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This piece is a response to Chuck Wendig, who was wishing for an Easter Bunny story with a bit more detail to tell all of our children.
I think we can all agree that the Easter Bunny needs better messaging. A stronger narrative.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 5, 2015
I mean, Santa gets the whole fucking shebang. Named reindeer. A polar HQ. A sleigh. A wife. ELVES. The bunny gets dlddly-dingus.— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 5, 2015
I mean, what's the Easter Bunny's story? "Yeah, kids. There's a pantsless, bow-tie-wearing bunny and…" *tired sigh* "I don't even know."— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 5, 2015
At the very least, this is the version I plan to start telling my own daughter.
Simple Version #
What’s that, my dear? Why the basket? Ah, well that’s the work of the Easter Bunny.
Once a year, in honor of the coming of Spring, the Easter Bunny travels the globe to leave Easter baskets for all the good little boys and girls of the world. For the Easter Bunny loves all the world’s children, and lavishes upon them special treats in his own image so that they might taste the sweetness of his love.
However, that old bunny is a mischievous one, so every year, the rabbit also steals some of the multicolored eggs lain by the Dragon of the Sky. The Dragon would rather horde these special eggs to herself, but the Easter Bunny shares them with the world. Left to her own devices, the dragon would steal them back from every basket with the rising of the sun on Easter morning, so the bunny must hide the eggs.
And that, my dear, is why the Easter Bunny leaves you a basket every year, and why we get to hunt beautiful multi-colored eggs.
Extended Version #
So, my dear, you want to know more? I know it doesn’t completely make sense, but think carefully before asking again, because there are few happy stories without their own share of heartbreak along the way. Still curious? Very well.
Once, long ago in a land far, far away lived Estor the rabbit. He was a handsome bunny, with fur as white as snow. More than anything in the world, he wanted a family of his own. However, Estor could not have children, and both he and his wife despaired. For back then, my love, rabbits were a slow breeding animal, and depended on their cunning and speed to survive from one generation to the next.
One day, Estor was complaining of his poor fortune to his friend Squirrel, when she interrupted him.
“Why not seek out the Dragon of the Sky?” asked the squirrel.
“I had heard she was most dangerous,” said Estor.
“She is, with a gaping mouth that could swallow a rabbit whole. But she has been known to grant wishes.”
Squirrel nodded. “It’s said that’s how birds learned to fly.”
Estor was suspicious, but his curiosity grew, and one day, he gave his wife Esther a nose nuzzle goodbye and set off in search of the sky. He hopped, hopped, hopped up the tallest hill he could find until he was above the clouds. It was quite cold, and he shivered as he hopped across the misty valleys of the sky. Hunger gnawed at him.
Eventually, he came upon an enormous cave surrounded by a clover patch that sparkled with dew. His mouth watered at the sight of the green leaves. His stomach rumbling, Estor ate some of the clover and marveled at the warm energy that seemed to fill his body. Strengthened by the meal, he hopped into the great cave that was home to the Dragon of the Sky.
There, sitting upon a great mound of eggs, each a different shade of the rainbow, was the Dragon. Her eyes glowed with green light as she watched the rabbit enter.
“Who goes there?” asked the dragon.
“I do,” said Estor, “I have hopped all the way across the sky to see you.”
“Why have you come?”
“Oh, Great Dragon, I have a wish. I have no bunnies of my own, and I fear I never will. We rabbits have few babies, you see. I wish for children.”
The Dragon looked at Estor and licked her lips, for it had been a while since she had last eaten rabbit. Her mouth stretched in a sly smile. “Little hare, I shall grant your wish, but for all rabbits, not just one.”
Estor thought this was a wonderful idea and said so.
“However,” said the Dragon, “nothing comes without a price.” She motioned to her mound of eggs. “Each egg represents a new rabbit child. For each one you can get out of my cave, before I eat you, another bunny shall be born.”
And with that, the Dragon pounced. Estor yelped and hopped out the way grabbing eggs as quickly as he could. Rabbits are very quick, my dear, and staying ahead of the Dragon was easy. Estor was soon carrying far too many eggs between his paws, and wished for a basket. As the Dragon chased him around the pile, Estor could feel the sky clover in his tummy begin to vibrate with power, as if in response to the eggs. His confidence grew, and he laughed in delight, until he looked up to see that the Dragon had cornered him.
“At last,” hissed the Dragon, and charged.
Estor shrieked and hopped as hard as he could. The sky clover in his tummy seemed to burn inside him, and he sailed through the roof of the cave, passing through the rock like a ghost. The Dragon roared from within the cave. As Estor bolted towards the hillside that would lead him back to the earth below, the deep bellow of the dragon roared behind him.
“Eggs you shall have, but never a child of your own!”
Estor wept as he ran, knowing the dragon had cursed him, and grieving for the child that would never be his. Still, he felt the thrum of the eggs he carried, and knew that he had stolen something special. Once he was below the clouds again, Estor hid his precious eggs as quickly as he could. He had no doubt the Dragon would come looking for them, and he feared what might happen to whatever was left of his wishes if she did. He hid the colored eggs in the hollows of trees, behind stones, and any other sneaky place he could find. When he was sure they were well-hidden, he set off home.
By the time he returned to his warren, he found that several of the other rabbit couples had given birth to baby bunnies. There, in the dark, surrounded by the sound of squalling infants, Estor smiled.
For you see, child, Estor realized that you did not have to have a baby to take joy in them, and from that day forward he resolved to love each child in the world as his own. Of course, he never forgot the wish that had been granted by the Dragon. So, once a year, Estor climbs above the clouds, eats the magic sky clover, steals as many eggs as he can, and then hides them carefully where the Dragon will never find them. And each year, as a reminder for why he does it, he leaves the good little boys and girls of the world a basket of delights as a token of his love.