Share Button

The Magic Rock

It was a warm spring night. The full moon was shining brightly on the forest. In a small clearing, a brown rabbit with a fluffy white tail hopped up onto a large, flat white rock.

"Squeak!" a little gray field mouse cried out. "You frightened me!"

"The moon is bright tonight," the rabbit said.

"We'd better be careful." The mouse nodded. "I hope the owl isn't around! Why does he have to eat mice?"

"And rabbits, too," said the rabbit. "It's hard having to worry about being eaten all the time. Those owls and hawks and foxes have it easy. Nobody ever bothers them."

"A hawk almost got me yesterday," said the mouse. ''I saw his shadow just in time. I wish I were a hawk. I'd just spread my wings and fly away."

"I'd like to be a fox," said the rabbit. "Then nobody would bother me."

The rabbit and 'the mouse did not know it, but the rock they were sitting on was a magic rock. In the light of the full moon it had a special power. Soon the rabbit and the mouse would find out.

The next day, the mouse was nibbling some grass seeds in the meadow. A hawk, circling high above, spotted him. Like a bolt of lightning, it swooped down and grabbed the mouse. Then the hawk took to the air again, carrying the squeaking mouse in its claws.

Suddenly the mouse's squeaks turned into harsh cries. The hawk was now holding not a mouse, but another hawk, even larger than itself. The magic of the rock was working. It had given the mouse his wish. He had now turned into a hawk. The other hawk cried out with surprise and let go. The mouse-hawk flew off, free, into the sky.

Meanwhile, down in the meadow, the rabbit was in danger. A fox had caught his scent. It was sneaking up on 'him. When the rabbit heard a rustle in the grass, it was too late. The fox sprang on him. Holding the rabbit in its jaws, it trotted off toward its den.

The rabbit screamed and struggled. But suddenly his screams turned into barks. The fox stumbled and let go. The magic of the rock was working. It had given the rabbit his wish. He was now a fox, even larger than the one who had caught him. He growled at the other fox, and it ran away.

The rabbit-fox bounded happily through the forest. He would not have to worry about enemies now.

Just as the sun was setting, the rabbit-fox realized that he was hungry. He nibbled at some grass. But somehow it didn't taste good. And he was getting hungrier all the time. He needed some meat to eat. He knew now that he would have to kill a mouse, a bird, or even a rabbit to stay alive! If he did not, he would starve.

The next two days were terrible. It was not so easy to catch a mouse or a rabbit. The mice dived into holes, and the rabbits hopped away. But slowly he learned. He was often hungry, but at least he did not starve.

Then one day some hunters came to the forest. A dozen dogs raced ahead of them. They sniffed and barked. And they found the trail of the rabbit-fox. Now he had to run for his life. On and on he raced. The dogs were getting closer. They were almost on him now.

Suddenly the rabbit-fox saw another fox. The two of them ran together for a while. Then they came to a stream. The rabbit-fox crossed the stream, but the other fox did not. Now the dogs followed the other fox, while the rabbit-fox disappeared into the thick forest. Tired and frightened, he finally lay down to rest on a large, flat white rock in a little clearing.

Meanwhile, the mouse who had turned into a hawk had also had a difficult month. He, too, had learned that he must kill mice and rabbits and other small animals in order to live. He, too, was hungry much of the time. But at least he was free -- until that last day. The hunters who were chasing the fox looked up and saw the hawk flying by. They raised their guns.

"Bang!" One of the bullets hit the mouse-hawk's wing. Down and down he fell, while weakly flapping his wings. He fell into a little clearing in the forest. He dragged himself over to a large white rock and fell down beside the tired rabbit-fox.

"If only I were a mouse again," sighed the mouse-hawk.

"I wish I were a rabbit," moaned the rabbit-fox. Just then the full moon came out from behind a cloud. The magic of the rock was working. A small gray mouse jumped down from the nook and scampered into the grass. And a brown rabbit hopped happily beside him.



©1972, 2013 The Silversteins