Jack was a little bunny. He had a white fluffy tail, soft, colorful fur, and long fuzzy ears. He liked carrots and lettuce. He wrinkled his nose, hid in tall grass, and skipped across lawns in neighborhoods. That’s right. Skipped! You see, Jack was different from most all bunnies in one special way: Jack couldn’t hop. Oh, he’d tried. He saw all the other bunnies hopping here and there, leaping through the air, with their back feet springing in perfectly matched pairs. But when Jack tried to hop, it didn’t feel right. He was meant to be a skipper. But no one ever told him that was okay. The other little bunnies laughed at him, and this made Jack sad.
He tried really hard to learn to hop. It didn’t feel natural. But Jack wanted to be like the other bunnies.
After lots and lots of practice, Jack could almost hop like the other bunnies. He would stiffly hop as best he could to where other bunnies were munching in gardens or hiding in marshes.
But while the other bunnies didn’t laugh at him anymore, they were no nicer to him either. So, one day Jack decided to just stop trying to hop like all the other bunnies. He feared the other bunnies would make fun of him again, but he decided it was worth the risk. So, Jack began skipping again, and he felt so relieved.
One day, several little bunnies had to cross through a backyard where some older rabbits were eating. One by one, the little bunnies hopped from one grove of bushes to another. “Oooh, look!” the older rabbits cried, “baby bunnies!” They stopped their eating to watch them. Because he skipped, Jack was a little slower than the other little bunnies. He came across the yard last. And when he did, all the older rabbits laughed.
But, Jack realized, the laughter didn’t sound hurtful — like when the little bunnies laughed at him. It sounded delighted. The older rabbits wrinkled their noses and wiggled their furry tails in delight. “Look at that bunny!” they cheered. “He’s different. He doesn’t hop like all the rest!”
Like all bunnies do when they’re startled, Jack froze and pretended to be invisible. “Look, he’s scared! Poor little guy!” a wise old hare with glasses said. “I like this bunny! I’m going to give him a treat.” Then he said, “Don’t be nervous, little bunny! Come here. I have something just for you.” Jack skipped toward him cautiously. The wise old hare presented Jack with a big, fat orange carrot. It was the biggest, fattest carrot Jack had ever seen, with long green leaves coming out its top. “This is for you, bunny! Because you’re special,” the hare said, and then added, “We want to watch you skip some more. And if you come by every day, we’ll give you treats.” Jack teared up. He didn’t know what to say.
While the other little bunnies, still off in the bushes, watched jealously, Jack bit into the carrot and began munching. But the carrot was too big for Jack to eat all at once. So, he decided to take it with him. He picked the carrot up by its leaves and skipped towards the bushes with it — his feet going back and forth, his little back end waving side to side, the carrot flinging back and forth along with him.
When Jack made it to the bushes, he laid the carrot down in front of the other little bunnies. “Have some,” he said. The little bunnies looked at him in astonishment. “It feels nice to share,” he said. He watched all the other little bunnies munch on the big, fat orange carrot he’d given them, “Wow!” he thought. “It really is okay to be myself!” Happier than he’d ever been, Jack began skipping merrily around the entire yard, to the delight of all the rabbits—young and old. After that day, none of the bunnies ever laughed at him, and Jack never tried to hop like all the other bunnies again either. “It’s okay to be myself,” he thought, “I’m special the way I am.”
Tommy Womack is a musician & writer and a regular contributor to The East Nashvillian.
Tune in to “Tommy Womack’s Happiness Hour” Monday mornings from 9-10 on WXNA 101.5FM.