Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Runaway Bunny

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

“If you run after me,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a fish in a trout stream

and I will swim away from you.”

“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother,
“I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

“If you become a fisherman,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a rock on the mountain, high above you.”

“If you become a rock on the mountain high above me,”
said his mother, “I will become a mountain climber,
and I will climb to where you are.”

“If you become a mountain climber,”
said the little bunny,
“I will be a crocus in a hidden garden.”

“If you become a crocus in a hidden garden,”
said his mother, “I will be a gardener. And I will find you.”

“If you are a gardener and find me,”
said the little bunny, “I will be a bird
and fly away from you.”

“If you become a bird and fly away from me,”
said his mother, “I will be a tree that you come home to.”

“If you become a tree,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a little sailboat,
and I will sail away from you.”

“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,”
said his mother, “I will become the wind
and blow you where I want you to go.”

“If you become the wind and blow me,” said the little bunny,
“I will join a circus and fly away on a flying trapeze.”

“If you go flying on a flying trapeze,” said his mother,
“I will be a tightrope walker,
and I will walk across the air to you.”

“If you become a tightrope walker and walk across the air,”
said the bunny, “I will become a little boy
and run into a house.”

“If you become a little boy and run into a house,”
said the mother bunny, “I will become your mother
and catch you in my arms and hug you.”

“Shucks,” said the bunny, “I might just as well
stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

And so he did.
“Have a carrot,” said the mother bunny.

I love this story because the relationship between Mother Bunny and her Little Bunny can easily be paralleled to the relationship God has with His children. No matter where the Little Bunny goes, where he tries to run away to or hide, what he attempts to become, Mother Bunny always knows how to find him and is right there for him. And in the end Little Bunny realizes being safe with Mother Bunny is the best place to be anyway. Just as God always knows where we are no matter how far we try to stray (intentionally or not), and one of His deepest desires is for us to come to the place of simply wanting to be “Little Bunnies.”

Psalm 139:7-10
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.


BayouMaMa2 said...

I've got to get this book!

I'm glad God never let me go when I tried to run away from Him!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your help.... My wife and I had a very serious fight, The book and its greater meaning showed her how God's love works in all of us.

We used to read this to our kids every night, knowing that the words ran true but never realizing the depth of them. Those words got us back together, and happy unger God's Love.

Thank you so much.

David said...

Thanks for posting the text. This story has nooooothing to do with god - it represents a mother's love for her child. But feel free to reinvent it in any way that works for you. said...

Thanks for posting this. My best friend just had a baby and she was telling me about this story.

Rebex said...

it has everything to do with a mother and her child and it also has everything to do with any form of god and his children- as with all forms of art, interpretation is discovery :) love love love this story

Julia said...

David said, "If there is a God, I will deny Him." God said, "Even if you deny Me, I will speak to you out of children's stories and still tell you of My love for you..."


John said...


And David said, "Shucks, I don't see how I can run from you; you're there where-ever I go. Might as well stick around and see what you have to offer me." And so he did.
"Here's the truth," God said, handing him the bible.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 17:17
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Anonymous said...

Have a carrot.

Anonymous said...

Our Jesuit High school has a weekly meditation period called the "examen." I used this story, with the music of Erik Satie playing softly in the background, on the Thrusday before Mother's Day, telling students to be grateful to whomever in their lives was always "there" for them, was always able to help them feel safe. It was most effective--even to the usually quite cynical seniors in my homeroom.

anton said...

it made me cry.
soulfull thanks for posting this divine piece on lord the father's never ending love.

Sapwolf said...

Just yesterday, I gave this book to a co-worker at my job who is pregnant and due in November. I'm divorced now but it was one of my favorites when I still lived with my wife and young son.

Because she is having a little girl, I did point out the part when the bunny was going to be a 'boy' and run into the house.

Hmmm....."have a carrot"? Nope. I'd go from bunny to boy and get that hug in a heartbeat.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the text of this book. I was able to read it in the paediatric intensive care unit to my dying nephew. It was so sweet though difficult to read without choking up. It is a lovely allegory of the soul and our heavenly father. It also symbolised to us that his mother would see him again one day.

Michigan Momma said...

I love this book! This along with Goodnight Moon I read over and over with my four children when they were young. Now they are young adults, and they are running away! Growing up and becoming the people God wants them to be. I hope that they always know God, His love, and their Momma's love is with them at all times :) Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Another good allegory for the soul is "The Hound Of Heaven" by Francis Thompson. In it, Jesus is a hound-dog pursuing the soul to bring it back to safety.

Marie Hannum said...

Runaway Bunny is such a cute book for children! Kids can learn the importance of not running away from challenges (unnamed in this book) and can empathize with the bunny and feel the love he feels from his mother. I'm sure this will remain a classic for a long time!

Dolores Burke said...

Hi there, Imagine my surprise to see you go to Loma Linda, I live in Delaware, but I used to live in So. Ca. I love this book also and I am a faithful SDA Christian, I have never wrote on anyone's blog before but I felt impressed to say Hi and to encourage you to continue to Live for Christ, Because that truly is what it's all about! May God bless and keep you and continue to prosper you all for His lory!!!

Daniel S. - Texas said...

I'm 28 years old. When I was 4 and a half, my mommy died. I did not realize depth of my loss, the internal damage done, or that the source of my crippling anxiety is not a result of my 4 tours of duty and Iraq, until I started having children of my own. Recently it was revealed to me that my anxiety had always been there. I think I'm a little bunny, wanting to crawl into my mother lap but she's gone. My dad recently told me, through tears, that she had made him promise to never stop reading me the book Runaway Bunny before she left for the hospital. He said that he read it to me while she was in the hospital but after she died it was too painful. Because of this, we didn't talk about it much, seldom at all, and I'm sad to say that I do not have a single memory of her. I understand the sovereignty of God, I've seen it. I understand that he is merciful as well. What I struggle with is understanding is graciousness and loving kindness. Can someone help me? What do these words mean, how do they relate to this story?

Elizabeth said...

I was looking for this text to read something to my baby boy. How neat to see that you are a Christian! I went ahead and read Psalm 139 to him, too...

David Andrews said...

Dr Bristow, I know you don't know me but I found your blog by doing a search for Runaway Bunny on Google and this web site popped up. I just wanted to encourage you not to give up the faith, but you can still hate SUNDAYS. I am a widower from 2011, today is the 2 year anniversary of my wife dying of ALL Leukemia, and have 2 little girls (Sarah 8 and Lydia 6), but just wanted to thank you for your blog about RUNAWAY BUNNY! You can find me at Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend upcoming and a NICE SUNDAY!~ :-) Stay strong!

Bianca Castafiore? said...

i've always loved this children's book, a favorite among adults! not being able to put my hands on it, i was very thankful to find the text here. i won't quibble over interpretation -- it's one of those great works that laughs at all the attempts to rein it in... thanks and credit, of course, to Margaret Wise Brown!

Unknown said...

You cut off the ending:
He did not want it, but there was no one else who would feed him, so he took what she had to offer and he ate it.

I think your reading is rather simplistic. Don't jump to an allegorical level before having explored the realistic, psychological representation of the mother child relationship. This mother is relentless and "cruel" in her victory. I find this story deeply troubling and end it quite sad for the little bunny who has been crushed by his mother.

MaggieCat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaggieCat said...

You all do know that this book is available from Amazon, and I'm sure many other booksellers? The best way to insure that a book stays in print is to buy it while it is in print. God loveth a supporter of copyrights and authors.

timothy said...

I learned about this story from the HBO movie "WIT" some years ago. The reader in the movie referred it the story as "an allegory of the soul." Whatever the writer intended or the reader derives, I have employed the story with great effect in my work with the dying as a healthcare provider for a hospice. Whatever the musings of the living, the dying predominately see this story as one of hope.

ladiebuggg888 said...

My daughter is almost 17 and has been talking the last couple of years about when she's 18 she's so outta here, she wants to go everywhere but here. we have already been informed that she doesn't want to raise her family in this area or anything really made me think of her, (first time I read this story, it was in a movie I was watching) not just for the little ones. I hope she just travels and realizes home is the best place to be to raise your family. I'm not saying right next door (i'd be ok with that lol) but maybe the next city over even or so.

Jeff Buckner said...

Thank you very much for posting this text. A friend gave me this book 20 years ago and I thought "this is weird, he gave me a kids' book." But it helped me finally understand that His Grace is not based on my performance. Praise God for that! It took me 40 years and "Have a carrot" to finally figure that out.

Ada Swan said...

I just bought and sent this book to my adult estranged daughter. I need her to know that even after all these years, my love for her will always be there.

Ada Swan said...

Wow what a sad gloomy interpretation.... sorry, this speaks more about you than it does the meanings of the book. ( hug) I feel you need one

Ada Swan said...

She's always with you!

Anonymous said...

I respectfully say that you are very much the little bunny and you are hiding from God, but He will find you because He loves you very, very much.

Aimee Fleming said...

Daniel S in Texas in 2012 asked a profound question. Peace and condolences and hope have found healing since then. My understanding is Divine Providence (grace, hesed) for humanity is usually beyond human understanding without infused Wisdom. Most experience God's grace by it's fruits - peace, patience, joy, love, etc. and these are notable because not based on favorable circumstances in life. Honoring a deceased parent you never knew can still be accomplished by praying for your Mother's eternal rest.

God's grace in the Old Testament

Aimee Fleming said...

As far as how grace and loving kindness relate to the runaway bunny, the movie Wit called it an allegory for the soul. Graced to exist. Held in existence by hesed. Promised a better existence in eternal life.

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Isabel said...

I read this book when I was about eleven and I never forgotten I look for it every time I go to the library o found it once and read it to my oldest twenty year later I had two little girls and I been looking for this book still I have to say this is my up most favorite book I love it and I will get this book before o leave this earth this book is book that should be handed down if u really love your children and u go to any extent to be close to your child then this book is for you thank you Margaret wise brown thank you for writing this book it's a awsome book now wish me luck to find five books I got five children and I want for each one of them to have so that they can read it to thier baby thank you

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