The Carrot is Mightier than the Sword
Illustration by Sean Greenberg
It was in the year of our Lord Hare, 123, that a call had gone out from far and near… “The Great Beast lay waste to Hoppingstown! To Carotene! To Garden Gates! A call to arms! A call to all!”
Great fear swept through the land, as never before was there ever a worry in the world for the boroughing leporidae of Lapin Rough.
On the outskirts of this tiny town lay a mill for the grinding of grain. In this place a mother and young kit did live, just as healthy and as happy as you please.
Paulie Miller and his Mum had heard tales of the great monster, but now the tales be true it seemed.
“Fight? Or flight! There’s no time to lose!” thought the young mother. But, with his father off working in a neighboring state, and his two sisters off to the School of Arts and Merriment, Paul had already made his mind. He had fashioned a helmet and shield, and was searching the cupboard stocks for the firmest carrot with finest point.
Upon seeing this, his worried mother cried… “Surely Paul, you are but a boy. And a carrot is not a sword. The hare’s of Garden Gates with sword and shield could not stop the beast. How can a mere boy?”
And Paul replied… “They were not hares, but frightened bunnies! I will have Konin and Kanina, the best of friends at my side. And good mother… a carrot is mightier than the sword!” Paul held out his chosen carrot as he said this. Then swooshed and swung it as if he were fighting the fiercest foe.
Just then, they heard the familiar voice of a traveler outside on the road. “Hello Paul! Hello Mrs. Miller!” A friendly knock, then the door opened to… non-other than the rabbit just spoken of… Konin. Followed by the very pretty, and somewhat “tom-boyish” Kanina.
Now these three were one in like mind. They had grown up together like siblings, in work and play. They were “tight as a knot, and thick as thieves”. And, even though a girl, Kanina was always treated as equal. They were in full battle dress with carrot in hand. And a sack of them for grubs.
“Not to worry Mrs. Miller,” said Kanina. “The army gathers in the square now. We’ll make short work of this monster, and be back within a fortnight”.
Paul assured his Mum as best he could, that he would take great care. Then the three young soldiers marched off to join their comrades-in-arms that gathered in the town square.
And gather they did. Two thousand strong, with Lepus Cunicullus in command. A thousand campfires lit the garrison encampment, and the scent of boiling veg and herbs lay thick in the air. With the sound of pennywhistle and drum, and the singing of songs, one would almost get the feel of a holiday rather than the eve of battle.
Just as the trio had driven the last tent stake and readied for the sack, a call went out from command for three volunteers to serve as scouts. “Three brave souls, to advance with great stealth! Find the beast, then return with his whereabouts!” wailed the Cryer.
All eyes turned as Paul, Konin, and Kanina jumped up in unison and shouted… “I volunteer!” Just then a great cheer went up from the entire camp. The brave trio were lifted up over the heads of all, and given a hero’s carry all the way to the edge of town where they found themselves standing alone on the road in the dark, with only their sacks of grub, the moon and stars, and the sound of crickets and Hoot Owls.
“Well, here we go then,” said Paul.
“This is it then,” said Konin.
“What just happened?” asked Kanina. And with that, the threesome turned and walked quietly into the night on an easterly course toward a red glow in the sky, and whatever fate awaited them.
For three hours this night they did walk. Past toppled trees, burning hamlets, and fleeing creatures of all kinds. There were young and old, with freight in their eyes, and what little belongings they could carry.
Anxious and apprehensive, it was Kanina who spoke first. “This is surely, what war is like. No romance, no glory. But pain, sorrow, and loss,” she said. The three looked with great concern into each other’s eyes, and walked on.
“We will take to the forest now, away from the road,” said Paul. Then, the three did so for two hours longer, working their way through brush and scrub.
As they stopped for a refreshing drink from a clear running stream, Konin shot up quickly. He stood on his hind legs with his long ears pointing up, and forward.
“I feel a strange rumbling, and wait! I hear a low, deep moaning. Over the hill there, a low fire burns,” he said.
They moved ever so slowly, then in a silent crawl to the top of the hill, where they cast their eyes onto the very creature that be the cause of all upheaval. The Great Beast.
He sat near a pile of burning oxcarts and barrels with his head hanging low, swaying slowly back and forth. Two large horns, like that of an enormous mountain goat rose and curved from atop his head, and the bottom of his chin. With a long scaly neck, and wings like a giant bat, he looked as ugly and fierce as all the stories had told.
But, the one most shocking feature had to be… he had six eyes! Six large bloodshot eyes rolling around in his head as he moaned and groaned and wandered to and fro about the fire. Then, he started to murmur and speak to himself.
“Mother… oh mother… why must I have this cursed affliction?” He dragged his claws through the earth and threw clouds of dirt and stones into the air. Pausing for a moment, he stared into the fire, then cried out… “Six eyes have I, yet I see the world in a blur! I stumble and bumble like a fool with no balance! And when night falls, I can hardly see at all!”
With that, the monster picked up a fallen tree and cast it into the fire. Burning cinders flew up into the night sky as the creature sat down hard to the ground and hung his head while moaning… “I’m so tired of this world, and the tiresome creatures in it”.
Back at the top of the hill, the three hidden cotton-tailed scouts looked at each other in amazement.
“What a miserable and pitiful creature is our foe,” said Paul. “Six eyes he has, and blind as a bat!” whispered Konin.
Then Kanina stood up and quietly said… “As wretched and as evil as he is… I do have some pity for this thing. If only we could help him to see, his heart may grow kind and true.”
Just as these soft and caring words came from her lips, she lost her footing and fell. Down the hill she rolled and slid, quite loudly. Breaking branches and tumbling rocks until coming to a stop at the foot of the angry creature. Paul and Konin could only look on, and then at each other in shock and fear.
“Oh no. Kanina!” they both said.
Even with the worst of eyesight, the startled beast did see and hear all this. He quickly reached out and picked up Kanina by the scruff of her neck. Pinched between two large claws, he held her near the fire to see just what creature had surprised him in the night.
He was angry now. His voice became loud and raspy, and full of great hate as he bellowed… “Well now, what have we here? Little girl rabbit? Little spy for the rabbit army come to tell ALL of my sleeping spot? Yes?”
Kanina still held her weapon, and was swinging it back and forth as she kicked and wiggled and tried her best to break free of the monster’s grip.
“Let me go! Let me go please!” she cried.
“Let you go!” Growled the beast. “I’ll let you go… into my MOUTH, then down my throat into my hungry belly!” Then he sniffed, and shook her, and moved her slowly closer to the fire.
“No! No please!” cried Kanina. “If you set me free, I will help you to feel better! I will help you to see things!”
“Feel better? See things?” inquired the monster. “All my life I have seen things this way, and a wee cheeky bunny says she can make me well? I THINK NOT! Time to eat!” he said, then he held her little feet over the crackling flames.
“No! No! Please! I have it right here! In my hand! In this sack!” Kanina said frantically.
The beast was now curious. He pulled her from the fire just as the flames had singed the hairs on her toes.
“What? You have only carrots! Carrots are food of the leporidae! And I eat MEAT! Only MEAT!” growled the monster.
“But if you let me down, I will make you a potion of carrot, and apple and wondrous herbs, but mostly carrots, and you’ll see… you’ll see,” she said with the most of fright in her voice.
With his curiosity aroused, and knowing that there wasn’t a way for his prisoner to escape, he set her down near the fire, then asked… “What can carrot do that meat cannot?”
Kanina brushed herself off, then pointed her finger at the giant and said… “Well… carrots are a great source of vitamins A… B… B3… B6… C, and K. And, uh let’s see, uh…
“IS THAT IT?” shouted the beast.
Just then Paul leapt from the nearby bushes and shouted… “I am Paul! Son of Jason the miller! You mustn’t forget Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese and Potassium!”
The Great Beast sprang to his feet and swooshed Paul up into his claws. “Another rabbit hiding in the brush? How many more dare to come near me this night?” he cried.
Then, Konin stepped quietly from the dark forest. “AND… carrots are full of antioxidant compounds like Beta-carotene! Not to mention fiber! It’s all essential for maintaining the eyes and brain, and a happy, healthy life-style,” he said.
The monster quickly grabbed him up, and put the three together. Then he cried… “Make this potion for me now! Then pray that it works, or I shall have RABBIT… STEW… FOR SUPPER!”
The trio scrounged through some nearby rubbish. And after finding a small cauldron, they quickly chopped, minced and ground all of the carrots and apples that they had in their shoulder sacks. Kanina sniffed out, then picked some nearby herbs. And soon they had concocted the largest vegetable “smoothie” ever made.
They stood together by the fire with their arms behind their backs and their fingers crossed, as the monster sniffed… then sipped… then quickly drank the entire pot.
The creature slurped, then burped, then turned his head from side to side.
“I feel no different!” he said. “I see NO BETTER! Where are the stars? Where is the moon? Where are… MY PRISONERS! he shouted, as he looked down to find that the trio of scouts had scurried away into the dark forest.
As the Great Beast stretched out his arms and looked up into the night sky, he let out the loudest of roars, then screamed… “Run rabbits run! And tell the rabbit armies, that at sunrise I shall come, and YOU SHALL ALL BE DONE!”
After Paul, Konin and Kanina had found each other in the woods, they bolted faster than they ever had before, down the road and out of harm’s way. With the best of intentions, they had tried but failed to help the ailing monster, and save their tiny town. As the sun rose, they met the rabbit army massing in the valley of the Pika Mountains. They warned the great commander that the beast was coming, then took their place at the front of the battle line.
It wasn’t long before a large figure appeared in the sky. It circled and circled, casting a giant shadow over the valley, and the waiting troops below.
Upon landing right in front of the line of brave rabbits, the monster called out for the three scouts who had “fooled” him in the night. Paul motioned for Konin and Kanina to stay back as he walked forward to meet the beast.
“I am Paul, son of Jason the miller… I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” shouted the angry Giant. “Paul, son of Jason, prepare to be eaten ALIVE!” he cried with his wings outstretched, his head rising and his breast swelling.
And then, just as Paul picked up his carrot and took a defensive stance, the monster stopped. He shook his head, and rapidly blinked his six eyes. He turned and scanned the horizon in every direction, then flapped and lowered his wings. Then, he quietly spoke.
“I can… see… things. I can… see… the mountains. Birds. Your rabbit faces! Is this possible, that I can see things clearly? Is this possible Paul, son of Jason?”
Paul lowered his carrot. Then Konin and Kanina stepped forward.
“It’s the potion! The vitamins!” said Kanina. “The minerals!” said Paul. “Anti-oxidants!” said Konin. “It’s working!” they all shouted together.
The greatest of cheers went up from the rabbit army as they threw down their arms and swarmed around the three scouts. And at that very moment, the heart of The Great Beast did grow to be kind and true.
His happiness could not be measured as the true sight of the beauty of things had come to him for the first time. And then… he began to weep when he thought of all the hardships he had caused to the small creatures of the three cities.
Needless to say, the rabbits of Lapin Rough were spared, and The Great Beast (Given the name Geoffrey by the rabbits) was allowed to make recompense to all that he had wronged, by helping to re-build homes. Plowing fields. Sowing seeds, and reaping harvest. He was from that day forward, a vegetarian, and took great pleasure from the clearness of all sights. Especially the heavenly images in the night sky.
Konin and Kanina returned home, to their warm and happy boroughs. And Paul, to the mill. To his loving Mum, Da, and two dancing sisters.
And his Mum did say to him – “Paulie my brave boy you were right all along, the carrot is truly mightier that the sword.”
- Konin: Cornish for rabbit
- Kanina: Icelandic for rabbit
- Lepus Cunicullus: Latin
- Pika: European hare
- Lapin: Rabbit fur
- Leporidae: Having long ears and short tails
Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Duchene
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