On Tuesday, my baby turned six. I wrote about that here. Today, a story in her honor. Because if anyone were ever going to turn cuteness into an evil superpower, it would be her, but I’m still hopeful she’ll take a different path.
Once upon a time there was a little cotton-tail bunny with soft white fur, sweet pink paws, and big brilliant blue eyes. Blue-eyes bunnies are the rarest of all bunnies, so everyone who saw her stopped short and gasped at her beauty. And, of course, they called her Bluette.
It didn’t take long for Bluette to discover the power of her extreme cuteness. Her power worked on her family, who gave her the snuggliest spot in the bunny pile each night. It worked on her friends, who only needed one blink of her big blue eyes to give in on any argument and let her have her way. It even worked on humans, who shouted when they saw her in their garden but then gasped when she looked up at them and let her hop away with extra lettuce in her mouth.
There was only one rabbit who was not susceptible to Bluette’s power, her best friend Ralph. Ralph was born on the same day at Bluette, and they grew up together, but he could not have been more different. Ralph was plain, dull brown. His tail was scraggly. His paws were always muddy. His eyes were so dark they were almost black. No one ever looked into them and felt like doing him extra favors.
Maybe this was why Ralph didn’t always give Bluette her way. Or maybe it was because he had known her from the beginning. Maybe it was because he was secretly against her. Or maybe it was because he was her truest friend.
In any case, Ralph would always say to Bluette, “You could do anything you wanted with your powers of cuteness.” And then he always followed it up by saying, “Be careful.” And he would often mention all the great things she could influence people to do: dig deeper and safer tunnels, be kinder to the weakest bunnies, plant more lettuce.
Bluette would always mention to Ralph that he was terribly boring.
Then she would follow that up with a powerful blink of her big blue eyes, but Ralph just turned away.
Bluette knew the power of her cuteness and she did not want to be careful. She wanted to have fun. She wanted to be loved. She wanted to be obeyed. She wanted all the lettuce.
As she grew into an adult, Bluette did not use her power to influence people to great things. She used it to get compliments. She used it to get the best rooms in the warren. She used it to get the greenest lettuce.
Then subtly she began to use it for more and more. She used it to take over a human’s back yard. Then she used it to gather an army of rabbits. Then she used it to take over a town.
Before long, Bluette the Bunny was the cold-hearted Blue Diamond, ruler of three states, with rank upon rank of bunny soldiers who fought and died at her command but were so quickly replaced that none could conquer them.
Those blue, blue eyes that once melted hearts now froze them. Everyone obeyed, either because they were enchanted by her or afraid of her.
Everyone, that is, except one.
Ralph still lived within the rule of the Blue Diamond, but he did not stop speaking his mind to her and he did not stop turning away when she fixed her piercing stare on him. Bluette often threatened to banish him or even to have him killed, but she never did.
Maybe it was because she liked a challenge. Maybe it was because she had known him from the beginning. Maybe it was because she was waiting for the right time to make an example of him. Or maybe it was because somewhere in her nefarious heart she wanted to believe him when he said it wasn’t too late to change, to begin using her powers for the good of others.
But change is hard. And the Blue Diamond was not used to doing hard things. Instead she conquered more land and piled up more vegetables in her hoard and brought more rabbits under her dominion. And as always happens with tyrants, eventually some bunnies began to rise up against her and she began to be afraid and then she began to be paranoid about losing her power.
Then her sister had a baby bunny. It was a girl bunny, white as snow with tiny pink paws and blue, blue eyes. The Blue Diamond saw instantly that this bunny was a threat to her own power. She was paralyzed with fear.
As she sat in her throne room, deep in the warren, worrying over this adorable new baby, Ralph came in to see her. He congratulated her on her new niece and watched the fear in her eyes. He began to be worried for the bunny’s safety. So Ralph proposed a plan. He would take the baby and her mother far away from Bluette’s kingdom. He would take good care of them and keep them from being a threat to Bluette (and, though he didn’t say it, keep her from being a threat to them). The Blue Diamond leaped at this chance to be rid of her problem.
So Ralph went away, sad to be leaving his friend, whom he had never quite given up on, but happy to be able to save something from the mess that Bluette had made. He helped raise the baby (Blanche) far away from other rabbits and even humans who might be influenced by her great beauty. He did not want her to suffer the same fate as Bluette.
Blanche grew up knowing that she was loved, but never imagining that her white fur or blue eyes could be used to gain her own way. It certainly never worked on the rabbit she called father. She was a sassy bunny, full of life and energy, and she brought light into the life of everyone she met, few though those people were. And if from time to time she heard stories of The Blue Diamond, they were only as cautionary tales.
Ralph followed the news from a distance. He heard of the uprisings that the Blue Diamond ruthlessly quelled. He heard of the day when the humans decided they had had enough of this upstart rabbit and solved the problem once and for all. He heard of Bluette’s death, and he mourned for his friend. Then he put all his energy into teaching Blanche about the power of beauty and how it could be used to do great things and help many people.
And one day, when Blanche was old enough, he sat her down and told her the story of her aunt, how once upon a time there had been a cotton-tail bunny with soft white fur who had become a hard diamond and who could never find her way back again but who had never quite let go of her friend and so had given her neice the chance to take a different path.