Today’s Guest Poster is our very own Puffy the Magic Dragon. It is – I hope – the start of a new series. Charge your glasses, fellow Pubsters, as we embark on a voyage of discovery!
(Image Credit: Watership-Down-Under)
Tithy snuggled down in his dark, cosy, clean-earth-scented bunk-room in the Great Southern Warren, twitching his rabbit ears for sounds of returning bunnies. He knew they had gone for a forage, looking for new patches of sweet plants to eat. Tithy stayed behind, resting with a headache. Thinking of eagles, and Willie, gave him migraines.
Tithy sighed loudly. It was hard being Top Rabbit. It was easier before he won the Big Count last season. Now everyone wanted everything sorted. They chattered throughout the night about how they needed new tunnels or how they did not like the new roster for tunnelling. Then there was Jinny who wanted to dig a new warren wing all for herself, even if it meant moving some of the Elders.
The kitchen staff kept complaining that the food supply was getting lower. But the young rabbits were too busy playing hide-and-seek because no-one was teaching them how to find the best food. All the older folk were not happy about doing daily food forages when the young ones were not learning anything, and they all expected him to fix it.
Tithy called for Mellie. She kindly shifted the cold compress between his ears, and said, ‘Tithy, my dear, you cannot stay here. Look at your stick-board. You have a visit to the hospital wing this afternoon, a session in the kitten nursery, and you are opening the new gym tomorrow morning. Remember your words, “A fit rabbit is a happy rabbit”.’
Mellie boxed Tithy’s ears. ‘Are you listening to me? GET UP.’
‘OK, OK. But when do I get a holiday?’
‘You had one last month, remember – you spent a week, well two days actually, with the Elders on level five.’
‘I said holiday. Not work. If I claim travel carrots for it, it is not a holiday. We agreed on that in parley time.’
Mellie kicked Tithy right on his white tail. When he bounced back off the wall, he gave in, and whimpered, ‘I am up already, see. Where is everyone?’
‘Well, Slotto is waterboarding er bathing those rabbits who came down to the door of the warren saying they are running from a brushfire.’
Tithy replied, with a grimace, ‘They did smell of smoke but that could be a screen. Ha ha, Mellie. Smoke-screen. I made a joke. Smoke. Screen. Smoke-screen.’
She gave Tithy an indulgent smile. ‘Yes, dear.’
Meanwhile, out In The Bush, the foraging party came across some succulent wild melon plants. The green vines, huge leaves, and fat yellow melons nestling on the bank of the quiet creek were magnificent. They saw no less than ten melons, each the size of a rabbit’s hind leg.
The arguing started immediately. ‘Let’s chew off this one at the base and take it all back to the kitchen. Everyone will be thrilled. We will get a fern crown for sure,’ said Histo-Purr in his squeaky voice. His vocal cords had never quite grown up.
‘Don’t be a dunce, just take those nice ripe melons, they will make fantastic melon sauce to have with our mushroom bake. And when the next melon ripens we can get more. We can have melons all Warm Season!’ rejoiced Willie.
‘Aw, not you again, you always rabbit on so. Stopping us from our fun. We don’t need more later, there is always another plant. And don’t start on that grassfire nonsense. Three of our wise ones said it will never happen. We are listening to them!’ yelled Hoek as he pulled up the plant. ‘Come on guys, er and girlies, grab a vine and help me carry it home.’
(Image Credit: An American in Australia)
Tithy met them at the tunnel door. He waved a eucalyptus leaf back and forth in their honour, and led the foraging party down the tunnel to the parley room. All the rabbits were waiting. Top Rabbit Tithy proclaimed a holiday. (Except for the cleaners. And the female rabbits. Of course.)
‘See, I told you I had it all worked out. And look at our brave Forage Rabbits. They deserve a fern crown, and shall have one!’ (‘Except for Willie,’ he whispered to Mellie.)
Laura shouted very loudly, ‘But what about the smokey rabbits? That is three this week and two the week before. They say they had to hop fast from their warren as smoke was all over the place. They say it is getting hotter and windier on the plains and no grass is growing.’
Kindo spoke softly, ‘We should bring the smokey rabbits in here, give them some green tea and ask what happened. We need to know what might happen to our own warren.’
Morin jumped up. ‘This is a great warren, a safe warren. We have a great leader, our Tithy. Since he took over from Scarlet, you can see how much safer it is. We do not have to move. We have food and the dingos are far away. Nothing is going to happen to OUR home. These smokeys, they say there is no food in their plain. So they are coming here for OUR food, soon there will be enough plains rabbits to take over and throw us out. And those stories of smoke, they are lies, We all know plains rabbits are sneaks.’
Orda chimed in. ‘Yes, Laura and Morin are right. We must stop the plains rabbits. Drive them away. And anyone who does not want to help can get out!’
Not all the rabbits thumped in agreement but the ones who did thumped very loudly. The wet rabbits in the cells could feel it and wondered where the common rabbit-code had gone to in this strange warren.
Tithy raised his hand. ‘Now, now. Let me and my mini-stares think on the best thing to do. Just trust me.’ More enthusiastic thumping followed this proclamation. It went on and on because no-one wanted to be seen to be the first to stop. In the end, Mellie gave a throat slitting gesture and silence immediately prevailed.
Tithy, his day’s work done, settled in his bunk room to scratch out a speech to give at the kitten nursery. The smokey plains rabbits dripped water from their fur, way down in level 25, the one with the thickest walls.
The rabbit-brethren gathered for Melon Soup, and in the High Dining Room, the Top Rabbit and his Mini-Stares dined on sauté melon chunks and roasted melon root.
In a private tunnel, Willie and his followers met to plan.
‘The next Big Count is not for another six moon rises. This warren could fall in soon. Really collapse. No one is repairing the walls properly any more, there are leaks in the right quadrant and the roof is getting soft. Our young ones are not being taught how to burrow safely and no-one is looking after the old rabbits. And meanwhile Tithy just plays games and writes speeches. Willie has to win the next Big Count,’ said Tani-Ash. She was a wise rabbit.
Willie stroked the ground with his foot, and smiled his usual calm smile.
‘Just remember that song, my friends. Run Tithy, run.’
(Image Credit: Animalzfun)