(1 of 1. Originally posted on November 04, 2022 for the prompt “Kaleidoscope.”)
Once upon a time, dear children, long ago when the moon shone full every night and the stars sang, all the desert animals loved to dance in the moonlight. The desert fox jumped, quick and lithe, bounding over rocks and chasing his tail. The desert owl flew circles and loops, while her shadow danced as a silent partner on the ground below. The desert snake slipped and slid along the sands with deadly grace. The desert mouse leapt and ran, but she always kept an eye on the snake, dear children, for she was not so silly as to forget his nature. But the desert rabbit, he outdanced them all.
He leapt and twirled, he pranced and spun. He danced with joyous abandon under the kaleidoscope moon. More agile than the fox, silent as the owl, graceful as the snake, and quicker than the mouse, the rabbit danced. He danced circles around them all, and laughed as they crept away one by one to their beds. Long after the others left him alone, the rabbit danced with the moon.
At last, even the moon grew tired and heavy, sinking below the rim of the world to sleep through the heat of the day. The rabbit danced until the angry sun cast its rays across the land and drove him to his den, sweaty and exhausted. The desert sun burns with anger, dear children, because he is jealous of the moon. For all the desert animals love to play with the moon, but when the sun comes out to play, they all run and hide until he sets again. They hide because he burns so hot. But don’t try to tell him so, dear children, for it only makes him angrier, and the angrier he gets the hotter he burns. But that is another story, for another night.
The rabbit loved to dance so much, that he danced all night until the angry sun rose, and then he slipped into his den and waited for the moon, hungry for more. He loved to dance, and then he began to love the moon, because she danced with him when nobody else would. He could think of nothing apart from dancing and moonlight and moonlight and dancing, until the two became one in his silly rabbit mind. He could not think of sleep, but sleep does not care if you think of it or not, dear children, and it came to him anyway. He could not think of food, and food is not so tame as sleep, to come when it is called.
And the rabbit grew hungry…
Still he danced, until his belly ached with hunger and his legs grew weak, and he could not find the strength to dance. And then he thought of food and moonlight and moonlight and food, until the two became one in his silly rabbit mind. So he lay in his den and waited for the moon, hungry.
The moment the moon peeked over the rocks, the rabbit ran as fast as his hungry legs could run, straight to the top of the highest rock, and he leapt as hard as his hungry legs could leap, and took a bite from the moon. But then she rose out of reach, so the rabbit could only gaze at her with love and hunger, and hunger and love, longing to eat her up. So he lay in his den and waited for the moon, hungry. And the next night, and the next. Each night he took a bite of the moon. And the moon grew smaller, and his belly grew fuller, until the sky was empty and his belly was full.
But the moon is made of rock, dear children, and rock sits heavy in silly rabbit bellies. The rabbit squeezed into his den, swollen and aching, sleepless and sick, until the angry sun grew tired and set. And then he crawled out of his den and belched a bit of moon into the sky. Then he squeezed into his den, swollen and aching, sleepless and sick, until the angry sun grew tired and set. Each night the rabbit belched a bit of moon. And his belly grew smaller, and the moon grew fuller, until his belly was empty and the moon was full.
And the rabbit grew hungry…