Curious Bunny On the Darkest Night of the Year

A Children’s Winter Solstice Story

By Candra Anaya

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Original Artwork by AManda Elderkin

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. All there was was silence. Curious Bunny did not know what to do. She had hopped so far from home that no one could see her or hear her.

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Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Night time was coming. In fact, it was the longest night of the year as it was Winter Solstice. 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 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,” said Wise Owl. “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 fly, 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.” Wise Owl spread her glorious wings and set sail over the treetops right before 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 being all alone in the forest at night with no one around. She missed both her mamas. She missed her grandma. She missed all of her bunny friends and 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. Right when she felt like she couldn’t wait one second longer, she looked up in the dark night sky and saw a glimmer of white as the moon light reflected off of Wise Owl’s feathers.

“Wise Owl! Is that you?” Curious Bunny called 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’s 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.

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Photo by Diana Männik

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 her name when suddenly Wise Owl, with her wings spread completely open, swooped down for a landing with Curious Bunny on her back. Curious Bunny’s mamas cried, “Curious Bunny! You are home!” and hopped over to Wise Owl. Curious Bunny leapt off Wise Owl’s back and into her mama’s 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 you would find your way home. Now here you are, home safe and sound with Wise Owl and the rising sun. You brought the light back with you!”

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 night and learned to be brave without her new friend, the Wise Owl.

Please read on to enjoy a true story for grown-ups:

Jodi Picoult Told Me To Write a Book: I have the E-mail to Prove it

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Photograph by Gina Easley

Writer ~ The Write To Be Free ~ https://thewritetobefree.wixsite.com/website

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