A fog crept in over the meadow. It was so thick and came so suddenly that young Nin thought perhaps it was smoke from a nearby farmer’s field.
“This is an evil fog, and an ill-omen,” said an elder rabbit. “Let us return to the burrow, little ones, where it is safe.”
“Yes,” agreed another rabbit, “this fog confuses me; we will not be able to sense a fox or dog until it is already upon us, and then it will be too late.”
“To recognize danger before it is near—this is the most important lesson a rabbit can learn,” said the elder. “It is a lesson that many young rabbits do not learn at all.” And he made a motion that indicated death.
The little rabbits gathered and prepared to return to the burrow under the willow, all except for one.
Nin wished to linger. It was a strange fog, and the moisture in the air felt cool on his nose, and the wet in the grass tickled his paws. “If we cannot see them they cannot see us,” he reasoned. “It is safe to stay a while longer.”
“A fox is not a rabbit,” warned the elder. “If you stay, and frolic, like you are known to do, you are likely to hop right into the backside of a hungry fox. And then the fox will leap around and you will be caught and you will be dead.”
Nin smacked his hind leg against the earth. “The silly fox will mistake me for his own tail and bite it, not me!” He laughed. “That is—if there is a fox at all.”
The elder rabbit shook his head and returned home without another word.
A dozen retainers stayed with Nin, for they were both loyal and brave, but above all, trusted in their prince’s judgment.
And together they leapt and played and frolicked in the fog until one of them, in his blindness, stumbled upon not just a fox—but the den in which they made their home.