Saturday, 16 October 2010

The tragic tale of Blackie Buttercup the rabbit and why sometimes it's OK to lie to your kids

Once upon a time, in 2000 to be exact, we owned a rabbit. Spanner and I were under the misguided impression that it would be a less labour-intensive pet than a dog. 

I can't even remember where we bought Blackie Buttercup (BB), a white New Zealand short-eared bunny with a penchant for hand-woven Indian rugs, chair legs and internet cables. The bloody thing gnawed its way through most things in our house whenever we allowed it inside.

The most upsetting incident involved a Ginger Spice doll. BB chewed the doll's leg to just above the ankle and amputated her foot. I still have the maimed doll, which resides in a box with at least a dozen dishevelled Barbies and one exhausted looking Ken. 

But I digress. BB, it turned out, was more trouble than he/she was worth. Despite this I became attached to the little critter, which would hop around my feet as I hung out the washing. 

About six months after we brought BB home, he/she disappeared. We searched far and wide, but it was Spanner who made the gruesome discovery several days later. BB had crawled into our neighbour's yard and under the house where he/she had consumed Ratsak. 

We decided not to tell the kids the truth. Instead, we wove a romantic tale about the liberation of BB into the bush reserve near our house. And they believed it.

Until yesterday. 

Believing that Precious Princess was asleep (it was around 9am) I recounted the sad tale of Blackie Buttercup to an electrician/sparky who was at our house to install a new oven (we were discussing the whereabouts of the electricity cabling, which led me to the saga of BB). 

Just as I finished the story, PP swung open her bedroom door and stabbed a finger at me. "You lied to us about Blackie Buttercup!"

In front of the stunned sparky, I argued with PP about why we felt we had to tell a lie. I mean, how do you explain to three kids under the age of ten that their pet has endured an agonising death after ingesting poison? 

"But," PP argued, "for years we thought Blackie Buttercup was out there in the wild popping out babies. Whenever we saw a rabbit, we thought it was related to Blackie Buttercup. But it was all a lie."

Then she looked at me oddly, and I knew an evil idea had formed in her head. Bribery.

Panic clenched my heart. "Don't you dare tell your little sister about this," I begged. In the meantime, the sparky had edged to the front door, planning his own escape. "She'll never forgive me." (Miss Hissy is the unforgiving type)

A twisted smile distorted PP's beautiful face into a mask of terror. 
"Mmm. Maybe I will or maybe I won't."

I'm not sure if there's a moral to this tragic rabbit tale. 

Maybe it's to make sure the family is out of earshot if you're talking behind their backs.

I still think we did the right thing, even though PP currently holds the balance of power in this household.  

The pic is one of only two in existence of Blackie Buttercup. Here, he is being nursed by Miss Hissy.  I scanned the pic and can't work out how to get rid of the frame! I hate technology.


Mon said...

ROTFL. I know the tale is tragic, but your daughter's response is pretty funny!

We had two pet rabbits when we were kids - one ran away (probably ate someone's Ratsak as well!), the other was given to a friend of ours who had a farm where they would 'look after it' (translation: it became someone's dinner. Sooooo wrong in so many ways!).

Ah, the joy of pet ownership and lying to you kids (hence the reason we don't own a pet!!).

Shayne said...

Same thing happened when we were kids. We lived in Leichhardt and the local greyhound trainers used to feed live rabbits to the dogs. We got an escapee. My mother wasn't too happy about that, so my dad took the bunny out bush and let it go. I think?