A BUNNY FOR MELLY ANN
Melly Ann wanted a bunny. A baby bunny. Janey had a kitty and Mikey had a puppy, but Melly Ann did not have a pet.
“Oh, you do too have a pet, Melly Ann!” said Janey. “Look, here’s your soft teddy bear!”
“But Teddy doesn’t purr or lick my face or come when I call him,” said Melly Ann. “I want an alive baby bunny for my very own!”
Mama had read stories to Melly Ann about Peter Cottontail and Bugs Bunny, but they weren’t real bunnies. Melly Ann liked for Mama to read the Baby Animals book to her because it had a picture of a real live bunny. The bunny was brown speckled with big brown eyes and soft twitchy ears. That was the kind of bunny Melly Ann wanted. And she had even seen one!
One day when she and Janey were out in the yard, she had seen a little bunny go hopping along the fence at the end of the yard. She had run after it. She would catch it for her very own bunny! But it hopped away very fast and her stubby little legs wouldn’t run hard enough. Melly Ann sighed.
She sat down on the porch step and wondered about the baby bunny. Would it come again? Could she catch it? She thought very hard. “Let’s see, bunnies like carrots. Mama has carrots in the ice box. Yes!” Melly Ann ran into the house and got a nice big carrot with green tops still on it and ran back outside.
She ran down to the end of the yard and sat down by the fence where the bunny had been hopping. She sat very still and held the carrot in her lap. She sat there for a long time. But the bunny did not come back. She sat there until Mama came to the door and called her in for lunch.
Melly Ann took the carrot back inside and put it under her chair while she ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drank a cup of milk. “I have something to do before I take my nap,” she told her Mama. “Is that OK?”
“Just don’t be too long,” said Mama.
“OK!” Melly Ann grabbed her carrot and found a shoe box in the closet. She took the box and the carrot out to the yard and down by the fence. She laid the carrot down on the grass, put the shoebox on top of it and then propped up one end with a stick she’d found nearby. “There!” said Melly Ann. “Now I can catch a bunny for my own pet!” And she skipped happily inside to take her nap.
It was hard for Melly Ann to sleep, but when she did, she dreamed of a little brown bunny. As soon as her eyes popped open, she jumped out of bed and ran outdoors to see her bunny. There was the shoebox and the carrot and the stick, but there was no bunny.
Didn’t the bunny like carrots? Maybe this bunny was too little to eat carrots. They WERE very hard. Mama had to cut Melly Ann’s carrots in little pieces before she could eat them. Or, sometimes Mama put cooked carrots, out of a can, on Melly Ann’s plate. Maybe… Melly Ann ran back to the house.
Mama was making a pie. Her hands were all floury and she was rolling out pie crust. “What are we having for supper, Mama?” asked Melly Ann.
“Well, for desert, we’re having cherry pie!” Mama answered.
“But what are we having for the first part; you know, the eat-your-vegetables part?”
“We’re having pork steak and gravy, and potatoes and green beans.”
“Oh, couldn’t we have carrots instead?” asked Melly Ann.
“Carrots? Since when did you start liking carrots?” Mama asked.
Melly Ann thought a minute. She really didn’t like carrots very well but she ate them. “Oh, I like a little bit of carrots, Mama,” she explained. “But right now I need some out of the can to catch a baby bunny.”
“What?” exclaimed her mama, “How on earth are you going to catch a baby bunny?”
Melly Ann explained about the shoebox and the big hard carrot and how baby bunnies probably needed soft carrots and she really wanted a baby bunny and could Mama please help?
Mama wiped her hands on a towel and opened the cupboard. She got out a can of carrots and the can opener with the red handle. When the can was open, she lifted out a few of the carrot pieces and put them in a saucer. The almost full can she put in the refrigerator. “Now, don’t forget to bring the saucer back, Melly Ann.” She kissed Melly Ann on top of her head and shooed her out the door.
“Now I’ll catch a bunny!” Melly Ann said as she put the saucer of carrots under the shoe box. “But I’d better go inside so I won’t scare the baby bunny!”
And she did just that. “How long is a long time, Mommy?” asked Melly Ann.
“Oh probably an hour, dear,” her mama said.
Melly Ann looked at the clock. “When is an hour, Mama?”
Mama pointed to the hands of the clock. When the big hand is on the 4 and the little hand is on the 6 it will be an hour. OK?”
Melly Ann sat in front of the clock and waited. She didn’t see Mikey’s puppy knock over the shoebox and eat the carrots. But when she saw the saucer licked clean and the shoebox knocked over she knew she would not catch a bunny in her trap. She ran into the house, crying, and told Mama she guessed she would never have a bunny of her own.
Mama hugged her and said, “Well, Melly Ann, wild bunnies are not meant for little girls to have for pets. They would be very sad to be in a cage. Let me think about this for a while.”
Melly Ann sniffled a bit then found all the books about bunnies and sat on the couch. She was sad.
The next day when Daddy came home from work, he had a box under his arm. “Where’s Melly Ann?” he called.
“Here I am, Daddy.” Melly Ann ran to him for a hug. “What’s in the box, Daddy?” asked the little girl.
“Well, let’s see.” Daddy put the box on the floor and opened it. Inside were two bowls and a bag of something that had a bunny on the front.
“What is that”, asked Melly Ann.
“Why, it’s for a bunny,” said Daddy.
“I don’t have a bunny,” said Melly Ann sadly. “I couldn’t catch one.”
“Come outside and see what I found!” Daddy scooped up Melly Ann and they headed for the truck. Daddy opened the door and there on the seat, in a cage, sat a little brown bunny! It had long floppy ears and was nibbling on a lettuce leaf!
“Daddy! Daddy! How did you catch it?” Melly Ann cried. “Won’t it be sad in a cage?”
“Not this one, said Daddy. This is a bunny from the pet shop and it is used to being in a cage. Come, let’s take it in the house and show Mama!”
And now Janey had a cat and Mikey had a puppy and Melly Ann had her very own bunny!