“I demand that you reverse this!” he cried. “I insist on a refund!”
Of course, it came out a bit garbled. It is exceedingly difficult to speak through rabbit teeth.
The magician looked down at him. Not that he had a choice, really. As a human, he’d been quite tall. Now, as a rabbit, there was really no choice but to be looked down upon.
“I don’t see what you’re complaining about,” the magician insisted. “As far as I’m concerned, I did exactly what was asked of me.”
“You shan’t have a refund,” he said. “Not that you’d have any place to put it.”
“This is a travesty!” he cried, shrilly, for as a rabbit, one cannot help but become a bit shrill. “I am the royal spymaster and I insist upon being treated with respect! I should have known better than to come to a cut-rate hack like you!”
“You cut me to the bone, sir,” the magician said in a bored tone. “I have done exactly what you’ve asked of me. You wanted me to turn you into an animal, to ease your royal spy-mastering duties and I have done so.”
“An animal! You call this an animal?” he huffed. “This is beneath my station! I wanted to be something noble! Why couldn’t you have turned me into a stallion? Or a noble grey wolf?”
“Right,” said the magician. “Because a big grey wolf wouldn’t look at all conspicuous in the throne room.”
“Ah,” said the spymaster. “I see.”
He had, perhaps, not thought this through all the way.
“Besides,” said the magician, sitting down behind his desk. “Who cares about noble? You’re right cute, you are. If I didn’t know what a grumpy crank you are, I’d even try to pet you.”
The spymaster glared at him. Well, at least as much as a rabbit can glare. The magician was unfazed.
“Now, then,” he said. “Off with you. Onto to your duties or your carrot-eating or whatever it is you wish to do. Come back when you’ve done your business and I’ll turn you back.”
Thus, the fuzzy spymaster had no choice but to hippity-hop his way out of the magician’s workroom. He would, he decided, go to the king. The king would order the magician to turn him back and give him a refund and all would be well with the world. And he would no longer have an inordinate craving for lettuce. Or so he hoped.
The path from the magician’s workroom to the palace was under a mile – not very far on human feet, but on bunny feet, he discovered, it was a good deal more difficult. After a little while of hopping, he discovered that the dirt road was hell on the sensitive pads of his little bunny feet.
Oh, yes, he swore. That magician would pay.
It was dangerous, too. Damn near impossible to dodge all of the feet and wheels that clogged the road. Boots hurt a lot, he discovered, when one stepped on his fluffy white tail, now no longer nearly so white or so fluffy.
But he kept hopping, for what choice did he have, really?
He was nearly halfway there when, over the murmur of voices and the shuffling of feet, he heard a screech, high above him in the sky. He didn’t have to look up to know it was an eagle and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it was coming for him.
So he starting hopping in earnest, leaping like a rabbit possessed, his little heart beating like mad. And he felt the swoop of talons along the fur of his back – just barely missing by a hair – as he leapt beneath the safety of a stationary vegetable cart.
Was it coming back? Was it waiting for him? Would it try again?
Eyes wide in terror, he peeked out from the gloom. He didn’t see the eagle… but that didn’t mean that it was safe. He waited for what felt like an eternity, waiting for his heartbeat to slow and for his little paws to stop shaking.
It felt like hours, but was probably only a few minutes, as human time goes. Finally, he peered out once more from beneath the cart, whiskered nose wiggling. Nothing. He couldn’t smell an eagle, or see one. And while that didn’t mean it was safe, he knew he couldn’t hide there forever.
He managed the rest of the journey eagle-free. The guards at the castle gate didn’t so much as blink at him as he hopped through. He supposed he was beneath their notice, now. On he hopped, through the courtyard and up the steps. A great sense of relief descended upon him as he hopped into the throne room.
Now, he knew, he would be all right. The king would come to his aid and all would be well.
These were the thoughts he had before a pair of hands swooped down and picked him up.
“Unhand me! You foul – ”
These were the words he restrained himself from saying as he found himself being turned to look into a pair of big brown eyes.
“What an adorable bunny rabbit,” the princess said.
She had, he noted, a very nice voice, soothing and somehow melodious. He had, regrettably, not had the chance to note this earlier because, quite frankly, as a human, the princess had never given the time of day.
As a rabbit, apparently, things had changed.
He felt a delicious shiver go down his little spine as she stroked his fur with gentle fingers. His long ears perked up as she spoke again.
“Oh, Father,” she said. “He’s so cute…. Can I keep him?”
Maybe, he thought, being a rabbit can have its perks.
Pride Rabbit Eagle