Lessons (2)

Nin ran blindly through the fog, away from the meadow and the foxes and their den. He ran so far and so fast that he became hopelessly lost, in the fog he could not tell up from down, left from right.

Thus he felt himself fortunate when, by chance, he stumbled across a cave, hidden under the side of a cliff. Nin crept inside—the cave was very large and very deep, and the fog was thick here, too.

And as he cowered in that cave Nin suddenly realized that he was not alone, there was another rabbit there beside him, a rabbit he did not know.

But the other rabbit calmly introduced himself to Nin, claiming that he was, in fact, Nin’s godfather and benefactor.

Nin thought this odd, as he had never seen this rabbit before in his life. But the mysterious rabbit seemed to know him well. He whispered secrets that only Nin knew, he recounted stories of Nin’s childhood, he knew things that only a confidant would know.

The fog shifted strangely. “I have watched you from the time you were a mere kit, my young prince,” said the rabbit.

Still, Nin could not shake the feeling that there was something off about this mysterious rabbit.

Then the rabbit said something incredible: “You are a prince, take your throne and become a king. On the day of your birth it was foretold as such. That you would become a great warrior-king. Be my ambassador to the world. Do this thing and you will be rewarded greatly.”

The mysterious rabbit summoned his three daughters and presented them to Nin, their forms dancing in the haze.

“Choose one, or more,” said the mysterious rabbit, “to be your queen or concubine, oh my great warrior-king of all rabbits.”

At first the young prince was excited, and curious. In the dim light of the cave, the three daughters seemed very beautiful.

But then Nin looked closer and saw that the first daughter was very old. She was thin and slumped over, the lights in her eyes had faded long ago, replaced by cloudy cataracts. Nin turned away from her.

The second daughter was very sick. Her ears were thick with ticks, her fur swam with lice. Her nose was wet and her eyes leaked a thin fluid. Nin turned away from her as well.

Nin approached the third daughter timidly, terrified of what he might find. But he found her to be perfect in every way. Her fur was immaculate, her ears were perfectly straight, her tail was bushy, her legs were lean and her eyes were shaped like two perfect almonds.

But when he went to touch her paw he found that the third daughter was dead—stuffed and mounted. Nin drew back in fright.

Nin realized this mysterious rabbit—this demon—its domain was sickness, old age and death. And as he realized these things, he wondered how he might find the way out of this dark domain.

“I don’t want this,” said Nin. “I don’t want women or power or glory.”

“What do you want?” asked the demon. “What desires lurk deep within your heart? What is the beating that drives you onward?”

“I don’t want anything,” said Nin simply. “I have the truth and the truth is enough. All else will follow, if one has truth.”

And the demon laughed and laughed and his laughter filled the cavern. It reverberated off the walls of the cave and deep into the pit.