The rabbit who hated carrots

Many years ago, even before most of people in this church were born.
          There was a lovely white rabbit called Bobby. But he wasn’t a happy bunny. None of the other rabbits would talk to him. Even the girl rabbits didn’t giggle or blush (and rabbits do giggle and blush, in this story anyway) when they saw him like they did with the other boy rabbits. And he was left out of all the rabbity games.
          Bobby was very lonely and so he hopped along to the only friend he had, to Scrubber, a wise but lazy and smelly cat who was ignored by all the local animals. Even the dogs avoided Scrubber.
          Tell me, said Bobby as he sat on his hind legs (just that little bit away to avoid the Scrubber smell), why will no one play with me? I don’t look any different (in fact I’ve a nicer tail and can hop with the best of them).
          Ah said Scrubber, they don’t like the way you do things, they don’t like particularly that you don’t eat carrots. They think that to be a real rabbit you have to love carrots!
          But I am a real rabbit, said Bobby, and I hate carrots— they make me sick. I want parity of esteem. Of course, you are a real rabbit, said Scrubber. But you’re a Dissenting rabbit with your own mind. You are like those rabbits in Stephen’s Green. A brave little rabbit who will not be forced to eat carrots. Sometimes it can take courage to be different, and one day the other rabbits will see this. In fact, I think, one day they’ll make you Chief rabbit.
          Then you, said Bobby, could be Head Cat if you cleaned up a bit and stopped guzzling fish. Come Scrubber my friend, he said, let’s be brave together and face our rabbity catty worlds.
          So as Bobby and Scrubber hopped and trotted off through the long grass, Scrubber explained. “You see,” he said, “You can be a rabbit who loves carrots, a rabbit who loves them sometimes, or a rabbit who does not love them at all. This is what the Animal-Rabbit Agreement says, remember it was signed by Bertie Rabbit, Tony Rabbit and Peter Rabbit”
          And look, said Scrubber, look over there. And just a metre away, Bobby saw Floppsie, the prettiest girl rabbit of them all, Floppsie who for two summers had wanted to burrow away with Bobby, even if he was a carrot hater. Go say hallo, said Scrubber, you’e got to take risks if you want to make friends. And so, late that afternoon Bobby and Floppsie chased rainbows, until the earth moved, and the sun went down.

Paul Murray