There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.
I think I owe our Saturn an apology.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"I wrote about our Saturn here. But in case you need a recap, we got our Saturn plenty of years ago when we got married. It needs replacing and Adam won’t.
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy–so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail becoming unsewn, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.
It’s less sentimental and more fiscal. It’s long since paid for and still gets great gas mileage. Every time I tell Adam to get a new car he tells me his recent gas mileage (he may or may not be making it up).
"Give me my Bunny!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"
It’s been a good little car. But I am done with the Saturn. Done.
At least I was Saturday. I had to drive Emma to a party and Braeden and Adam were delivering phone books with the scouts and using our van. That Saturn rattles and shakes and I think at any minute it’s going to fall to pieces. I called Adam to complain and request the van back, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Adam still needed the van.
I (sighing deeply and trying to be the martyr but I can never quite pull it off) said OK, I’d drive to the play with Mark…in the Saturn.
Adam finished earlier than he thought and met me at the am/pm for a switch.
I got to take the van and dusted the Saturn dust off my hands. Happily.
Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.
Then there was last night. We were going to the church for a Christmas fireside. It was going to be lovely and I look forward to it every year. And the roads were icy. We didn’t think our van—which does lousy in the snow and ice—would make it.
But the Saturn would.
And it did! That’s one good little car.
I’m sorry for the ill will I harbored against you and your stubborn owner. You are loved.
You ARE real.
"Run and play, little Rabbit!" she said.
But the little Rabbit sat quite still for a moment and never moved. For when he saw all the wild rabbits dancing around him he suddenly remembered about his hind legs, and he didn't want them to see that he was made all in one piece. He did not know that when the Fairy kissed him that last time she had changed him altogether. And he might have sat there a long time, too shy to move, if just then something hadn't tickled his nose, and before he thought what he was doing he lifted his hind toe to scratch it.
And he found that he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited that when at last he did stop to look for the Fairy she had gone.
He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits.
By the way: The play I took Mark to was The Velveteen Rabbit. I know, you never would have guessed.