I sat in a tent-cave yesterday morning, a tent-cave I myself very proudly constructed (at the direction of one very earnest almost-four-year-old) by draping blankets over the edges of a bunk bed. Sitting in a tent-cave is a very worthwhile occupation, and one that more people ought to take time to do more regularly. I had been called into this tent-cave by Jakob da Mann to read for him a picture book, a task which I completed in somewhat broken but apparently satisfactory German, at which point my little two-year-old friend crawled off to go tell his baby sister not to destroy something he had been constructing. Actually, I do not remember what it was he was telling her, or if he told her anything at all. Perhaps he crawled away for some completely different reason. But given the natures of both children in question, if he did not at that moment have to tell her not do destroy something of his, I am fairly certain he found it necessary to do so within five minutes. I am afraid little girls thirteen months of age do not understand the intrinsic value and deep artistic symbolism to be found in a railroad track that does not make a complete loop. I am afraid big girls nineteen years of age do not always understand this either.
But I meant to speak of the picture book, so to the picture book I will return. This picture book illustrated, quite nicely I might add, the Bible story of Noah’s Arc. There was a fair amount of text located on the first page of the story which summarized the entire book. The rest was entirely pictures. Other than an occasional “Damaris, nein!” from Jakob, dieKinder were playing quite nicely, so I took the opportunity to admire the artwork of this particular book in more depth. And it was while doing this that I discovered a very important and much overlooked fact of history. It has to do with the very important role rabbits played in human history, and lest this point be misunderstood, I shall repeat myself very clearly.
Ladies and Gentleman, rabbits once saved the world.
Allow me to explain. Noah has built his arc. He has gathered together his family, rounded up two of every species, the rains are pouring down, and the waters are rising. It is not until the world is covered with water several miles deep (judging from the pictures in the book) that Noah realizes a seemingly fatal flaw in God’s plan. Lions. And other carnivorous creatures, of course. What do they eat? There are only two of each species on the arc. Maybe there is enough food to keep them alive until the flood is over, but what about later? Is Noah supposed to open wide the doors of his arc and let out all of the animals he so carefully tended to for all those days and nights only to see the world’s last two lions bring down the world’s last two zebra within their first moments of freedom? And what about the other carnivores? The zebra’s sacrifice might hold the lions at bay for a little while, but the tigers and bears still need to eat, and doing so means the possible extinction of several more of the planet’s precious species. This is not good. Everything else on the planet just got wiped out, and the Earth needs as much of its wildlife as it can get in order to maintain a properly functioning ecology and so forth. This conundrum must have caused Noah many restless nights while he waited for the rain to stop and did all that stuff with the birds, but in the end, God always has a plan. He may have given the world lions, but he also gave the world rabbits. The last few pages of the picture book very nicely illustrated the conclusion to our little drama as Noah opens the doors of the arc, and the two great lions bound forth… followed by hundreds of rabbits who have, true to their nature, been breeding like crazy during their confinement. Although the subsequent devouring of rabbits by the other carnivores was not shown, I have no doubts that the lions and such were considerate enough of the other species to trim down the Lagomorpha before turning to the rest of the animal kingdom.
Bless you, rabbits. Blabbits.