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The Moonlight Rabbit

In the days when kings ruled the lands, and princesses set out to find their sole mates, a beautiful woman lived in a very poor village where she was forced to work. Her beautiful chestnut hair flowed down her back and gave the impression of a waterfall. Her eyes were like the ocean when it sparkled in the sun; her skin tan from working in the daylight so long. But her hands were rough and bleeding from carrying bricks every day. She wore tattered rags and no shoes. A small white rabbit perched on her shoulder.

Now, there was also a man, a servant of the finest king with a palace of gold and silver and diamonds, high ceilings and carved walls. It was the finest castle that ever existed. One day, the king called his servant to his bedroom of gold and said “Oh faithful servant, I need you to go through the village, the dense forest, the wide river and give this message to my brother, the king of the village on the other side of the river,” and handed the servant a thick scroll which he took and bowed to the king.

The next day, the servant set out with a bag. In the bag was the scroll, food to last the servant for one week, three gold coins, and a change of old, tattered clothes which he wore every day. As the servant entered the village, he observed the poor village and spied the beautiful woman. Their eyes met across the crowded dirt road that ran through the village. The man could see at once that she was not happy. He went in search of somebody, anybody, who would release this woman and allow her on the journey to accompany him. He approached a rather important looking man, who happened to be the ruler of the tiny village. The man explained about his journey, pleaded with him, begged to take the woman along. But the rough looking man scratched his graying hair and shook his head. The man was devastated for one moment—until he remembered the gold coins. He took one out and handed it to the ruler, their hands clasped around the coin as if making an agreement. He nodded and their hands released. The woman was delighted to go on an adventure with the man. And then they were off, the rabbit still sitting on the beautiful woman’s shoulder.

The woman knew that she would be accompanying the man for at least a week, so they each shared their stories and camped by the stars at night, gazing at the bright constellations and each night the woman wished that her life could stay like this forever. It was the morning of the second day when the woman stumbled over something. She looked around and spied a tiny fairy. Shocked, the woman scooped up the now shivering fairy and brought her to the campsite where the man gave her some berries collected from a nearby bush. The fairy ate gratefully and finally was ready to explain that she was chased out of the forest by a squirrel, and the two travelers invited her to join them. She was tiny and elegant and had long blond hair and long eyelashes over green eyes. She was wearing a dress that resembled a large green leaf. After they had shared their stories, the crew was off to face the forest.

The narrow hole in the thick wall of trees and vines was black. The travelers were unable to see beyond it, so they knew it must be a large forest. It was the rabbit, again perched on the woman’s shoulder, which hopped off and bit off a piece of the rough vine. The travelers were still uneasy, but entered the forest. They could barely see a thing. More rough vines tangled themselves around wide tree trunks; the trees leaning in as if trying to tell the travelers something. But, as the fairy was a forest native, she led them through with ease, warning them if a pricker bush was in their path; when roots covered the ground, if branches were low or if the bark was rough enough to be dangerous to the travelers, stumbling blindly through the forest. Finally, the day came to an end and the weary travelers lay down on the uneven ground. It was then that they realized their food supply was running terribly low. They would deal in the morning, thought the man, as he drifted off to sleep. The woman dozed immediately, and the fairy was happy to be home. As she drifted, she thought she saw a flash of white disappearing into the dark woods.

The next day was much of a scramble to find food. It was difficult since the travelers couldn’t afford to split up—they would loose each other. The fairy showed them the best places to find nuts and berries, but when they turned to put the supply in their bag, they discovered three apples. Confused and grateful, the travelers didn’t think much of it.

Towards the end of the third day in the forest, the travelers began to see light. The trees thinned very slightly and the leaves were not quite so green. The forest was coming to an end. But the joy could not last so long, for at the end of the forest was an angry looking troll who stared at them. He was large and had arms coated with muscle and stopped them immediately. The woman tried to explain that this was their mission, but he wouldn’t let them go without a fight. The woman was ready, but the man had a hand on her arm in the blink of an eye. He carefully pulled one gold coin from his sack and placed it in the troll’s grimy hand. And so they proceeded for the rest of the day with no more trouble. They camped at the edge of another village much like the woman’s village. However, the inhabitants didn’t look quite so sad and the dirt roads did not look quite so rough. The rabbit cowered back, obviously recognizing the similarities of the villages.

They continued on until they reached the top of a steep hill. Each traveler gasped at the sight that they saw: a breathtaking river, crystal clear and sparkling lay at the bottom of the hill. But they could also see how rapid the current was, how sharp the stones were, and how very deep the water was. But at the bottom of the hill the woman realized that the water was not too deep and set her mind to swim across. The man was not sure of her plan, but was easily persuaded by the sound of her pleading voice. Laughing, the woman waded into the freezing water. It wasn’t too deep and not incredibly strong—until suddenly the woman felt herself drop deep down into the river. She then realized in horror that the river was immensely deep and she had only waded in on the shore until the drop. No wonder her fellow travelers thought the river was so dangerous. She felt herself falling, deep down, the current so strong that she couldn’t swim. And at once she knew she was drowning. The air was out of her lungs and she wished she could have one more chance. Back at the riverbank, the man cried in horror. His thoughts were mixed up, and he thought of one thing: the woman. And so he dove in after her into the deep cold water. The fairy was now clinging to the rabbit’s back as they raced into the water after their fellow travelers. Just as the woman thought she was going to die, she came upon an air pocket just large enough to take a breath. She was so close—and then she saw a hole in the ground above her. She thought it was very strange to have a whole in the ground, but with her last remaining strength, she climbed through. The last thing she saw before falling into unconsciousness was the full moon, even though it was only morning. The man, the rabbit, and the fairy took a very similar course as the woman did. And they, too, were shocked to see the full moon in the morning, in a black but starry sky above a huge silver castle.

They all looked up as they heard a sound. It sounded like shuffling. They all gasped again as an enormous fish walking on land made its way towards them. Its menacing teeth seemed to be made of steel and reflected the moonlight. Its piercing red eyes glared at the woman. She screamed, but no sound came from her lips. The woman darted back into the hole, the fish after her. On the other side of the river, the sun was coming out from behind the clouds very slowly. At last the first ray poked from behind the whiteness of the cloud. The fish darted back into the water, escaping the sunlight. And immediately, the woman knew: the fish could only come out in moonlight. And the castle that it roamed at, the castle of the king was the Palace of Moonlight. A shiver ran down her spine as she realized that she could not get back without the fish getting her. She was trapped on the other side of this dreaded river, away from her new best friends, those who she could not be without. But on the other side of the river, the rabbit darted back after the woman, the third gold coin clasped between his paws, and the woman realized yet another thing. She watched as the rabbit sped through the water, although it wasn’t the white rabbit anymore. It was an off-colored part of the water itself; the rabbit was no ordinary rabbit. He was a magical rabbit; one who could become the water to save the woman’s life. Between his paws, the gold coin was still clenched tightly. Very slowly, as the fish rushed towards the rabbit, he tilted the gold coin up ever so slightly, and then to the exact angle where the sun glinted off the coin, and the reflection, so bright, brighter than the sunshine itself, shot right into the fish’s eye. Immediately the fish sunk with a last piercing scream, and the rabbit emerged from the water, and he and the woman came back to the Palace of Moonlight, where the woman explained all of what happened.
The travelers delivered the scroll to the king who was forever grateful that they had defeated the evil fish. He crowned the man and the woman king and queen where they ruled for the rest of their lives in the Palace of Moonlight along with the fairy and the white rabbit. The white rabbit, which was always a mystery, who saved their lives and defeated the monster. They ruled happily together for many, many years. And even thought the fish is long gone, no sunlight is ever there. It is forever moonlight.





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