Nin the Seeker (End)

Eitin was an energetic young rabbit, always hopping here, always hopping there.

All his life he’d heard stories of Nin, the rabbit prince. The great prince from Eitin’s warren, the great prince who’d left long ago on a pilgrimage to find the ultimate boon for his people.

Nin! Oh, how Eitin admired Nin. The stories of Nin were great fables, of a handsome prince outwitting foxes, besting bears and befriending giants. In the stories Nin was perfect, he represented the best of all rabbits; strong, brave, quick and clever.

Oh, how Eitin longed to meet Nin. He often thought of leaving the burrow in pursuit of Nin, following in his footsteps, tracing the path of his pilgrimage. Maybe they would meet, and together they would slay demons, travel to distant lands and uncover the hidden truths of the world—

One day when Eitin woke, all the warren was in a flurry of activity. He stopped a passing rabbit as they hurried by and asked them what was happening. The other rabbit told him the news: their prince had returned! Nin had come home!

Eitin pushed his way through the crowd to the central burrow, hoping to catch a glimpse of the long-lost prince.

But the Nin before him barely resembled the clever young prince from the stories, the stories that had lulled him to sleep as a child.

Nin’s once perfect fur was marred by his time in the desert. His back was scarred, his fronts paws were oddly bent. His hind feet were rough and calloused from ceaseless hopping. The tips of his ears were missing, lost to frostbite. His tail was no more than a thin wisp of orange.

Yet despite these things, his face seemed permanently etched with a small, infectious smile. Inquisitive eyes had been replaced with knowing ones. He still hopped like a young rabbit. But Nin was old, very old. Flanked by a white rabbit and a black rabbit, he explained to his countrymen that he had come home to die.

And although he never outright confirmed that he had obtained what he had sought, to Eitin it was more than obvious that Nin was no longer a seeker. He was Nin Siddhartha.