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[Doubleday and Cumpany: Garden Sity, Nue York - no copyriet or pub daet]
frum Th Velveteen
THAIR was wuns a velveteen rabit, and in th begining he was reealy splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabit shuud be; his coet was spoted broun and whiet, he had reeal thred whiskers, and his eers wer liend with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wejd in th top of th Boy's stoking, with a sprig of holy between his paws, th efect was charming.
Thair wer uther things in th stoking, nuts and orenjes and a toi enjin, and chocolet aamonds and a clokwerk mous, but th Rabit was qiet th best of all. For at leest too ours th Boi luvd him, and then Ants and Unkls caem to diner, and thair was a graet rusling of tishoo paeper and unwrapping of parsels, and in th exsietment of luuking at all th nue prezents th Velveteen Rabit was forgoten.
For a long tiem he livd in th toi cubord or on th nersery flor, and no wun thaut verry much about him. He was nacheraly shi, and being oenly maed of velveteen, sum of th mor expensiv tois qiet snubd him. Th mecanical tois wer verry supeerior, and luukt doun upon evry wun els; thae wer fuul of modern iedeeas, and pretended thae wer reeal. Th model boet, hoo had livd thru too seezons and lost moest of his paent, caut th toen frum them and never mist an oportuenity of refering to his riging in tecnical terms. Th Rabit cuud not claem to be a model of enything, for he didn't noe that reeal rabits existed; he thaut thae wer all stuft with sawdust liek himself, and he understuud that sawdust was qiet out-of-daet and shuud never be menshund in modern sercls. Eeven Timothy, th jointed wuuden lieon, hoo was maed bi th disaebld soeljers, and shuud hav had brauder vues, puut on airs and pretended he was conected with Guvernment. Between them all th pur litl Rabit was maed to feel himself verry insignificant and comonplaes, and th oenly person hoo was kiend to him at all was th Skin Hors.
Th Skin Hors had livd longger in th nersery than eny of th uthers. He was so oeld that his broun coet was balld in paches and shoed th seems underneeth, and moest of th hairs in his tael had bin puuld out to string beed neklases. He was wiez, for he had seen a long sucseshun of mecanical tois ariev to boest and swager, and bi-and-bi braek thair mainsprings and pas awae, and he nue that thae wer oenly tois, and wuud never tern into enything els. For nersery majic is verry straenj and wunderful, and oenly thoes playthings that ar oeld and wiez and expeeryenst liek th Skin Hors understand all about it.
"Whut is REEAL?" askt th Rabit wun dae, when thae wer lieing sied bi sied neer th nersery fender, befor Nana caem to tiedy th room. "Duz it meen having things that buz insied U and a stik-out handl?"
"Reeal isn't how U ar maed," sed th Skin Hors. "It's a thing that hapens to U. When a chield luvs U for a long, long tiem, not just to plae with, but REEALY luvs U, then U becum Reeal."
"Duz it hert?" askt th Rabit.
"Sumtiems," sed th Skin Hors, for he was allwaes troothful. "When U ar Reeal U don't miend being hert."
"Duz it hapen all at wuns, liek being woond up," he askt, "or bit bi bit?"
"It duzn't hapen all at wuns," sed th Skin Hors. "U becum. It taeks a long tiem. That's whi it duzn't hapen offen to peepl hoo braek eezily, or hav sharp ejes, or hoo hav to be cairfuly kept. Jeneraly, bi th tiem U ar Reeal, moest of yur hair has bin luvd off, and yur ies drop out and U get loos in yur joints and verry shaby. But thees things don't mater at all, becauz wuns U ar Reeal U can't be ugly, exsept to peepl hoo don't understand."
"I supoez U ar reeal?" sed th Rabit. And then he wisht he had not sed it, for he thaut th Skin Hors miet be sensitiv. But th Skin Hors oenly smield.
"Th Boy's Unkl maed me Reeal," he sed. "That was a graet meny yeers ago; but wuns U ar Reeal U can't becum unreel agen. It lasts for allwaes."
Th Rabit sied. He thaut it wuud be a long tiem befor this majic calld Reeal hapend to him. He longd to becum Reeal, to noe whut it felt liek; and yet th iedeea of groeing shaby and loozing his ies and whiskers was rather sad. He wisht that he cuud becum it without thees uncumfortabl things hapening to him.
Thair was a person calld Nana hoo roold th nersery. Sumtiems she tuuk no noetis of th playthings lieing about, and sumtiems, for no reezon whutever, she went swooping about liek a graet wind and husld them awae in cubords. She calld this "tiedying up," and th playthings all haeted it, espeshaly th tin wuns. Th Rabit didn't miend it so much, for wherrever he was throen he caem doun sofft.
Wun eevning, when th Boi was going to bed, he cuudn't fiend th chiena daug that allwaes slept with him. Nana was in a hery, and it was too much trubl to hunt for chiena daugs at bedtiem, so she simply luukt about her, and seeing that th toi cubord stuud oepen, she maed a swoop.
"Heer," she sed, "taek yur oeld Buny! He'l do to sleep with U!" And she dragd th Rabit out bi wun eer, and puut him into th Boy's arms.
That niet, and for meny niets after, th Velveteen Rabit slept in th Boy's bed. At ferst he found it uncumfortabl, for th Boi hugd him verry tiet, and sumtiems he roeld oever on him, and sumtiems he puusht him so far under th pilo that th Rabit cuud scairsly breeth. And he mist, too, thoes long moonliet ours in th nersery, when all th hous was sielent, and his tauks with th Skin Hors. But verry soon he groo to liek it, for th Boi uezd to tauk to him, and maed nies tunels for him under th bedcloeths that he sed wer liek th burro th reeal rabits livd in. And thae had splendid gaems together, in whispers, when Nana had gon awae to her super and left th niet-liet berning on th mantelpees. And when th Boi dropt off to sleep, th Rabit wuud snugl doun cloes under his litl worm chin and dreem, with th Boy's hands claspt cloes round him all niet long.
And so tiem went on, and th litl Rabit was verry hapy -- so hapy that he never noetist how his buetyful velveteen fer was geting shabbier and shabbier, and his tael becuming unsewn, and all th pink rubd off his noez wherr th Boi had kist him.
Spring caem, and thae had long daes in th garden, for wherrever th Boi went th Rabit went too. He had rieds in th wheelbarro, and picniks on th gras, and luvly fairy huts bilt for him under th razberry caens behiend th flower border. And wuns, when th Boi was calld awae sudenly to go to tee, th Rabit was left out on th laun until long after dusk, and Nana had to cum and luuk for him with th candl becauz th Boi cuudn't go to sleep unles he was thair. He was wet thru with th due and qiet erthy frum dieving into th burroes th Boi had maed for him in th flower bed, and Nana grumbld as she rubd him off with a corner of her aepron.
"U must hav yur oeld Buny!" she sed. "Fansy all that fus for a toi!"
"Giv me mi Buny!" he sed. "U mustn't sae that. He isn't a toi. He's REEAL!"
When th litl Rabit herd that he was hapy, for he nue whut th Skin Hors had sed was troo at last. Th nersery majic had hapend to him, and he was a toi no longger. He was Reeal. Th Boi himself had sed it.
That niet he was allmoest too hapy to sleep, and so much luv sterd in his litl sawdust hart that it allmoest berst. And into his boot-buton ies, that had long ago lost thair polish, thair caem a luuk of wizdom and buety, so that eeven Nana noetist it next morning when she pikt him up, and sed, "I declair if that oeld Buny hasn't got qiet a noeing expreshun!"
That was a wunderful Sumer!
Neer th hous wherr thae livd thair was a wuud, and in th long June eevning th Boi liekt to go thair after tee to plae. He tuuk th Velveteen Rabit with him, and befor he waanderd off to pik flowers, or plae at brigands amung th trees, he allwaes maed th Rabit a litl nest sumwherr amung th braken, wherr he wuud be qiet coezy, for he was a kiend-hearted litl boi and he liekt Buny to be cumfortabl. Wun eevning, whiel th Rabit was lieing thair aloen, woching th ants that ran to and fro between his velvet paws in th gras, he saw too straenj beings creep out of th tall braken neer him.
Thae wer rabits liek himself, but qiet fery and brand-nue. Thae must hav bin verry wel maed, for thair seems didn't sho at all, and thae chaenjd shaep in a qeer wae when thae moovd; wun minit thae wer long and thin and th next minit fat and bunchy, insted of allwaes staeing th saem liek he did. Thair feet paded sofftly on th ground, and thae crept qiet cloes to him, twiching thair noezes, whiel th Rabit staird hard to see which sied th clokwerk stuk out, for he nue that peepl hoo jump jeneraly hav sumthing to wind them up. But he cuudn't see it. Thae wer evidently a nue kiend of rabit alltogether.
Thae staird at him, and th litl Rabit staird bak. And all th tiem thair noezes twicht.
"Whi don't U get up and plae with us?" wun of them askt.
"I don't feel liek it," sed th Rabit, for he didn't wont to explaen that he had no clokwerk.
"Ho!" sed th fery rabit. "It's as eezy as enything," And he gaev a big hop siedwaes and stuud on his hiend legs.
"I don't beleev U can!" he sed.
"I can!" sed th litl Rabit. "I can jump hieer than enything" He ment when th Boi throo him, but of cors he didn't wont to sae so.
"Can U hop on yur hiend legs?" askt th fery rabit?
That was a dredful qeschun, for th Velveteen rabit had no hiend legs at all! Th bak of him was maed all in wun pees, liek a pincuushun. He sat stil in th braken, and hoept that th uther rabit wuudn't noetis.
"I don't wont to!" he sed agen.
But th wield rabits hav verry sharp ies. And this wun strecht out his nek and luukt.
"He hasn't got eny hiend legs" he calld out. "Fansy a rabit without eny hiend legs" And he began to laf.
"I hav!" cried th litl Rabit. "I hav got hiend legs! I am siting on them"
"Then strech them out and sho me, liek this!" sed th wield rabit. And he began to wherl around and dans, til th litl Rabit got qiet dizy.
"I don't liek dansing," he sed. "I'd rather sit stil!"
But all th whiel he was longing to dans, for a funy nue tickly feeling ran thru him, and he felt he wuud giv enything in th werld to be aebl to jump about liek thees rabits did.
Th straenj rabit stopt dansing, and caem qiet cloes. He caem so cloes this tiem that his long whiskers brusht th Velveteen Rabbit's eer, and then he rinkld his noez sudenly and flatend his eers and jumpt bakwards.
"He duzn't smel riet!" he exclaemd. "He isn't a rabit at all! He isn't reeal!"
"I am Reeal!" sed th litl Rabit. "I am Reeal! Th Boi sed so!" And he neerly began to cri.
Just then thair was a sound of fuutsteps, and th Boi ran past neer them, and with a stamp of feet and a flash of whiet taels th too straenj rabits disapeerd.
"Cum bak and plae with me!" calld th litl Rabit. "O, do cum bak! I noe I am Reeal!"
But thair was no anser, oenly th litl ants ran to and fro, and th braken swaed jently wherr th too straenjers had past. Th Velveteen Rabit was all aloen.
"O, deer!" he thaut. "Whi did thae run awae liek that? Whi cuudn't thae stop and tauk to me?"
For a long tiem he lae verry stil, woching th braken, and hoeping that thae wuud cum bak. But thae never reternd, and prezently th sun sank loeer and th litl whiet mauths fluterd out, and th Boi caem and carryd him hoem.
Weeks past, and th litl Rabit groo verry oeld and shaby, but th Boi luvd him just as much. He luvd him so hard that he luvd all his whiskers off, and th pink liening to his eers ternd grae, and his broun spots faeded. He eeven began to looz his shaep, and he scairsly luukt liek a rabit eny mor, exsept to th Boi. To him he was allwaes buetyful, and that was all that th litl Rabit caird about. He didn't miend how he luukt to uther peepl, becauz th nersery majic had maed him Reeal, and when U ar Reeal shabynes duzn't mater.
And then, wun dae, th Boi was il.
His faes groo verry flusht, and he taukt in his sleep, and his litl body was so hot that it bernd th Rabit when he held him looz.
Straenj peepl caem and went in th nersery, and a liet bernd all niet and thru it all th litl Velveteen Rabit lae thair, hiden frum siet under th bedcloeths, and he never sterd, for he was afraed that if thae found him sum wun miet taek him awae, and he nue that th Boi needed him.
It was a long weery tiem, for th Boi was too il to plae, and th litl Rabit found it rather dul with nuthing to do all dae long. But he snugld doun paeshently, and luukt forward to th tiem when th Boi shuud be wel agen, and thae wuud go out in th garden amungst th flowers and th buterflies and plae splendid gaems in th razberry thiket liek thae uezd to. All sorts of delietful things he pland, and whiel th Boi lae haf asleep he crept up cloes to th pilo and whisperd them in his eer. And prezently th feever ternd, and th Boi got beter. He was aebl to sit up in bed and luuk at pikcher-buuks, whiel th litl Rabit cuddled cloes at his sied. And wun dae, thae let him get up and dres.
It was a briet, suny morning, and th windoes stuud wied oepen. Thae had carryd th Boi out on th balcony, rapt in a shall, and th litl Rabit lae tanggld up amung th bedcloeths, thinking.
Th Boi was going to th seesied to-morro. Evrything was araenjd, and now it oenly remaend to carry out th doctor's orders. Thae taukt about it all, whiel th litl Rabit lae under th bedcloeths, with just his hed peeping out, and lisend. Th room was to be disinfected, and all th buuks and tois that th Boi had plaed with in bed must be bernt.
"Hoo-raa!" thaut th litl Rabit. "To-morro we shal go to th seesied!" For th boi had offen taukt of th seesied, and he wonted verry much to see th big waevs cuming in, and th tieny crabs, and th sand casls.
Just then Nana caut siet of him.
"How about his oeld Buny?" she askt.
"That?" sed th doctor. "Whi, it's a mas of scarlet feever jerms! -- Bern it at wuns. Whut? Nonsens! Get him a nue wun. He mustn't hav that eny mor!"
And so th litl Rabit was puut into a sak with th oeld pikcher-buuks and a lot of rubish, and carryd out to th end of th garden behiend th foul-hous. That was a fien plaes to maek a bonfier, oenly th gardner was too bizy just then to atend to it. He had th potaetoes to dig and th green pees to gather, but next morning he promist to cum erly and bern th hoel lot.
That niet th Boi slept in a diferent bedroom, and he had a nue buny to sleep with him. It was a splendid buny, all whiet plush with reeal glas ies, but th Boi was too exsieted to cair verry much about it. For to-morro he was going to th seesied, and that in itself was such a wunderful thing that he cuud think of nuthing els.
And whiel th Boi was asleep, dreeming of th seesied, th litl Rabit lae amung th oeld pikcher-buuks in th corner behiend th foul-hous, and he felt verry loenly. Th sak had bin left untied, and so bi wriggling a bit he was aebl to get his hed thru th oepening and luuk out. He was shivering a litl, for he had allwaes bin uezd to sleeping in a proper bed, and bi this tiem his coet had worn so thin and thredbair frum huging that it was no longger eny protecshun to him. Neer bi he cuud see th thiket of razberry caens, groeing tall and cloes liek a tropical junggl, in hoos shado he had plaed with th Boi on biegon mornings. He thaut of thoes long sunlit ours in th garden -- how hapy thae wer -- and a graet sadnes caem oever him. He seemd to see them all pas befor him, eech mor buetyful than th uther, th fairy huts in th flower-bed, th qieet eevnings in th wuud when he lae in th braken and th litl ants ran oever his paws; th wunderful dae when he ferst nue that he was Reeal. He thaut of th Skin Hors, so wiez and jentl, and all that he had toeld him. Of whut ues was it to be luvd and looz one's buety and becum Reeal if it all ended liek this? And a tair, a reeal tair, trickled doun his litl shaby velvet noez and fel to th ground.
And then a straenj thing hapend. For wherr th tair had fallen a flower groo out of th ground, a misteerius flower, not at all liek eny that groo in th garden. It had slender green leevs th colour of emeralds, and in th senter of th leevs a blosom liek a goelden cup. It was so buetyful that th litl Rabit forgot to cri, and just lae thair woching it. And prezently th blosom oepend, and out of it thair stept a fairy.
She was qiet th luvlyest fairy in th hoel werld. Her dres was of perl and due-drops, and thair wer flowers round her nek and in her hair, and her faes was liek th moest perfect flower of all. And she caem cloes to th litl Rabit and gatherd him up in her arms and kist him on his velveteen noez that was all damp frum crieing.
"Litl Rabit," she sed, "don't U noe hoo I am?"
Th Rabit luukt up at her, and it seemd to him that he had seen her faes befor, but he cuudn't think wherr.
"I am th nersery majic Fairy," she sed. "I taek cair of all th playthings that th children hav luvd. When thae ar oeld and worn out, and th children don't need them eny mor, then I cum and taek them awae with me and tern them into Reeal."
"Wasn't I Reeal befor?" askt th litl Rabit.
"U wer Reeal to th Boi," th Fairy sed, "becauz he luvd U. Now U shal be Reeal to evry wun."
And she held th litl Rabit cloes in her arms and floo with him into th wuud.
It was liet now, for th moon had rizen. All th forest was buetyful, and th fronds of th braken shoen liek frosted silver. In th oepen glade between th tree-trunks th wield rabits danst with thair shadoes on th velvet gras, but when thae saw th Fairy thae all stopt dansing and stuud round in a ring to stair at her.
"I'v braut U a nue playfellow," th Fairy sed. "U must be verry kiend to him and teech him all he needs to noe in Rabit-land, for he is going to liv with U for ever and ever!"
And she kist th litl Rabit agen and puut him doun on th gras.
"Run and plae, litl Rabit!" she sed.
But th litl Rabit sat qiet stil for a moement and never moovd. For when he saw all th wield rabits dansing around him he sudenly rememberd about his hiend legs, and he didn't wont them to see that he was maed all in wun pees. He did not noe that when th Fairy kist him that last tiem she had chaenjd him alltogether. And he miet hav sat thair a long tiem, too shi to moov, if just then sumthing hadn't tikld his noez, and befor he thaut whut he was doing he lifted his hiend toe to scrach it.
And he found that he akchualy had hiend legs! Insted of dinjy velveteen he had broun fer, sofft and shieny, his eers twicht bi themselvs, and his whiskers wer so long that thae brusht th gras. He gaev wun leep and th joi of uezing thoes hiend legs was so graet that he went springing about th terf with them, jumping siedwaes and wherling round as th uther did, and he groo so exsieted that when at last he did stop to luuk for th Fairy she had gon.
He was a Reeal Rabit at last, at hoem with th uther rabits.
Autum past and Winter, and in th Spring, when th daes groo worm and suny, th Boi went out to plae in th wuud behiend th hous. And whiel he was plaeing, too rabits crept out frum th braken and peeped at him. Wun of them was broun all oever, but th uther had straenj markings under his fer, as tho long ago he had bin spoted, and th spots stil shoed thru. And about his litl sofft noez and his round bak ies thair was sumthing familyar, so that th Boi thaut to himself:
"Whi, he luuks just liek mi oeld Buny that was lost when I had scarlet feever!"
But he never nue that it reealy was his oen Buny, cum bak to luuk at th chield hoo had ferst helpt him to be Reeal.
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