One Saturday morning I drove into Limerick. I had heard they had a fresh market and an organic shop: Green Acres, named after a popular TV show I didn’t know. The actual market was not much to write home about, different to the exquisite fresh and live displays we have in most German towns. I spotted a little black rabbit that I took home as a surprise for my kids.
They were ecstatic and called him Benny Bunny. The same afternoon we built a little timber house for him with an enclosed porch. A lot of sawing and nailing could be heard being done by their father. They helped painting it with creosote to let it withstand the elements. The structure allowed Benny Bunny to nibble at the grass outside his hut while he was safely enclosed by chicken wire. Another plus he couldn’t run away. There was also chicken wire underneath that no critter could dig through. His task was to cut the lawn and the task of my hopeful offspring was to move it a little further everyday and occasionally provide him with a little extra dandelion or something equally scrumptious.
First it was fun, and then they neglected their duties. We had made friends with another German family who were breeding rabbits for meat. That was not our intention, however. Watching my children neglect Benny Bunny for several weeks, I asked them what the problem was. “He shouldn’t be encaged. We like to play with him and he should roam freely.”
“Ok, we are going to set him free and give him his freedom back.” But I didn’t want him too close to my vegetable garden, so I decided to take him beyond the river. From “Watership Down” I seemed to remember that the little fur balls didn’t voluntarily cross a river. I reckoned that would prevent Benny Bunny from coming back and doing damage to the cabbage. We carried him over in a cardboard box and gave him his life back on the other side. On the way back I had my doubts already. Would he make it on his own or be eaten by a fox any time soon? But I kept my thoughts to myself.