he slipped out into the evening aware that most of the city and most of those at the dump would be getting ready for the Egg-Stravaganza which would start in just a couple of hours. As expected he was greeted only by the sound of crickets and a few night birds who were in search of a simple meal.
Now if you were Bunny wondering around in a big city dump, what do you think he find?
Get answers and then go on.
Bunny chose to explore the wall that was the outermost wall and the area farthest away
from the city. He knew that very few creatures lived in the area so even though he moved with his usual ratty cautiousness he was not particularly worried. And as he walked he saw some_______fill in some or all of the list_________. He also saw a pile of old bed springs, two broken cars and a stack of hundreds and hundreds of old socks. There were baby socks, teen socks, anklets, toe socks, dress socks and more and this was exciting because he thought of how one of these socks could be his new sleeping sack. So he began to dig and to dig. He pulled out blue socks and green socks and white socks and more. There were stipes and plaids and even a polka dot or two Most he rejected because they were too small but he set one red and white strip sock aside because it reminded him of a hat a hedgehog he once read about wore. Finally he spotted red and white sock that was bigger than anything else he had seen and after he pulled and tugged on it for several seconds it came loose and it was a long red and white Christmas stocking with a green lettered name M A R T I N written on it. The sock was perfect. It smelled a bit musty, it was creased and wrinkled and yes it was just a bit ratty.
He was just about to carry it back to his nest, stuffed full of other socks that would act as insulation when he heard something, a chatter of a whole bunch of rats.
Putting the sock into a deep shadowy hiding place Bunny crept along careful to stay out of any light that might bounce off his white fur. After a few cautious minutes the chatter stopped and one voice began to speak, a voice that Bunny knew all to well.
“We can do it. We can take all the Easter Candy we want without anyone knowing where it is but we have to do it now, tonight while everyone is at the Egg party.”
Bash’s voice was strong and sure and it sounded very mean and sneaky.
“But where will we hide it all.” came a question from the group.
“Here at the dump. Who would think to look for fresh candy and eggs in here and by the time they did they would be nice and rotten and we can claim they were placed here by us for the winter.” answered Bash smugly.
“Where in the dump would we hide it?” asked one of the rats
“Right here in this back area. Nobody comes to this section anymore.”
“Except that white rat. He travels all over the place.”
Bash snickered. “He’s a rat isn’t he. He will enjoy the stuff just like we will.”
“And if he doesn’t?
“Who’s going to noticed one less rat?”
The others laughed briefly and began to slip away.
Bash halted them with a cough. “We are, after all, like everyone else in the city, invited so a few of us will go in, myself included, while the rest of you slip in the back of the warehouse where everything is and take all you can and bring it back here before the party ends. Those inside will keep the other’s busy or at least entertained. No problems, we’re rats, and no one will even care how many of us are there.”
“But won’t the missing stuff be noticed?” asked one rat, named Oskar, sitting atop a large box of old rags.
“And what of the Easter Bunny. He’ll be worried about those human children.” asked another rat.
“Who cares if a few human children don’t get enough candy. We’ll be doing them a favor because they won’t get so many belly aches or cavities. And, if I know those who work for THE Bunny they’ll just downsize a bit and spread it around.” Bash grinned. “They may even chalk it up to poor accounting. And next year we’ll do the same thing.”
There was a rustle of excitement followed by a bit of nervous chatter then everything was silent as Bash dismissed them with a snort and a flick of his tail.
Moments later the only rat in the area was Bunny and he was very nervous. He was also very confused. He did not know what to do and this did not feel at all comfortable. No, not one bit.
For several minutes Bunny just sat there and thought and thought and thought. He thought of the children and the thought of Emmy and he thought of the Easter Bunny and finally he decided that this robbery should not happen even if it meant all the candy and old eggs he could ever eat, for a year. Then what? As he thought and thought and thought a plan began to form in his mind. A plan that, if he sold it right, just might make everyone happy. After several moments he began to run. He had to find Emmy and then he had to track down as many of the other rats as possible before the Easter event started. He knew he was going to be a very busy white rat.
In a half hour Big Eater, Thrack and Smoke were scattering into the dump and over the next half hour twenty more of the rats had listened to Bunny’s plan. Bunny also found Albert and Old One-eye who both were skeptical but did not argue too much. They told Bunny they would wait and see what Bash said about the plan as did most of the others as it turned out. Very few wanted to side with the Bunny because very few dared go against Bash.
By then most of the rats had gathered just a block away from the warehouse where the other guests were starting to arrive. Easter workers of all kinds, humans, bunnies, rats and more came, all dressed in their very best. As was tradition, most arrived on foot so their was plenty of room for everyone both inside and out.
The last friend Bunny found was Emmy. Without a word he lead her out of the crowd to where he could talk alone. As quickly as he could he explained his plan and then told her to talk to the Easter Bunny himself after telling her father what was happening.
Without waiting for an answer the white rat took off for the gathering point. He had not traveled a hundred yards when he heard a voice above him.
“So ya finked us out. I had thought we rats were like sticking with each other and you finked us out telling yer gal pal. You really are a snowball!”
“And you don’t have to resort to being a sneak thief to get what we want.”
“You mean yer lit’le plan? Do you thinsk it even has a chance wit the Bunny or fer that matter, any more of us?”
“It will work. The Easter Rabbit will listen and so will all the other Rats. There are always enough leftovers nobody finds to last us a year and we won’t have to take what is not ours!” insisted Bunny.
“Won’t havta take wat ain’t ours.” sniped Bash in a sing-song type voice. “We’re rats, we is ‘posed to take what we want re-gard-less of anythin’ else.”
“But that is why we have such trouble and you are...”
“You callin’ me a trouble maker?”
“If the feet stink smell them.” said Bunny softly.
In a blur of black Bash threw himself at the white rat who barely had time to get his claws out to block the attack. The two rolled, tumbling into the wall with a thump. Bash bounced off the wall and slashed at Bunny’s belly drawing first blood. He was at least half again as big as Bunny and his claws were razor sharp. Bunny was tough and sinewy and his teeth bit hard into Bash’s foot causing him to roar in anger and pain.
Spitting and snarling the two rats rolled apart and then lunged at each other. Around the corner the other guests began to quiet as the sounds of the fight filtered through the air. Security from the dump hurried through the crowd lead by Emmy’s father.
Everybody they passed wondered what was up and after a few moments the began to follow slowly.
Bunny hated fighting but he was good at it because he had been picked on most of his life. It did not take him long to find himself bruised and bleeding from Bash’s first attack. To the surprise of the bigger black rat he found himself flying into the wall. Before Bash could rush two steps Bunny tripped three of his four legs causing Bash to roll away hard.
Bash continued his roll and came up whipping Bunny in the eye with his tail and kicking him in the stomach.
“You don’t have to do this Bash!” gasped Bunny fending off a slashing stroke. “I have an idea that will give us all the old eggs and stale candy we can ever eat and no one needs to suffer.”
Bash growled and leapt. Bunny spun away forcing his opponent hard into the gutter.
Gawkers and the curious began to gather attracted by the sound of combat. Some of the rats slipped in the shadows while others were held back from attacking Bunny by their fellows who just wanted to watch the fight.
“Stop!” demanded Bunny rising on his haunches. Bash could hear others coming but he paid them no mind. With perfect timing he leapt forward and struck the still rising Bunny. Feet and fur flew blur of paws and claws.
Bash squawked as he lost a whisker. Angrily, he finally lost his balance and fell back and away. Bunny leapt and instinctively dug his claws into Bash’s exposed chest only to feel himself being ripped away from his nemesis.
Soon both combatants were being held in the sturdy arms of two burly rabbit security guards.
“You can’t listen to him.” bellowed Bash.
“There is another way!” repeated Bunny over and over again. “We have done nothing wrong yet except listen to a foolish plan.. Hear me and I will help solve this problem.”
A murmur ran through the crowd spiced by a few shouts of anger from Bash and his friends. The scene threatened to crumble into a picture of noise and confusion.
“Let his speak!” cried Emmy as she elbowed her way through the onlookers just ahead of her father. “Let him speak.”
“Shut up pinkie!”
“Stuff your fur Bash.” replied the angry pink bunny. “Let him go Lort. Let him go Gjum!”
The two security bunnies looked nervous and glanced at Emmy’s father who nodded slightly. They released the bleeding white rat who sagged slightly before pulling himself up again on his haunches. For a moment he sniffed the air in a sign of respect that served to quiet the forty or fifty guest onlookers and half dozen large security rabbits. Nearby a few dozen more guests stood uncomfortably mixed with many of the would be thieving rats.
Bunny wobbled slightly. Emmy rushed to his side and braced him up. For a moment Bunny just stood there then straightening he lowered his chin and began to speak in a clear ratty voice.
“Every year the Easter Bunny and his helpers hide tons of eggs in the homes of children all around the world. Every year the humans and others who celebrate Easter search for the eggs and some find them all but there is a large number of eggs that are not found, that is until they begin to stink up the house or barn or wherever they were hidden. Along with these eggs a lot of candy and other treats are not found. I would guess there is at least enough to fill a large corner of the warehouse.”
Bunny paused and stretched then lowered himself to all fours and walked, limping slightly, until he stood next to the wall while the crowd formed a rainbow of Easter City residents around him to hear.
I propose that the rats of this fair town be allowed to follow in the Easter Bunny’s paw prints two to three weeks after Easter to gather the left overs and unfound eggs. If we use just a little of the Easter Magic we can follow the path of the Easter Bunny uses, in one night, over a couple weeks time and save the human, and others, noses and homes. We can then bring back our booty to the city dump where we can tend it and use it as we please and no one will miss a thing!”
For a moment all was silent. Bunny sagged slightly into his friend’s arms as she helped him lay down on the ground. Even the rats were quiet except for Bash who snorted painfully a few feet away. Still he said nothing
It was at that moment that the Easter Bunny appeared. In just a few seconds, using his special ‘bunny magic’ the great giver of eggs and candy knew exactly what had happened. Without a word he walked by the security rabbits to where Bunny the White Rat lay.
Emmy looked up at her idol and smiled slowly. “Do you think it will work?” she asked finally.
The Easter Bunny looked down at Bunny and nodded. “It might, it just might.”
A cheer rose from the crowd.
“We have some work to do if we want to start this new venture this year.” he said softly. “I want all rats and my key helpers in the undyed egg warehouse in one hour since it is the most empty right now. Security Chief Carrotchomper I want you and your daughter there too along with some of your best helpers. The rest of you have a wonderful Egg-Stravaganza I will be there after I am finished!”
Well that’s the story.. The Easter Bunny liked Bunny’s plan so much that he started it that year. Even Bash got to like the idea after he got out of jail for being a dirty rat. So here is what happens thanks to Bunny.
Ten days after Easter Bunny and as many helpers as can leave Easter City and travel from home to home that had been visited by the famous bunny. Using the same magic the bunny uses.. And let me tell you Bunny is the only rat that can use that kind of magic and like the other Easter Bunny helpers the rat helpers draw on the magic Bunny controls. Anyway, as I was saying, using the same magic the Easter Bunny uses the rats travel from home to home and sniff out the unfound eggs and take them back to Easter City. They also gather the stale candy and dried peeps and stuff that is ofttimes thrown out.. You cannot believe how much rats love old jellybeans and MARSHMALLOW PEEPS THAT ARE DRY AND CRUNCHY?? That puts the rats in to food heaven! When they get done they usually have enough old stuff that their dump storage areas are full and there is usually enough to share with other critters like ants and raccoons and the like. It has only been going for a while but I am certain that if you ever cannot find a egg the Easter Bunny hid than you can count on it being found by Bunny the White Easter Rat before it goes bad.
Of course rats being rats they are still full of mischief and sometimes they leave one or two eggs tolet them grow rotten and smelly just for fun.
And Bunny and the Easter Bunny have become good friends and sometimes Bunny the Easter Rat goes with his friend on his Easter rounds.. And Bunny is still a rat so he is still mischievous so once in a while when the Easter Bunny is not looking he slips so Halloween or Christmas candy into the basket. Sometimes he even puts in some Valentine Candy. So if you ever wake up and find a candy cane or some gummy worms or maybe some conversation hearts inside your Easter Basket then you will know Bunny has been in your house.. So along with the carrots for the Easter Bunny, you might leave a piece of stale, dry cheese for one of his newest and “bestest” friends, Bunny the White Easter Rat.