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The Easter Pika

Spring had come. The meadows and fields were turning green. A small furry pika scurried back and forth from his home in the rocks to the nearby field. The pika snipped off tender shoots of the new grass and carried them back in a bundle to his home. On his trips to the field, Peeka Pika saw rabbits hopping about excitedly.

"What's going on?" he called to one of the rabbits hopping nearby.

"Don't you know it's almost Easter time?" The rabbit was astonished. "We're busy getting ready. We're the Easter bunnies. We have to bring Easter eggs to the children on Easter morning."

Peeka Pika was excited. "Can I bring Easter eggs too?"

The rabbit laughed. "You're not a bunny!" "But I'm your cousin," Peeka Pika protested. "You know that pikas and rabbits are related."

"But you don't have long ears. And you don't even hop! Nobody would believe that you were an Easter bunny."

Peeka Pika sadly crept back to his burrow in the rocks. He was so unhappy that he did not reply to the cheerful calls of the other pikas living among the tumbled stones. "There must be a way!" he thought. "I can be an Easter bunny."

So Peeka Pika searched among the pile of dried grasses he had saved from the harvest last fall. He was in luck. There were still some long stalks left. He skipped about from rock to rock, asking the other pikas if he could borrow some long grass stalks from their storehouses. Soon he had enough. Carefully he wove them together into a beautiful Easter basket.

It was hard work for a little pika. The sun had already set on the night before Easter morning before he was finished. With a happy sigh, Peeka Pika curled up to sleep in his snug burrow. All night he dreamed of happy children's voices, exclaiming with delight over the Easter eggs he had brought.

As soon as the first rays of sunlight shone on the mountains, Peeka Pika was up, ready to leave with his Easter basket. The rabbits in the field were up too. They hopped about excitedly, showing off their Easter baskets. "Quick!" they cried. "We must get down to the town and hide these eggs before the people wake up."

They looked up in surprise when Peeka Pika joined them. "Where are you going?" they asked. "You are not an Easter bunny."

"I will be an Easter bunny," said Peeka Pika. "You can do anything if you try hard enough. See the fine basket I made all by myself?" One of the rabbits looked into the pika's basket and started to laugh. Another rabbit hopped up to see what was so funny. As soon as he looked at the basket, he started to laugh too. Soon all the rabbits were holding their sides and rolling over in the grass with laughter.

"What is so funny?" demanded Peeka Pika. "My basket is just as fine as any of yours."

"But," chortled the first rabbit, "it's empty. You don't have any Easter eggs in it!"

"I didn't think of that," said Peeka Pika. He looked like he was going to cry. "Couldn't I borrow some of yours?"

"Sorry," said the rabbits. "We have just enough for ourselves. And if we don't leave now, we'll be late." Picking up their Easter baskets, the rabbits turned and hopped away toward the town. The last rabbit in line looked back and called, "Better try a little harder."

Peeka Pika was determined. He scampered from one bird's nest to another, begging for eggs. At last he had a fine collection of eggs in his basket -- blue ones, and green ones, and orange ones, and speckled ones. The sun was already high in the sky as he hurried toward the town.

The basket seemed heavier and heavier as the little pika struggled on. In time he came to a street of houses with small, neatly mowed lawns. He turned in at the gate of the first house on the street.

"There's a good place to hide an egg," Peeka Pika thought, hurrying over to a large white rock. But when he looked behind the rock, he found an egg there. The rabbits had been to this house already.

On to the next house the pika toiled, dragging his heavy basket. But skipping through the lawn of that house were three children, calling out in delight as they found the eggs the Easter rabbits had hidden there. At one house after another, Peeka Pika found that he was too late. He was coming to the end of the street now. There was just one house left.

A boy and a girl were sitting on the porch of the last house. The little pika crept up through the grass to listen to what they were saying.

The girl was crying. "See," said her older brother, "I told you there's no Easter bunny."

"But the other children on the block all have Easter eggs," his little sister sobbed.

"Their parents hid them, dopey," her brother sneered.

Just then Peeka Pika popped out of the grass, pulling his Easter basket up to the steps. He dropped the basket and scampered off.

With a happy shriek, the little girl bounded down. "I told you!" she cried. "There's the Easter bunny!"

"Are you kidding?" said her brother. "He doesn't even look like a rabbit."

"I don't care," said the girl, hugging the basket. "He's my Easter bunny."



©1973, 2013 The Silversteins