Some posts beg to be revisited. The story of OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT and his magnificent Winter Solstice party is one of them (it follows this post). If you would like to know more about this unique and rather extraordinary rabbit visit all the stories under THE CHRONICALS OF OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT. It’s listed under categories in the right hand column. Come into Oswald’s burrow. He would like to get to know you
Oswald, gentleman rabbit, stamped the snow off his rather generous feet. Brushed the ice crystals from his whiskers. Shook the snow off his coat. Almost everything was in place for the grand party. Rabbits far and wide would soon arrive at the burrow to celebrate the winter solstice.
He reached deep into the large pocket of his magic coat. The fragrant smell of cedar and fir, spruce and pine filled the room. The tree roots were wrapped in burlap tied round with holly and ivy vines. Trees of every size circled the room. Touched the ceiling. Sparkled with diamonds of snow.
Again into the pocket of the magic coat. Oswald drew out hamper after hamper marked F & M – Fortnum and Mason. Purveyors of the finest delicacies in London. The large wicker containers held:
Magnificent vegetable patés,
Terrines of leeks and spinach,
Carrot and ginger puddings,
Salads of delicate butter lettuce, and dandelion greens
Gratin of eggplant and tomato
Ginger beer, elderberry wine, raspberry cordial
Mounds of ruby-red radishes and emerald-green asparagus.
Golden persimmons and scarlet pomegranates.
From pale green boxes he filled crystal bowls with sweet treasures from Ladurée;
tiny lemon tarts,
St-Honoré and savarin cakes,
Chocolate yule logs,
Galettes and gâteaus,
Flans and fritters.
Rabbits have a very sweet tooth. Oswald was anxious to have everyone’s favorites.
The room became quiet, very quiet. From the top most branch of the tallest tree came a glorious sound, a single bird singing. A lark ascending. The Christmas bird sang of peace, joy, compassion and happiness. One by one from the surrounding trees more bird song. Soaring, climbing higher and higher until the earth around the burrow vibrated with their music.
Midnight. The candles sputtered. The fire ashen embers. The guests memories.
Oswald, wearing his magic coat, filled the large pocket with the forest of trees. He would plant these trees on clear-cut hills. Along streets and roads where trees struggled to survive. On barren city boulevards. He slipped his watch into the small pocket and became part of the dark, cold night.
Oswald’s gift, so simple, so unassuming, those who lived above the burrow passed the trees by. Not seeing. Thinking they had always been there.
This ends the blog story of Oswald, gentleman rabbit, master gardener. However, the Record Keeper continues to write of Oswald. To record his adventures. One day very soon it will be published. Perhaps there will be pine needles or flower petals pressed between the pages.
I met Edward Bun again today. He was coming from the vegetable garden. Edward Bun is the tiny bunny who watches me through the patio doors.
I was heading to the garden to check on the status of our lettuce. The neighborhood rabbits have been tucking up to the salad bar. The lettuce was being descimated.
Next-door-neighbor and good friend Angela had covered the lettuce with webbing. But to no avail. The mesh had been pulled back and the salad bar was back in business. Interesting. Edward Bun is far to tiny to accomplish this. I see the paw of Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit, in this escapade.
Oswald resides in a deep, deep, very deep rabbit hole. His burrow is quite sumptuous. Oswald does appreciate the good things in life. He adores throwing spectacular parties.
And always orders the finest vegetarian food hampers from Fortnum and Mason. Now he is sharing the very best lettuce with the bunnies on the block. Our lettuce.
Here’s a little known fact about rabbits. They only nibble on the early, tender lettuce leaves. So if Angela and I are going to be able to harvest lettuce for our salads we are going to have to safe guard the tender plants. The Good Husband has fastened the netting down with tent pegs. Even Oswald will not be able to pull these up. We’ve left a lettuce or two for the rabbits for in this world, as in the rabbit world, you must share with others.
Edward Bun will grow up under the sheltering eye of Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit.
In the cold, dark winter nights, deep in the ancient burrow, they’ll sit in front of the fire in the library. Oswald will read to him about the ways of the world while they warm their rabbit feet. Perhaps Edward will grow up and choose to wear a magic coat.
If you haven’t met Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit, read about him and his adventures in the category column on the right. THE CHRONICLES OF OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT.
Several months ago I began writing a fairy tale for adults. It is indeed allegorical. But who is to say it is not real. Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Those who believe in magic will see Oswald, the gentleman rabbit. Oswald is visible in that split second before he puts his watch in his magic pocket, and takes the human form of “those-who-live-above”.
My good friend Ellen believes in magic. Because she believes she sees what non-believers do not. She discovered Oswald in a crowded gift shop. He was on this “magic button”.
My long time friend, Biscuit, who believes in fairies and magic found Oswald tucked amongst some greeting cards.
Oswald is in my heart and in my soul. He lights a path for me on dark, dark days. He takes me away to secret places. He is my alter ego. I share Oswald’s adventures.
I wrote about Oswald for my own enjoyment. To my delight I discovered he was also enchanting many others. This is the final chapter on BEL’OCCHIO but it is not the end of Oswald. The Good Husband has encouraged me to turn the adventures of this amazing rabbit into a book or perhaps several books. In my book Oswald’s latest adventure involves rescuing domestic rabbits who have been abandoned by their owners. The book is a work in progress and it most certainly is a labour of love.
You just have to believe.
P.S. As are many things in fairy tale the beginning of the story of Oswald at the end. Please scroll way down to read about how Oswald came about. Then you can read his stories consecutively – or not.
Oswald paused outside the Walled Garden. The gate was open. That in it self was unusual. The Walled Garden was a safe haven for rabbits. Those who would do them harm could not enter. For the first time in rabbits memory changes had taken place in the Walled Garden.
Lawns had been replaced with flowers. Great drifts of flowers hummed with the music of bees. The most fragrant, pollen-laden flowers had been planted.
Rabbits everywhere in the world above had joined in this cause to bring back the bees. They knew without bees the world could not exist.
Vacant city lots, boulevards, country ditches, abandoned farms , the rabbits planted flowers. Those who lived in The World Above planted along highways and byways . Proudly posting signs like “this stretch of highway planted by Mabel and Tom Smithers”.
Oswald, gentleman rabbit , quietly watched as the world took up the rabbits cause. The meeting with the gardeners of Girveny was a success. Perhaps, he thought, we rabbits have indeed pulled bees out of a hat.
The dark was closing in. Oswald moved his chair closer to the fire. Outside his burrow Oswald heard the wind lashing at the trees. It was not a fit night for rabbit or man to be about.
He lifted the book he was reading. Inhaled the aroma of the leather bindings and musty pages. He did so love books. His nose wrinkled and caught an inky aroma. Old books have such a marvelous perfume.
Rabbits are voracious readers. Nocturnal by nature they spend hours deep below the earth in their comfortable burrows. Their libraries are vast. Larger than the largest in the world above. Older than the oldest books.
Oswald had been reading one of his many books on botany. His library had the largest collection of gardening books in the world. Everything that grows are the responsibility of all rabbits.
Tonight he was dining with old friends from Giverney. Clad in their magic coats they had worked on the gardens of the old painter for more than one hundred years. Oswald had a few sketches by him. Carefully framed they hung above the fireplace.
Pierre worked in the flower garden, Clos Normand. He was particularly fond of irises. Every fall he carefully divided the flowers and added to the long garden. Since the sixth century AD rabbits had cultivated and cared for this flower, a symbol of France.
Jean, on the other side of the road, laboured in the Japanese Water garden. This garden and all that was in it was his responsibility.
There was much for these rabbits to discuss. Tonight it concerned bees, or rather the lack of bees and the consequences.
Oswald looked at his pocket watch. Even rabbits must make reservations. For more than one hundred years Oswald and his two gardening friends had dined at La Fontaine de Mars, on Rue Saint-Dominique. Not much had changed. Oswald had to admit it had taken time to become accustomed to the red and white checked tablecloths, but it was so familiar to him.
He reached for his scarlet coat. Adjusted the ruffles at his throat, then put his watch in the pocket.
He had arrived at 129 Rue Saint-Dominique.
Oswald’s great, great, great, more greats than the stars above grand-parents lived for centuries in the Tuileries Garden in the centre of Paris. Each “great” chose his own magic garment. Opera clocks lined in scarlet were a particular favorite with many Parisian rabbit. When darkness fell they would slip their watches into a magic pocket and become elegant Parisian gentlemen. You would find them in coffee houses, at the opera, perusing antiquarian book stores and of course walking in the Tuileries Garden.
The heart of an adventurer beat in the furry body of Oswald’s great-grandfather. One day he slipped on his magic coat, pocketed his watch, and at once became part of the new world. He and his family lived a bucolic life in the country. Now a centuries later Oswald and Ma (short for Mahitabel), Oswald’s younger sister, were the only family s left in the ancient burrow.
Oswald strolled in the park of his ancestors. His shoes covered with the silvery dust that was part of Paris. He had dined at the same cafe, Cafe Procopi. Poked through the book stores on Rue Bûcherie. Walked in his family’s footsteps.
Oswald carefully locked the door of his room in a hotel just off Rue Bûcherie. Changing ones shape is exhausting. You must change from human form back to your own body for at least an hour every day. In this manner a rabbit will never age, nor will his human form. Oswald took out his pocket watch. It hung it from a leather strap. He slipped it into the magic pocket.
He was back in his burrow. Once again he was Oswald, gentleman rabbit.
Oswald stirred uneasily in his chair. The leather sighed as he moved. It was his favorite chair . A chair of Worn, soft leather quietly leaking its horsehair stuffing.
He reached over and cranked the Victrola. Carefully he sat the needle down. From the golden Victrola horn a Paganini violin concerto filled the room. Soared to the high Gothic arches created by massive oak roots. The room was in shadows.
The fireplace the only light. Gilt lettering on leather-bound books reflected it back.
He rose and stood before the dusty, foxed mirror. Eyes black as a raven’s wing looked back at him. Then, and only then he lifted the coat from its layers of tissue paper. A magnificent garment of crimson velvet. Splashed with gold epaulettes. Reaching inside the coat he felt for the small watch pocket. Placing his watch in that pocket he could travel the world in an instant. He felt for a second deeper pocket. This pocket was bottomless. It would hold all he desired. There was magic sewn into every stitch, every seam of this scarlet coat.
Oswald slipped into the coat. He faced the mirror. It reflected a tall, intense, young man clad in a gorgeous, crimson coat. Oswald looked back into the comfortable, familiar room. Then Oswald, gentleman rabbit, turned off his Victrola, said good-by to his burrow, put his watch in the magic pocket, and stepped into the world above.
PRIORITISE: To arrange items to be attended to in order of their relative importance.
October is a lovely time of year in the lower mainland. The days are crisp sunny. Flowers are still putting on a show. I have a laundry list of things to accomplish today. But first a stroll around the garden. I lift my face to the sun. Bask in its warmth. I’m not alone. A gentleman rabbit, who has been helping me harvest beets all summer, was taking the rays under a hydrangea bush. Startled he took two giant hops into the driveway. Then froze. If he didn’t move I wouldn’t see him. “Take the sun” I say. “You’ve a difficult, cold winter ahead”. I walk back into the house. Forget the laundry list. It is magic I need today. I need to be sewing velvet winter coats for rabbits.
The gentleman rabbit needs a rich velvet jacket. Something with gold epaulettes.
In red velvet.
With a pocket for his watch.
And a hat. Surely Craig’s List would have a top hat to fit a rabbit.
Check under Magicians for a top-hat, barely used by one rabbit.
Or perhaps something more military, more dashing.
For Mahitabel Rabbit, his sister, a royal purple or perhaps moss green velvet cape.
With a deep hood to keep enormous ears warm.
Lined with ivory silk
Ruched and gathered.
And a tiny pocket for a purse embellished with for- get-me-nots.
The magic is back in my day. I have prioritized.