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The Rabbits' Birthday Party

There was a bustling in the meadow. Rabbits were hopping back and forth. Peeka Pika looked down from the rock pile near the meadow. "What's going on?" he thought. The next time he scurried down to the meadow to gather some grass, he asked one of the rabbits hopping by.

"Don't you know?" the rabbit exclaimed. "It's Hippity and Dippity's birthday. We're getting ready for the party." "Can I come?" Peeka Pika squeaked.

"Only rabbits are invited." The rabbit wrinkled his nose smugly.

"But I'm your cousin. Everyone knows that pikas and rabbits are related."

"I guess you can come, then." The rabbit wiggled his ears and hopped away.

Peeka arrived at the party early. He had licked his fur until it was shining. He even brought a present: some tasty twigs from his storehouse in the rocks.

Most of the rabbits were surprised to see Peeka. They wondered what a pika was doing at the rabbit twins' party. But Hippity and Dippity begged their mother to let Cousin Peeka stay.

Soon it was time for the birthday cake. It was a big cake with three carrots for candles: one for Hippity, one for Dippity, and one for good luck. Hippity closed his eyes and made a wish. Then, with one bite, he snipped off all of the greens from his carrot. Dippity also got all the greens from her carrot in a single bite. And together they finished the greens from the third carrot.

Then everyone had a piece of cake and a bite of carrot.

"Let's start the games," one of the rabbits shouted. The first contest was to see who had the longest ears. Peeka Pika came in last.

Then there was a contest to see who had the fluffiest tail. They all lined up and turned their backs, while the twins' father looked at each tail in turn. Finally he came to Peeka Pika. "Where is your tail?"

Peeka wiggled his tail. But it was so tiny that it was hidden in his fur coat. The father rabbit couldn't even see it. So Peeka Pika came in last in this contest too.

"Now let's have a hopping race," someone shouted. They all lined up.

"GO!" the father rabbit cried.

Before Peeka Pika could even get, started, all the rabbits were hopping across the meadow. "I can't even hop," Peeka thought. He sat down and cried.

Suddenly he heard screams coming from across the meadow. Rabbits were hopping around wildly. Something was wrong.

Peeka Pika raced over to see what was the matter. Dippity had fallen into a well. She was thrashing about, trying to stay afloat. It was too deep for her to climb out.

The rabbits clustered around on top of the well, looking down at her. They didn't know what to do. If someone didn't help her soon, she would drown.

"I can save her! I can save her!" Peeka shouted.

"You're too little to do anything," the rabbits scoffed. "You'll just get in the way."

Peeka raced off to his home in the rock pile. He stood on top of a rock and gave a high whistling call. Hundreds of pikas popped their heads out of holes in the rocks and answered him. Quickly Peeka told them what had happened. Then all the pikas disappeared into their burrows. In a few minutes there was a flood of pikas scurrying down the hill toward the well where Dippity was still struggling. Each pika carried a bundle in his mouth.

Dippity was getting weak now. She could hardly raise her paws to paddle in the water. Suddenly there was a plop in the water next to her. A small bundle of grass and twigs had dropped down. Then there was another and another and another. The pikas were waiting in line. Each, in turn, was dropping the bundle that he had brought from his storehouse in the rock pile.

Soon there were enough twigs and grasses to form a floating raft. Dippity climbed up on it and rested.

Meanwhile, other pikas were busy twisting their grasses together to form a strong rope. When it was long enough, they lowered it into the well. Dippity grabbed the end of the grass rope in her teeth and held on tight. Then the rabbits and pikas pulled on the other end and quickly lifted her out of the well.

Dippity was safe. Everyone was happy. Peeka Pika was the hero.



©1973, 2013 The Silversteins