Once upon a time there was a little white rabbit who was born into a large family of other white rabbits. When she was very small, her mother taught her that it was important for her to keep her beautiful white fur very white because, ‘we are not like other rabbits’, she said. The little white rabbit was a happy little rabbit at first. She played with all her sisters and she tried to listen very carefully to Mother Rabbit’s stories about keeping her fur clean.
Something very strange began to happen to Little White Rabbit. Daddy Rabbit started asking her to do funny things that made her fur dirty. Daddy Rabbit would whisper to her, when she felt ashamed of her dirty fur, that it was okay, it was their little secret. He would say he loved her best of all. She started to realize that Daddy Rabbit’s fur was dirty, too, but Mother Rabbit didn’t seem to notice that Daddy Rabbit’s fur was dirty and that Little White Rabbit’s fur was also dirty. She just fought with Daddy Rabbit a lot because Daddy Rabbit didn’t like her stories about keeping his fur clean. All Little White Rabbit’s sisters were very good white rabbits and listened carefully to Mother Rabbit and kept their fur very clean.
Little White Rabbit often felt guilty about having dirty fur, but Daddy Rabbit would whisper to her that she shouldn’t say anything, it was all her fault that her fur was getting dirty. She spent a lot of time worried and anxious, but she really wanted Daddy Rabbit to love her, so she didn’t say anything to her mother at all.
One day, Little White Rabbit’s older sister saw Little White Rabbit with Daddy Rabbit doing some things that Mother Rabbit said made their fur dirty. She ran to Mother Rabbit and told her. Mother and Daddy Rabbit had a huge fight. Daddy Rabbit had to go away, and Little White Rabbit knew it was all her fault. Mother Rabbit began to tell her more and more stories about how to keep her fur clean, but all the time, Little White Rabbit knew that Mother Rabbit was ashamed of Little White Rabbit’s dirty fur.
Little White Rabbit got older. She missed Daddy Rabbit very much. She missed how he would tell her he loved her best. She missed the happy feeling she had of being special. With Mother Rabbit, she just felt ashamed and sad. With her sisters, she always knew that they felt that they were better rabbits than she was because their fur had never gotten dirty like Little White Rabbit’s.
Little White Rabbit began meeting other boy rabbits whenever she went out of her burrow. These boy rabbits would try to make her feel special and say they loved her, so sometimes Little White Rabbit would do some things that made her fur dirty with the boy rabbits. She was very confused. She wanted so much to feel special, to feel loved. She didn’t like feeling sad and ashamed like she did with her mother and her sisters. She was so much happier with the boy rabbits that wanted her to do exactly what her mother told her she shouldn’t do.
After a while, though, Little White Rabbit started to realize that the boy rabbits would just make her feel special and loved until she did things that made her fur dirty, and then they would go away after some time. By the time Little White Rabbit wasn’t ‘little’ White Rabbit anymore, but just ‘White Rabbit’, she was tired of the boy rabbits and the sadness they caused her. She decided that she would find other ways to be happy.
White Rabbit went off to a nearby burrow and started looking after baby rabbits. Mother Rabbit started telling her stories to White Rabbit again and White Rabbit tried to like the stories and to keep her fur clean like Mother Rabbit kept saying was the way to do. Time went by, and White Rabbit began to believe that all life had to offer her was looking after baby rabbits that weren’t hers. She began to feel very sad.
Sometimes boy rabbits came along and said nice things to White Rabbit and tried to make her feel special. White Rabbit sometimes listened, sometimes went with the boy rabbits, but she never wanted to do anything to make her fur dirty. She just felt sad, because the boy rabbits just weren’t right – they always did or said something that made her scared that they would be like Daddy Rabbit or that some day she and the boy rabbit would fight like Mother and Daddy Rabbit did.
White Rabbit got older. She stopped believing that anything good would happen in her life. Mother Rabbit and her sister rabbits continued to tell stories about keeping fur clean. White Rabbit couldn’t see anything getting better in her life. She tried to be happy looking after the baby rabbits and listening to Mother Rabbit’s stories. Time continued to pass, life for White Rabbit didn’t get any better.
Suddenly one day, White Rabbit decided to go to a far away burrow. All White Rabbit’s family said she was doing something very silly. White Rabbit knew she wasn’t happy. She knew she’d never been happy in her whole life. She felt that her only chance at happiness was to go away and find a new life where Mother Rabbit and sister rabbits weren’t always making her feel guilty for having gotten her fur dirty and not really wanting to talk about ways to keep her fur clean.
So, she went away. In Far Away Burrow, White Rabbit felt peaceful for the first time in a very long time. She felt like no one was trying to make her something different than what she was. White Rabbit began to make new friends. Her new friends never made her feel guilty or talked about keeping their fur clean. White Rabbit began to realize that all the years she had been scared of getting her fur dirty, she’d been thinking about the wrong things. What was important was living and loving and caring about others, not caring if their fur was dirty – sometimes rabbits got their fur dirty and it wasn’t their fault and even if it was their fault, she could choose to be with them or not. The important thing was to have choices and make them yourself, not let other people make them for you.
Once White Rabbit understood this, she felt so happy. Finally one day she met Man Rabbit in Far Away Burrow and they started a life together. The man rabbit wasn’t white, he was a different colour than her, but that didn’t matter, because he loved her and she loved him.
After a few years, she went home to her burrow with Man Rabbit. When Mother Rabbit saw how much Man Rabbit loved White Rabbit, even though years ago Mother Rabbit had told her that she should only marry a white man rabbit, at last Mother Rabbit understood that it was the heart that mattered, not the outside. White Rabbit and Man Rabbit were so happy together, Mother Rabbit couldn’t help but love Man Rabbit too.