Morning Glory stopped in the pathway and looked around. She looked closely at the ground near the tall trees. Cautiously, a little bunny peeked out at Morning Glory. It was a cute little bunny, all chubby with the food it had eaten, ready for a long winter nap.
Dont be afraid, little one, said Morning Glory, calling softly to the bunny. No one is going to hurt you.
The little bunny was frightened. He had met others who said they wouldn't hurt him, but hurt him anyway, even if they didnt really mean it. The little bunny turned and ran into the woods.
Come back, little bunny. Ill never hurt you, called Morning Glory. She stood for a while to wait for the bunny, but he didnt come out.
Morning Glory called to the bunny again. Ill come back tomorrow. Then you will see I wont hurt you, little bunny. Then she started walking away.
Slowly, the bunny peeked out from behind a tall tree. His little bunny heart was thumping inside him. The little bunny had never felt like this before. Maybe if she comes back tomorrow, Ill not hide, the little bunny thought.
The next day, Sweet Morning Glory was walking through the field again. She stopped when she came to the tall trees and looked to see if the little bunny was there. Morning Glory hoped he would be there.
After a little while, the bunny peeked his head out around a tree. He saw Morning Glory standing in the field. His heart began to thump again, just like it did the day before.
Morning Glory saw the bunny and called to him. Do not be afraid, little bunny. I will not hurt you. She smiled at the bunny.
Slowly, the bunny came closer to Morning Glory. When he saw that she would not hurt him, the bunny smiled too.
All through the day, the little bunny and Morning Glory played in the field and near the tall trees. Then the time came when Morning Glory had to go home. This made the bunny sad.
Dont cry, little bunny, said Morning Glory. I will come back tomorrow and we can play some more.
The little bunny smiled, and said good-bye to Morning Glory. As he ran back into the tall trees, his heart was thumping. Ive never been so happy before, he thought to himself, I hope she comes back.
The next day, Morning Glory came back and played with the little bunny. She came the day after that, and the day after that, too. Every day Morning Glory came and she and the little bunny played in the field until it was time for her to go home again. But the bunny was happy because now he had someone to play with and he knew she would come back again.
Hello, little bunny, said Morning Glory. You know I would never hurt you.
The little bunny smiled at her, but he could sense something was not right. What is wrong, Morning Glory? he asked.
Morning Glory looked at the bunny and smiled. Im not going to be able to come and play with you every day anymore, little bunny, she said. Im going to be married soon.
The little bunny was heart broken. He had grown to trust Morning Glory so much since they had started to play in the field. He was beginning to think he might love her even though he had vowed never to fall in love again.
He thought about the Tin Soldier he once played with. She had hurt him so very much when she told him that she didnt want to play with him any more. Ive been hurt by love too many times before, the bunny thought to himself, and Im never again going to tell anyone that I love them.
Who are you going to marry? asked the bunny. He wanted to know.
Morning Glory sighed and said to the bunny: He is someone Ive known for a while. We see each other when I go home from here and there is no one else around. We like to do the same kind of things. And weve been talking about it a bit.
The little bunny turned his eyes away from Morning Glory. He didnt want her to see how much she had hurt him. He began to cry again, and through his tears he said to Morning Glory, I thought you loved me.
Morning Glory said, You are my friend, little bunny. My Dearest and Truest friend. But even though I love you so, I could never marry you. It would never work.
The little bunny became very sad and he began to drip little bunny tears on the ground. After a moment, he stopped crying. He looked at Morning Glory and tried to smile, but he just couldnt. He began to cry again and Morning Glory held him tight and kissed him. Slowly, the little bunny stopped crying again and this time he started to smile.
Morning Glory... the bunny started to say through his tears, do you love me?
Oh, yes! said Morning Glory.
And if it could be so, would you marry me? the bunny asked. His tiny heart was pounding in his chest and he held his breath, knowing that his heart might be shattered by Morning Glorys answer.
Oh, yes, I would, said Morning Glory. But how could it be?
The bunny drew a deep breath, and then said: There is a witch who lives in a small cottage on the far side of these woods. She could cast a spell and give us her blessing. The bunny looked at Morning Glory. That is how it could be.
Morning Glory held the little bunny close to her again and kissed him. After a while, she said, Little bunny, I will think about it. But I will need some time.
The little bunny nodded his head.
I will go away now, and come back on the day after tomorrow, Morning Glory said to the bunny. When I return, I will give you my decision. But you must promise me that you will live by my choice.
Again the bunny nodded. He was unable to say any words at all. Morning Glory kissed him once more and then began to walk along the pathway.
Suddenly she stopped, and turned back to the bunny. Little bunny, she began, you must promise me that if I decide against you, we will always be friends. Then she turned and walked away.
The little bunny began to cry again. He thought to himself, if she doesnt marry me, I am going to kill myself. Then I will never fall in love again. And I will never tell her what I intend. She will probably not decide to marry me anyway.
When Morning Glory returned as she said she would, she said to the bunny, I have given it much thought, bunny. And even though I love you a great deal, I still cannot marry you. Morning Glory held the bunny and kissed him. You must come to the wedding, wont you? she said. This time the bunny did not cry.
He shook his head because he thought he was dreaming. Across the stream, Morning Glory was calling to him.
Oh please, bunny! she called. Please dont do it. I love you too much to let you.
The little bunny wiped the tears and rain from his eyes. He stood up on the bank of the stream, and looked across the water at Morning Glory. He smiled at her. Then, suddenly, he jumped into the stream.
Morning Glory cried out, BUNNY! NO! She looked in the water for the bunny, but could see no sign of him. She began to weep at the loss of her friend.
She heard a splash from the stream and looked down to see the little bunny reaching his hand up to her. He hadnt drowned himself after all, thought Morning Glory. He swam the stream to come to me.
She reached down and took the bunnys hand in hers and pulled him out of the water.
The little bunny was out of breath from his hard swim, and his little bunny heart was thumping, almost so loud that Morning Glory could hear it, he thought.
Morning Glory sat down beside the bunny. Why did you do that? she asked him.
Because I was afraid, the bunny said. Im afraid to love you because I might lose you. Im afraid to tell you I love you because you might not love me in return. The bunny put his head down and sighed deeply.
The two sat in silence for a while after the little bunny said this. Ive already said enough, maybe too much, he thought. Morning Glory didnt know what to say.
Bunny, Im afraid of love, too, said Morning Glory. You are my friend and I love you very much. Im afraid that I might lose you if I loved you too much. And I dont ever want to lose you, bunny.
The little bunny listened to what Morning Glory said. Again, they said nothing, each alone in their own thoughts, each gazing out across the water.
After some time had passed, the bunny began to speak. We really are something else, he said. It wasnt much, but he knew that Morning Glory understood what he meant.
Here we are, so much in love that were afraid to get involved because we were each hurt so much by love in the past, he thought to himself, staring at the ripples in the water, softly lapping at the shore.
Morning Glory turned to the bunny and looked at him. She could see him smiling at his thoughts and his face lit up.
The little bunny turned to Morning Glory. You know, he said serenely, I used to think that one day, far away from now, the Tin Soldier and I would get married. I could picture myself sharing the rest of my life with her.
The rain had stopped now, and the sky began to clear. Through the trees, the sun was shining and the woods seemed a happy place again.
But for the first time, I now feel that, even if the Tin Soldier came back, I wouldnt spend my life with her, the bunny said. Its really strange to feel this way about her.
A puzzled look crossed Morning Glorys face. I wish I knew what he was talking about, she thought. But she was happy that he was smiling so. Then, for a while the two just sat there at the edge of the woods near the bank of the stream, looking deeply into each others eyes. Silent messages, feelings that no words could ever express, passed between them.
Suddenly, the little bunny grasped both of Morning Glorys hands in his and stood up, pulling her with him. Holding her hand he started to walk into the woods. Breaking into a run, he called to her, Come play with me, Morning Glory!
Morning Glory ran to the little bunny, and once again they played in the woods together.