Bob's Ear Problem


Alongside a pleasant lake there grew a great forest. Near the
middle of the forest there was a large area where no trees grew,
just grass and flowers. And in this clearing there lived some
rabbits. Well, more than just some rabbits. There were lots of
rabbits. Lots and lots of rabbits.

The rabbits kept the clearing big eating. Every time a tree would
start to grow in the clearing, a rabbit would eat it. And anything
around it. It was a good thing to be a large rabbit, and an
especially good thing to have large ears, because the forest was
just as full of animals that liked to eat rabbits as the clearing
was full of rabbits. The rabbits called them the Enemies, and if a
rabbit had large ears he could hear an Enemy coming a mile away.
All the young rabbits wanted to grow large ears, and that was how
Bob Bunny's problem started.

Bob didn't have a regular rabbit name. His mother thought it was
cute to call him Bobby Bunny when he was very young, and the name
just stuck. He might have had a real rabbit name at some time, but
now everyone just called him Bob. He was used to it.

Except for his name, Bob was like every other little rabbit. They
all played together and ran together and ate together, and
generally had a very good time growing up.

Rabbits grow just like they run, by leaps and bounds. Bob was
growing, too. Except for his ears. They stayed the same size. Alll
the other rabbits had bigger ears than Bob. Bob made a wish to have
huge ears.

His ears started to grow. Bob was very excited and made sure that
all of the other little rabbits noticed. But as they kept growing,
he became sorry he had, because they were getting to be ENORMOUS!
Pretty soon, they were so big they were in the way. Bob couldn't
run around with the other rabbits because he kept tripping over his
ears. He even had to be careful eating, because he might
accidentally bite one of his ears.

Even worse, everyone made fun of his ears. They tried to make jokes
about his ears far away so that he wouldn't hear, but Bob's ears
were very good, and he could hear every little thing they said.
Young rabbits (and even some older ones) can be very mean
sometimes, even if they don't relly mean to be.

When Bob got really mad, he started to fight them. That wasn't a
good idea, since the other rabbits could stand on his ears while
another ran around behind and kicked him. Then Bob had sore ears
and a sore behind.

Bob's mother kept telling him that he would "grow into his ears",
but it didn't make him feel any better. He didn't really believe
her, anyway. He was sure that he was going to be stuck with those
big, dumb, floppy ears for the rest of his life, unless he died of
embarrassment first.

So Bob ran away. But there wasn't anywhere to run away to but the
forest, which was full of Enemies. So he didn't dare to actually go
into the forest, but stopped at the edge.

Bob curled up between the roots of a great oak tree on the edge of
the forest and felt very sorry for himself. He thought that nothing
in the world could be worse, but he was wrong. It started to rain.

Bob stayed at the edge of the forest. When the other rabbits came
to look for him, he hid. He dug a little hole between the roots,
and that kept him dry, at least.

Eventually, the rest of Bob's body caught up with his ears and he
was just right for a large rabbit with fine ears. But he didn't go
back to the warren. At first, he didn't go back because he was
still angry at the other rabbits for teasing him. Later, stayed in
the forest because he liked it there.