Once upon a time, there was a very curious bunny. So curious in fact, that this became her name. She lived with her two mama bunnies in a forest filled with many bunny friends and their families. Her grandmother bunny lived in a tree nearby.
One day Curious Bunny decided to go exploring around the forest. She ended up jumping further and farther than she had ever been. Before she knew it, she looked all around and didn’t recognize any of the trees anymore. She called out for her mama bunnies and didn’t hear either mama chime back. She hollered for her neighbor bunnies, and still no response. Then she cried out for her grandmother bunny. It was completely silent. Curious Bunny did not know what to do. She had hopped so far from home that no one could see her or hear her.
Nighttime was coming. In fact, it was Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Curious Bunny curled up at the base of a tree for warmth. Wise Owl, who was sitting in the tree branch above, looked down and saw Curious Bunny all alone.
“Hello down there!” said Wise Owl. “You are new to this neck of the woods.”
“Yes,” Curious Bunny said. “I went out exploring. I hopped so far away I got lost. I don’t know how to make my way back home. The longest night of the year is tonight and I am scared of the dark.”
Wise Owl replied, “It’s a good thing you nestled at the base of my tree, for I am the queen of the night. I am not afraid. I will help you.”
“Yes, please!” said Curious Bunny, feeling very relieved. “That would be great. Thank you!”
“I am happy to help you,” said Wise Owl, swooping down to land on a lower branch closer to Curious Bunny. “I have special eyes so I can see at night. I have wings so I can fly very far. Please describe what the trees look like in your neighborhood. I will go searching until I find them for you. Then I will safely guide you home.”
Curious Bunny told Wise Owl everything she could think of to describe the trees her family, neighbors, and grandmother lived in. Wise Owl listened closely and set out to find Curious Bunny’s neck of the woods. Wise Owl said, “I’ll be back for you, Curious Bunny. I promise.” Then Wise Owl spread her glorious wings and set sail over the treetops right as the sun sank into the darkness of the longest night of the year.
Even though Wise Owl was going to find her home, Curious Bunny was very scared of being all alone in the forest at night. She missed both her mamas. She missed her grandma. She missed all of her bunny friends, neighbors, and families.
The night grew longer and longer and got darker and darker. The longer Curious Bunny waited for Wise Owl, the more uncomfortable she became. Curious Bunny was tired. She was hungry. She was scared of the dark. All she wanted was for the morning light to come, and to be home safe with her family and friends.
Curious Bunny waited and waited and waited some more. Her hiraeth to return home was enormous. The moment Curious Bunny felt like she couldn’t wait one second longer, she looked up to the dark night sky and saw a glimmer of white as the moonlight reflected off of Wise Owl’s feathers.
“Wise Owl! Is that you?” Curious Bunny cried out with hope. Wise Owl swooped down for her landing, answering her call. “Yes Curious Bunny, it is me. I have wonderful news. I have found your home! You survived the darkest night of the year all alone. You learned how to be brave, even when you were scared. Now it is time to go back to your family and friends.”
Curious Bunny was so relieved. She happily hopped onto Wise Owl’s back and they began their journey through the pitch dark night. They flew and flew and flew some more. Curious Bunny had never been up in the sky before. What a sight to see! All the stars were up close and the tip tops of the trees were below her. They soared through the sky the rest of the night arriving back home right as the sun was beginning to rise.
Meanwhile, both of Curious Bunny’s mamas, her grandmother, and all her friends were hopping around her neck of the woods looking for Curious Bunny. They were calling out her name when suddenly Wise Owl, with her wings spread wide open, swooped down for a landing with Curious Bunny on her back.
Curious Bunny’s mamas cried, “Curious Bunny! You are home!” and quickly hopped over to Wise Owl. Curious Bunny leaped off Wise Owl’s back and into her mamas’ paws.
“We missed you so much! We had the whole neighborhood looking for you! Nobody could find you in the dark of the night, but we all kept trying. Even though we were scared, we never lost faith that you would find your way home,” said Mama Bunny, with a wide smile.
“Now you are home safe and sound with Wise Owl and the rising sun. Curious Bunny, you brought the light back with you!” said Grandmother Bunny, with a sparkle in her eye.
Curious Bunny said a huge thank you to Wise Owl before she soared away. After all, Curious Bunny wouldn’t have made it through the darkness of the longest night of the year and learned to be so brave without her new friend, the Wise Owl.