Friday, December 28, 2007

The Velveteen Rabbit

I was annoyed by the "three-minute bedtime" version of the Velveteen Rabbit, which we purchased in a desperate moment at an airport a few years ago so that we'd have entertainment for our kids on a long flight. For Christmas this year, my children received the authentic, original version, which thrilled me--classic literature with pictures. Wonderful.

Sadly, I'd forgotten the narrative twist that occurs when, after the Boy's bout with Scarlet Fever, the doctor exclaims when looking at the Bunny: "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs! --Burn it at once. What? Nonsense! Get him a new one. He mustn't have it any more!"

And what follows: "The little Rabbit was put into a a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire...."

I'm thinking Margery William's own children must not have had their own "Real" stuffed animals, because if they did they might have exhibited a reaction similar to my children's, who each have their own tattered, much-loved, Puppies.

The fact that a fairy princess rescues Bunny from the bonfire pile did little to relieve the trauma of picturing the cremation of their own precious Puppies. The three year old had tears streaming down her face mid-story, and after the "happy" ending, my five-year-old laid on the couch with her head in my lap and sobbed, frequently asking, "You'll never burn my puppy, will you?"

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