What Is Not Yours

There once was a great tribe of jackrabbits that lived in the rocky crags of the Primary Mountains. Their numbers were in the hundreds, and they were a fierce force to be reckoned with for the strength of their limbs and their wit. These rabbits could hop from rock to rock, up the mountain slopes, outpacing predators and making fools of prey.

One foggy morning, Charlotte, the lead jackrabbit, told a score of her colleagues that they should go down into the foothills to find some fresh greens. “Alright, now who of you is brave enough, strong enough, jackrabbit enough to head down into the foothills to fetch some spinach from the old farmer’s field for a morning meal and to be back by noon?” she inquired.

“Aye, that would be me!” Velvet said, raising her paw.

“And me!” Christopher chimed. About twenty jackrabbits raised their paws, shouted, and agreed to join Charlotte’s party.

“Then let’s go down there and eat them leafy greens!”

“Huzzah!” The jackrabbits cried.

“Follow me!” Charlotte shouted, hopping on her way down the mountain.

“Wait!” Charlotte’s mouther, Lee Anne, called from the fringes. Her hairs were gray and all knew she was filled with wisdom. “It is not right to take what is not yours. Where do you intend to get these fresh greens?” Lee Anne asked, cautiously.

“Oh, mum. You’re no fun! We will take only a small portion from the field. The farmer shant even know anything is gone. Besides, we are quick with our wit and our paws. We won’t even be caught or found out!”

Lee Anne shook her head and said, “You are free to go. Just know that you have been warned.”

Some of Charlotte’s party shuffled on their paws. “If anyone is afraid after hearing my mum’s words, step down now…”

Ten rabbits slunk backwards away from the group, heeding Lee Anne’s words.

“We’ll follow you,” Velvet said.

“We’re up for the adventure!” Christopher added.

“Alright… onwards.” Charlotte flicked her ears toward her mother, kicked her paws backward in disdain, and hopped down the mountain.

 

The fog was still thick on the valley as they descended the rocky slopes. The twelve bold, jackrabbits sprung across the valley floor until they arrived at the fertile, brown fields of the spinach farmers.

“Alas, we are here!” Take your pleasure and eat your fill. The rabbits were ravenous. They dug their way into the fresh, leafy greens and scattered themselves throughout the irrigated rows. Charlotte dove right in, and started nibbling on the fresh spinach.

“It’s so good!” Velvet munched.

“Delicious!” Christopher shouted.

“Just what we need!” Charlotte smiled, grabbing a stalk of spinach in each hand.

As the jackrabbits ate and ate, a spinach farmer emerged from the fog, fluttering through the fields tending to his crops. The green Frutopian saw the rabbits grazing in his field and silently gasped. He quickly turned around and flew back off into the fog, and the jackrabbits continued to eat!

 

The sun was rising high in the sky, and the fog slowly began to wane away. Before the jackrabbits were finished eating their food, a trumpet sounded and a voice called out. “You are surrounded. Don’t move!”

The jackrabbits’ ears shot up and the spinach dropped from their hands. A circle of armed Frutopians marched in around them. There were massive sweet potatoes with clubs, apples with axes, broccoli with swords, and a wheat stalk with a spear. The wheat stalk stepped forward as the spinachfly fluttered at his shoulder with its stem pointing right at Charlotte and her friends.

“There she is. She’s the one in charge!” Charlotte gulped.

“You!” the wheat stalk wore a crown, and it was obvious he was the famed King Wheaton. “What do you think you are doing?”

“Having a bite to eat,” choked Charlotte.

“Don’t you know the law?” asked King Wheaton. “You cannot take what is not yours.”

Charlotte swallowed and her nose twitched as tears began to well in her eyes. “Yes…” she admitted.

“Then why do you do it?” the king asked.

“I wanted some fresh greens,” Charlotte’s whiskers quivered and shook.

“You could have just asked,” the spinach farmer said with his stems crossed.

“We’re sorry,” Charlotte’s friends said.

“Sorrow is the first step. A true pentant heart sets right what is wrong. In order to set all this right, you must aide the spinach farmer in planting a new crop. Once the crop is planted, you jackrabbits shall be banished and never allowed to enter Frutopia Valley again!”

The jackrabbits’ ears fell down, their noses twitched, and their whiskers drooped.

“We can help plant new rows of spinach for you,” Charlotte said, nodding her head and wiping her tears.

“We shall see. These good Frutopians will watch you to make sure the task is completed,” King Wheaton said as he motioned to the wide array of Frutopians around them.

The jackrabbits were handed shovels, hoes, and new seed. They shoveled and replaced rows of spinach, working all morning and late into the afternoon. Once the task was complete, the jackrabbits were escorted to the base of the Primary Mountains.

“Go ahead… better think twice before returning to Frutopia Valley!” a large sweet potato said as he waved them off into the hills. With their tails between their legs, they hopped their way up the mountain. They arrived back at their town as the sun was beginning to set.

 

“Where were you all day?” Lee Ann asked upon their arrival.

“We got caught,” Charlotte explained. “They made us replant the spinach we ate.”

“And now we are banished from returning to the valley floor,” Velvet said.

“My goodness,” Lee Ann said looking at them with understanding. “I’m sorry to hear that happened. It reminds me of a lesson my mum told me, ‘If you go about taking what is not yours, you’ll get in trouble and close lots of doors.’”

 

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