The Rabbit-Hutch

By George Sterling

Time:- A warm July morning.

Scene: -A rabbit-hutch containing two score Belgian hares, large and small. It is placed under a great elm tree, in the backyard of a dingy dwelling. A short thin man of about fifty years is placing cabbage leaves in one of the compartments of the hutch.

The Littlest Hare:
    Father, who is that?

The Oldest Hare:
    That is God, my child.

The Littlest Hare:
    What does that mean?

The Oldest Hare:
    It means that He is all-wise, all-powerful,
    all-good; that He watches over every action,
    and he rewards and punishes us according
    to our deserts.

The Mother Hare:
    That is true, my son. Never forget what
    your father has told you!

The Man:
    Guess that old buck will hafta go.

The Littlest Hare:
    What is he saying, father?

The Oldest Hare:
    Hush, my son! His counsels are inscrutable.
    None shall penetrate to His designs.

The Littlest Hare:
    (Nibbling a cabbage leaf) Oh! father! how
    good is the food with which He provides us!

The Mother Hare:
    Give thanks to Him, my son, for He does
    this out of His great love, who might
    otherwise permit you to perish utterly.

The Man:
    Dam hawgs-! How they do git away
    with it!

The Littlest Hare:
    Oh father! He spoke again!

The Mother Hare:
    Infinite is His wisdom, my dear child.
    (A small boy appears. The elder hares
    promptly retreat as far as possible. He
    picks up a slender stick, and after a look
    at The Man, who is now busy at the
    other end of the hutch, he thrusts it
    between the wires and gives the Littlest
    Hare a sharp poke.)

The Littlest Hare:
    Oh mother! What was that? I feel bad,
    mother! I do not like to feel like this!

The Oldest Hare:
    It is God's greatest gift to you, my son,
    looked at in the proper spirit. So thank Him
    for it.

The Littlest Hare:
    Ai! Ai! Ai! I do not like it! Still
    I feel bad. Is that other man a god also?

The Oldest Hare:
    Be still, my son! You blaspheme.
    He is God's opposite, even the Adversary
    Of Him and His hares.

The Littlest Hare:
    Why then, father, does God permit him
    to live and hurt us?

The Mother Hare:
    That is one of His mysteries. Presume
    not to question His goodness and His
    wisdom. He knoweth best, and doeth
    all things well.
    (The boy obtains a longer stick, with which
    He prods the oldest hare violently.)

The Oldest Hare:
    Ugh! Ow! Wah! Thou knowest best
    indeed, O God. But suffer thy servant
    to escape evil for the moment!

The Man:
    (Noticing the boy): Git outa here, ya
    little devil! Hain't I told ya to leave them
    hares alone? (Exit boy).

The Oldest Hare:
    Ha, my son! said I not so? I called upon
    The Lord and He delivered me. So
    answereth He the prayers of the just.

The Littlest Hare:
    But why, father, did He permit the
    Adversary to draw near us at all?

The Oldest Hare:
    Silence! Who are you to question His
    designs?

The Mother Hare:
    By these pains, my son, He maketh us
    aware of His mercy and His vigilance. Behold!
    He shall not fail us!

The Littlest Hare:
    But why can't He do all t hat without hurting
    us? Seems to me He gets all the notice and we
    get all the pain.

The Oldest Hare:
    Blasphemer! Be still! Shall a portion question
    the Whole? (He kicks the Littlest Hare, who
    retires in shame and confusion to a corner of
    the compartment. The Man re-appears,
    departing with a plump hare in either hand.
    He vanishes behind a woodpile, and soon
    two dull blows are heard.)

The Littlest Hare:
    Oh father! where have my uncles gone?
    God has taken with Him two of my uncles!
    Will they not return?

The Oldest Hare:
    I think it unlikely, but question Him
    not. They go with Him to the Great Hutch,
    there to dine forever on freshest cabbage, and
    on viands of which we cannot even dream.
    They shall have innumerable descendants, and
    shall praise Him forever and ever.

The Littlest Hare:
    How know you this, father?

The Oldest Hare:
    It was told me by my father, who had it from
    His father, who had it from his.

The Mother Hare:
    So you see, my child, that it must be true,
    for what is your wisdom compared to
    theirs? You must have faith!

The Littlest Hare:
    I believe, mother! I believe! How beautiful
    is faith!

The Oldest Hare:
    Yea! He doeth all things well! (The Man
    re-appears, wiping his hands on his trousers.
    He gazes with solemnity at the Oldest Hare,
    who shudders visibly, and retreats to the
    farthest confines of the compartment.)

The Littlest Hare:
    (Nibbling a fresh cabbage leaf.) Thou art
    all good, O God! There is none like unto
    Thee in mercy and wisdom. How sweet are
    thy cabbage leaves! How glorious must be
    Thy Great Hutch! Suffer the Adversary to
    come not nigh unto me, for I am of Thy
    children!

The Man:
    That's right! Stuff it down, ya little hawg!

The Smart Set, LX, 1, (September,1919) Pg 123-124.

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