'Rabbit's Wish' | Circle Round 70

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(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

Think of one thing you like about yourself — something that makes you proud.

When we feel good about ourselves, everything can feel good.

But we’re about to meet a character who doesn’t feel good about herself. There’s one particular thing she doesn’t like. And she’ll do whatever it takes to change it.

Our story is called “Rabbit’s Wish.” Versions of this tale originally come from West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Voices in this episode include Evan Casey, Delores King Williams, Gamalia Pharms and Ryan Michelle Bathé. Grown-ups, you might recognize Bathé from the movie One For The Money and from the NBC series This Is Us. She’s also starring in the TV series First Wives Club, coming to BET+ Sept. 19. And look for her on the big screen in 2020, in the romantic drama Sylvie.

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir and edited by Virginia Marshall. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn. Laney Ruckstuhl adapted this story for web.

ADULTS!  PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on FacebookTwitterInstagram or Pinterest, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.

Things To Think About After Listening

In our story, Rabbit learns to appreciate her small size and feel good about it. What’s something about yourself that you appreciate, and that makes you feel good?

Maybe you’re a really helpful person, and you go out of your way to assist others. Maybe you play a musical instrument and always carve out time to practice. Maybe you work really hard to keep your room clean.

Find some paper and draw a picture of whatever it is about yourself that makes you feel proud. Then, if you like, share it with us! Ask your grown-up if they can post a photo of your picture on Instagram and tag us; our handle is @circleroundpodcast.

Musical Spotlight: Marimba

The marimba looks like a xylophone, but has thick wooden keys. You usually play the marimba with soft mallets, and each hit produces a quick, bright, playful sound.

In this Jan. 15, 2016 photo, the Diaz family members play the Marimba at their home in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)
In this Jan. 15, 2016 photo, the Diaz family members play the marimba at their home in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

The marimba originated in Africa, but is now a standard instrument in the percussion section of orchestras and jazz ensembles. Because the marimba’s quick, nimble, playful sound echoes the swift trickiness of Rabbit, composer Eric Shimelonis felt this instrument was a natural choice to score this episode.

Story Transcript

NARRATOR: Everything about Rabbit was tiny. Her body was tiny, her legs were tiny, even her ears were tiny! Unlike the long ears you see on rabbits today, back when our story takes place, Rabbit’s ears were more like nubby, fuzzy stumps on top of her head.

RABBIT: Ugh. Why do I have to be so small? So insignificant? If only I could be enormous like Elephant, or tall like Giraffe, or strong like Bull! Why do I have to be eensy-weensy, puny little me?

NARRATOR: One day, Rabbit finally worked up the courage to ask Earth Spirit — the creator of all the animals — to grant her wish.

EARTH SPIRIT: Rabbit! You wish you were what now? Bigger? You’re wonderful just the way you are! And I should know. I created each and every animal to be special in their very own way.

RABBIT: “Special,” huh? And what’s so “special” about me?

EARTH SPIRIT: Well, I specifically fashioned you to be one of the swiftest animals around! I also made you one of the smartest — maybe too smart! All sorts of creatures have fallen for your crafty tricks.

NARRATOR: Rabbit shrugged.

RABBIT: (dismissive) Whatever. So I’ve got speed, I’ve got brains. But seriously — what good are those things when I’m such a shrimp? Most everyone is bigger than me, and stronger — not to mention how many other animals want to eat me! I mean, come meal time, it’s like I’m at the wrong end of an all-you-can-eat buffet! A snack bar! A smorgasbord! A --

EARTH SPIRIT: Okay, Rabbit. I hear you. And I tell you what. I can make you bigger, but you have to earn it.

NARRATOR: Rabbit quivered with delight.

RABBIT: That’s fine! I’ll do anything you say! You name it, I’ll make it happen!

EARTH SPIRIT: Alright. Here’s what you need to do. You must bring me two things. First, a whisker from Lion. Second, a feather from Eagle.

NARRATOR: Rabbit’s eyes grew wide. She started trembling so hard her whiskers were shaking.

RABBIT: (nervous) Um, with all due respect, Earth Spirit — Lion? Eagle? Those are two of the big, scary animals who want to to eat me for breakfast! And lunch and dinner and midnight snack and --

EARTH SPIRIT: Oh, I know! I didn’t say the task would be easy. But then, you’re a quick one, Rabbit — in body and mind! You’ll figure it out. Now, hop to it!

NARRATOR: Rabbit dragged her fuzzy feet back to her snug burrow underground.

RABBIT: (downtrodden) Well, this is great. Just great. I ask Earth Spirit to make me bigger, and now she wants me to get Lion’s whisker? And Eagle’s feather!? All those guys ever think about is their next meal. How could I possibly ever --

(a-ha moment, gasp) Wait a minute. ‘Their next meal!’ That’s it!

NARRATOR: Rabbit’s mind raced as she scrambled out of her burrow. Then she bounded off to the forest… where Lion was creeping out of his den. It was still early in the day, and he was just about to start his morning hunt.

RABBIT: Hey, Lion! Lion! Yoohooooo!

NARRATOR: When Lion’s gaze landed on Rabbit, he began to salivate.

LION: Well, hello, Rabbit! Delivering me breakfast in bed, are you?

RABBIT: Actually, Lion, if you play your cards right, I can deliver you two breakfasts.

NARRATOR: Lion cocked his shaggy head.

LION: Come again? What do you mean, “two breakfasts"?

RABBIT: Well, Lion, it just so happens I’ve heard about a top-secret way you can make two of me! You just pluck out your magic whisker, poke my fur two times, and then voila — two Rabbits!

NARRATOR: Lion scoffed.

LION: (scoffing) I don’t have a magic whisker!

RABBIT: You sure about that? Try it!

LION: (thinking a moment) Alright then. I’m pretty hungry, and hey — what have I got to lose? Other than, you know, a whisker?

NARRATOR: Lion lifted his paw and yanked out a whisker. Then he poked Rabbit’s fur with it, two times.

LION: Nothing’s happening. There’s still just one of you!

RABBIT: Hmmm ... maybe you’re not doing it right. Here, let me try.

NARRATOR: Rabbit snatched the whisker from Lion’s paw. But instead of poking herself with it, do you know what she did?

Do you...?


NARRATOR: I’m Rebecca Sheir. Welcome back to Circle Round. Today our story is called “Rabbit’s Wish.”

Before the break, we met Rabbit. Everything about Rabbit was small, including her stumpy little ears. So she asked Earth Spirit, the creator of all the animals, to make her bigger.

Earth Spirit said she would grant Rabbit’s wish if the swift, sly creature could bring her two things: Lion’s whisker and Eagle’s feather.

Ever the trickster, Rabbit cooked up a plan. First, she zipped over to the forest to see LioN, who immediately wanted to eat Rabbit for breakfast. But she used her smarts to play a trick on him. She got him to believe his whisker might be magic.

And as soon as he pulled it out? She grabbed it from him and began leaping away.

RABBIT: (sound of glee) Ha ha!

NARRATOR: Lion growled and took off after Rabbit.

But the little creature was so fast, by the time Lion reached Rabbit’s burrow, she’d already shimmied through the narrow hole, where the giant beast could never reach her.

LION: (growling) I’ll get you next time, Rabbit. Next time!

NARRATOR: Then, he skulked off to go hunting and Rabbit fell asleep.

RABBIT: (snoring)

NARRATOR: A few hours later, she woke up all refreshed, nibbled some turnips, then climbed out of her burrow and bounced over to the river.

It was lunchtime, and Eagle was soaring in the sky, her sharp eyes fixed on the water below.

RABBIT: Hey, Eagle! Eagle! Over here!

NARRATOR: When Eagle saw Rabbit, the majestic bird swooped down, her pointy talons outstretched.

EAGLE: Good afternoon, Rabbit!

(getting ready to eat Rabbit) You’re just in time for lunch!

RABBIT: Just a minute, Eagle! If you play your cards right, I can make you two lunches!

NARRATOR: Intrigued, Eagle glided down to the ground.

EAGLE: Wait — what do you mean, “two lunches”?

RABBIT: Well, it just so happens I’ve caught wind of a very special way you can make two of me! You just take your magic feather, wave it over me two times and then — shazam — two Rabbits!

NARRATOR: Eagle scowled.

EAGLE: Puh-leeeze! I don’t have a magic feather!

RABBIT: You sure about that? Just try it.

EAGLE: (thinking a moment) Alright then. Might as well give it a go. I am famished!

NARRATOR: Eagle used one of her talons to pluck out a feather. Then, she waved the feather over Rabbit two times.

EAGLE: Wait — nothing’s happening. There’s still only one of you!

RABBIT: Hmmm. Maybe you’re not doing it right. Hang on. Let me try.

NARRATOR: Rabbit seized the feather from Eagle’s talon. And can you guess what she did next?

That’s right!

She clutched that feather in her fuzzy little paw and began scampering away!

Eagle flapped her wings and took off after Rabbit. But, as with Lion, by the time Eagle reached Rabbit’s cozy burrow, Rabbit was safe and snug underground.

EAGLE: This isn’t the last you’ve seen of me, Rabbit! I’ve got my eagle-eyes on you!

NARRATOR: Then, she spread her wings and flew away.

Rabbit waited until the coast was clear. With Eagle’s feather in one paw and Lion’s whisker in the other, she scuttled out of her burrow and proudly showed her items to Earth Spirit.

EARTH SPIRIT: Well, well, well! I am impressed, Rabbit. You’ve succeeded in obtaining two objects from two animals who could easily swallow you in one gulp. And you’ve done it just as you are — with nothing but swift feet and a swift mind!

RABBIT: Alright, already! I get it! I’m "swift"! I’m "smart"! But, I told you, Earth Spirit: None of that matters if I’m not big!

(sincere) Come on, Earth Spirit. You promised you’d grant my wish.

NARRATOR: Earth Spirit saw the desperation in Rabbit’s eyes, and let out a sigh.

EARTH SPIRIT: (sigh) Alright, Rabbit; a promise is a promise. Now try this on for size!

NARRATOR: There was a blinding flash of light, then Rabbit felt a tug on her front side.


NARRATOR: Next, she felt a tug on her back side.


NARRATOR: Now, her entire body was stretching and growing, growing and stretching — until she was nearly as big as a goat!

RABBIT: ( expression of surprise) Holy moly! Look at this!

NARRATOR: Rabbit was looking herself up and down, admiring her new, bigger self, when she heard some familiar voices.

Some familiar angry voices.

LION: Grrrrr! There she is! The trickster who stole my whisker!

EAGLE: And my feather!

NARRATOR: It was Lion and Eagle, and they were rapidly heading her way.

RABBIT: Uh-oh!

NARRATOR: Rabbit’s instinct was to scamper off like she’d always done before. But her new, bigger body felt all out of proportion. With her longer, heavier legs, she was like a gawky baby calf taking its first awkward steps. She could hardly keep her balance.

RABBIT: (awkwardly trying to hop) Woah, there! Yow! Woah! Yikes!

NARRATOR: Without thinking, Rabbit staggered to her burrow. But when she tried diving down the narrow hole, as she’d done so many times before...

RABBIT: (trying to squeeze through)

NARRATOR: ...her new, bigger body got stuck!

RABBIT: (getting stuck) Oy!

NARRATOR: Lion and Eagle were getting closer and closer. Rabbit fought to blink back tears.

RABBIT: (still stuck in the hole) Earth Spirit! Hey, Earth Spirit! Listen! I was wrong. I never should have asked to be a different size. I was fine before. No — I was awesome! Please!

(sincere) Can you turn me back to the way I was?

NARRATOR: Earth Spirit thought for a moment.

EARTH SPIRIT: Well, I can’t reverse a wish once I’ve granted it. But there is one thing I can do...

NARRATOR: There was another flash of light, and all at once, Rabbit felt herself shrinking and shrinking, until her body was small enough to slip through her burrow hole and escape the mighty paws of Lion.

LION: (frustrated) Aw, shucks!

NARRATOR: ...and the menacing claws of Eagle!

EAGLE: (frustrated) Oh, drats!

NARRATOR: Now, Rabbit’s body was back to its regular size. But her ears — her formerly stubby ears — they were still big!

You see, Earth Spirit had left Rabbit’s ears long — as long as a corn cob! Not only that, but they could tilt and turn in any direction, so that now when other, bigger animals wanted to get revenge for Rabbit’s tricks she could hear them coming from a mile away!

Since then, not once has Rabbit wished to be enormous like Elephant or tall like Giraffe or strong like Bull. In fact, she’s never asked Earth Spirit to change anything about her, ever.

Because on that fateful day, the quick-footed, quick-witted creature learned something very important: Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes, small can be best of all.

Headshot of Rebecca Sheir

Rebecca Sheir Host, Circle Round
Rebecca Sheir is the host "Circle Round," WBUR's kids storytelling podcast.



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