The story is very sweet, and with a nice moral to it — mother rabbit, despite having 21 kids and living in the backblocks of the country, still gets plum job over noisy show-off buckrabbit boys and frightful snobby city rabbits. Basically by using her kids as slave labour.
The story is about being selected to wear the magic gold shoes and being one of the five Easter Bunnies who deliver the eggs to the children of the world. It's a huge honour, of course, and everyone wants it. But when the country bunny Cottontail says that one day she will be an Easter Bunny, the others laugh at her.
So fast forward and our Cottontail is a mother of 21 little rabbits, but she applies for the job and again she's laughed at for dreaming foolish dreams. Even the wise old rabbit who does the choosing asks her gently if she shouldn't be home looking after her kids. But our girl has the kids well trained. Working in pairs they do everything that needs to be done, from cooking and cleaning to dancing, making music and painting cheery pictures.
The illustrations are lovely, aren't they? They're simple but quite detailed and with a limited palette of colours, and quite unusual colours, at that.
The job of being the easter bunny is hard and exhausting and little Cottontail doesn't have an easy time of it. After all her deliveries are done, there's still one more job for her — to take an especially beautiful egg to a far-distant mountain where there is a sick little boy, who is very good and never complains. She travels far, over high mountains, and is climbing the last, highest mountain when she falls... but saves the egg. But it's almost dawn. How can she ever find the energy to climb the mountain again, in time.
Then the wise old rabbit appears and tells her she's not only wise and kind and swift, but she's brave. And he gives her a pair of magic gold shoes. And suddenly her aching feet are no longer tired... and she takes the beautiful egg to the sick little boy and is soon home... where her house is in perfect order, and all her kids are still asleep in bed.
still in print, which goes to show that I'm not the only person who loves this story.
Happy Easter. Do you have any favorite Easter stories?