The Story of a Candy Rabbit/Chapter 1
THE STORY OF
A CANDY RABBIT
IS HE IN FAIRYLAND?
The Candy Rabbit sat up on his hind legs and looked around. Then he rubbed his pink glass eyes with his front paws. He rubbed his eyes once, he rubbed them twice, he rubbed them three times.
"No, I am not asleep! I am not dreaming," said the Candy Rabbit, speaking to himself in a low voice. "I am wide awake, but what strange things I see! I wonder what it all means!"
On one side of the Candy Rabbit was a large egg. It was larger than any egg the Candy Rabbit had ever seen, and there was a little glass window in one end of the egg.
"This is very strange," said the sweet chap, rubbing his eyes again. "Who ever heard of an egg with a window in it? I wonder if any one lives in that egg? It is not large enough for a house, of course; but still, some very little folk might stay in it. I'll take a look through that window."
The Candy Rabbit gave three hops and stood closer to the large egg. It glittered and sparkled in the light as newly fallen snow glitters under the moon. The Candy Rabbit looked in through the glass window, and what he saw inside the egg made him wonder more and more.
For he saw a church and some houses, a path leading over a little brook of water, and on the bank of the brook stood a little boy fishing.
"Well, I do declare!" exclaimed the Candy Rabbit. "Think of all those things inside an egg—a church, a house and a little boy! I wonder what has happened to me! Yesterday I was on the toy counter, with the Calico Clown and the Monkey on a Stick, and to-day I seem to be in Fairyland. I wonder if this really is Fairyland? I guess I'd better look around some more."
He glanced again through the little glass window in the egg, and he thought he saw the little boy on the bank of the brook smiling at him. And the Candy Rabbit smiled back. Then the Bunny turned around and he saw, near him, a big chocolate egg. It was covered with twists and curlicues of sugar and candy, and in the end of this egg, also, was a glass window.
"Well, this certainly is surprising!" exclaimed the Candy Rabbit. "I wonder what I can see through that window!"
He looked and saw a little duck and a little chicken inside the chocolate egg. The little chicken was on one end of a small seesaw, and the little duck was on the other end. And as the Candy Rabbit looked through the glass window, he saw the seasaw begin to go up and down.
The Candy Rabbit shook his head. Once more he rubbed his paws over his pink glass eyes.
"I have heard of many strange things," he said to himself. "The Sawdust Doll told some of her queer adventures, and so did the White Rocking Horse and the Bold Tin Soldier. But never, in all my life, did I ever see a chocolate egg with a glass window and a little chicken and a duck inside seesawing and teeter-tautering! I think I had better go to the doctor's, something must be the matter with me!"
"What's the matter with you?" suddenly asked a voice behind the Candy Rabbit. The sweet chap turned so quickly that he almost cracked one of his sugary ears. He saw, just back of him, a real fuzzy, furry rabbit. At least the rabbit seemed real, for his ears slowly moved backward and forward, his head turned from side to side, and, every now and then, he would rise on his hind legs and then crouch down again.
"What's the matter with you?" asked this Fuzzy Bunny of the Candy Rabbit.
"I—I really don't know what is the matter," was the answer.
"You seem to be all right," went on the other rabbit, as he slowly turned his head and bobbed up and down.
"Yes, I seem to be," said the Candy Rabbit, feeling his head and body as far as he could reach, as if to make sure no part of him was broken, or lost, or out of place. "But can you tell me this?" he asked. "A little while ago I was on the toy counter of this store with the Calico Clown and the Monkey on a Stick. And now I seem to be in Fairyland. Tell me, am I dreaming, or is this really Fairyland, where eggs have windows in them and hold little chickens and ducks who seesaw?"
The other Rabbit smiled, and kept on bobbing up and down, waving his ears and turning his head from side to side.
"Oh, please stop that and answer me if you can," begged the Candy Rabbit, in rather a sharp voice. "Why do you do that?"
"I have to," was the answer. "I have to keep on doing this until I run down."
"Run down where?" asked the Candy Rabbit.
"I mean until the clock-work inside me runs down," explained the Fuzzy Rabbit. "You see, I am wound up, and when I am wound I have to rise up and stoop down on my hind legs. I have to twist my head and wiggle my ears. I'll go on this way for half an hour more. But don't let that bother you. I can still talk, and I'm glad you're here. You're some company. These eggs never say anything," and with his ears he pointed to the chocolate one and the glittery one, each of which had glass windows.
"Ask him how he likes it here," suggested a voice on the other side of the Candy Rabbit. Turning, he saw a big chocolate chap, almost like himself, except that this Rabbit was very dark in color.
The Chocolate Rabbit waved his ears in a kind way at the Candy Bunny, and went on:
"How do you like it here?"
The Candy Rabbit gave another look around, and the more he looked the more certain he was that he was in Fairyland. Over at one end of what seemed to be a table he saw a little chicken harnessed to a tiny wagon, made from what appeared to be an egg shell, and a little doll sat in the egg-shell carriage, driving the chicken with little silk ribbon horse reins.
Turning around, so that he might not miss anything, the sweet fellow saw a large basket of flowers, and, nestled in among the blossoms, were some Candy Rabbits like himself, only smaller. Over in one corner were piled some cards, with pretty pictures on them, and near them was a small basket, filled with what seemed to be green grass, in which were hidden many small candy eggs.
"Yes, this surely must be Fairyland, and I know I shall like it here," said the Candy Rabbit, speaking half aloud. "But how did I get here, and where are the Calico Clown and the Monkey on a Stick?"
"Oh, they are not so far away," answered the Fuzzy Rabbit. "And you are not really in Fairyland, though this does seem like it, I suppose," and his eyes roved over the gay and pretty scene.
"Then where am I?" asked the Candy Rabbit again. "If this isn't Fairyland, where am I?"
The Chocolate Rabbit grinned.
"You are on the Easter Novelty Counter," was the Fuzzy Rabbit's answer.
"Where in the world is that?" asked the Candy Rabbit. "Is it anywhere near the North Pole Workshop of Santa Claus?"
The Chocolate Rabbit gave a loud laugh.
"He doesn't even know his own store," said this dark-complexioned chap. "Why, my dear fellow," he went on, "the Easter Novelty Counter is just around the corner from the toy section, where you have lived so long. The Calico Clown, the Monkey on a Stick and the other friends you speak of are there. You are not very far away from them."
"That's good," said the Candy Rabbit. "But why am I on the Easter Novelty Counter, and how did I get here?"
"You were put here because this is Easter time," answered the Chocolate Rabbit.
"But I don't remember coming here," said the Candy Rabbit.
"No," said the Fuzzy Babbit with the clock-work inside him, which made him turn about and bow, "I dare say not. You were asleep when one of the girl clerks from your counter brought you over here. But we are glad to have you among us."
Just then it began to get light, for all this talk had taken place in the night, when only a dim light burned in the toy store. And with the coming of morning the clerks arrived, and also the customers to buy Easter novelties and other things.
The Fuzzy Babbit stopped waving his ears and became quiet. The Candy Rabbit no longer talked to the Chocolate Bunny. A girl clerk led a lady, in a warm fur coat, over toward the counter.
"Here are some fine Easter presents," said the girl. "We have rabbits of all kinds."
"I want a large one for a little girl," said the lady. "I promised to send Madeline a nice Bunny." And then the Candy Rabbit felt himself being picked up and looked at.
"Oh, I wonder what is going to happen?" he thought.
The lady in the fur cloak turned the Candy Rabbit around and around, and even upside down, looking carefully at him.