From Another Forty Fables
A rabbit was ruminating upon a great green hillside one beautiful summer’s day when – for reasons which were never quite established – it beheld a wondrous geni.
“I am the geni of the grass,” said the geni to the rabbit, “and this is your lucky day, for I can grant you any wish you care to make.”
“I want a change,” said the rabbit, decisively. “I want a change and I don’t want to be a rabbit.”
“A bold move,” replied the geni, who felt a challenge coming on.
“I want to be another animal . . . ” said the rabbit, “I’m fed up with these stupid ears and this daft fluffy tail and this not very interesting lifestyle. I want to be another animal but I haven’t decided what.”
“The badger has stripes,” the geni remarked, “it lives in a grander burrow, it comes out at night and can bite off a man’s finger.”
“Hmm,” said the rabbit. “What does it eat? Apart from fingers?”
“Worms,” the geni replied.
“Oh no,” said the rabbit. “I couldn’t do that. I want to be a real predator.”
“Perhaps one of the smaller hawks?” suggested the geni.
“I don’t like hawks,” said the rabbit, sourly. “I want to be something . . . bigger.”
“Well basically you’re looking at the American bald-headed eagle, which is a type of large hawk, come to think of it, or one of the larger cats such as the tiger – ” the geni explained.
“I don’t like cats either,” said the rabbit. “I want to be something bigger that is a predator and never bothers rabbits.”
The geni considered this. “What about a shark?” it suggested.
“A shark?” repeated the rabbit. “What’s a shark?”
“It is the greatest of predators,” the geni assured him.
“What does it eat?”
“Anything,” said the geni.
“What eats it?”
“Nothing,” said the geni.
“When do we start?” asked the rabbit.
And in a flash and a bang and a whistle the rabbit was transformed. And sure enough, he was transformed into the largest and most ferocious of all sharks, a shark from which other sharks might turn in terror: a huge shark, a mighty shark, a shark that was wily and cunning – a shark that had no business on a great green hillside.
For the shark is a beast of the deeper seas and without these deeper seas it flipped and gagged and died all the faster in the sunshine.
“Damn,” thought the geni of the grass – who had really overstretched on this occasion – ” this must mean something. Something to do with knowing your ground . . . ”
And the other rabbits all bounced out of their burrows and watched from a safe distance while the great dead shark was eaten by a number of small hawks and a few of the local cats.
Moral: Know your ground.
© Adam Acidophilus 2000