“Where were your cries for resistance when the enemy came to your country?” asked the Speaker. “Did you fight then? No, you hid in your dens and you endured. Do not judge us.”
“We—I was younger then,” said Nin, the rabbit prince.
“And now you are older, and you are older because of your cowardice,” said the Speaker.
In that moment Nin hated these rabbits and their warren. They had neither the conviction of his pacifist friends, nor the courage of his comrades who choose the way of the claw.
“With age comes wisdom. And we are very old here,” said the Speaker for rabbits.
Nin considered this. “I have grown older,” he said, “but not wiser,” and he leapt into the fray.
The nervous rabbits watched the ecstasy of colliding bodies. Their noses twitching, their feet thumping, they were caught between the urge to flee, and the desire to fight—a desire they had thought long dead in them.
Soon the prince was lost amongst the throng, and the followers could not discern his form from any other. They hopped, and circled the perimeter of the battle. Some made tentative steps towards the centre, but leapt back quickly, their ears laid flat.
In that moment they knew themselves to be both wise, and cowards.