When I was a kid we would, sometimes, go and stay at my grandmothers house. She lived in Nottingham, where I was born. I can always remember her house, it was a big old detached place with a wide staircase with quite shallow stairs. A stack of my uncle David's books were on the landing outside the door to the room that I would sleep in. The room was a small, single room with an oriel window that I would sit on the sill of and look out over the wide world outside. There was an old, blue pedal car in the garage that could pick up some speed when you rode it down the sloping drive.
But there is one thing that I could not remember complete. My grandmother would give up her bed for my mum and dad and she would sleep on the cushions from the sofa laid out on the floor of the living room. In the mornings, as I was always awake early ( same as I am now, really) I would go downstairs and gran would make us a cup of tea and we would get into her makeshift bed with the tea, and maybe a Lincoln or Malted Milk biscuit, and she would tell stories. Now there are two that I can remember vaguely. One was about a toy soldier and the other about Bobtail Bunny. Recently, since i became a granddad, I started thinking about these, and as I couldn’t remember the actual stories I googled them. Googlewack.
In fact there is a link to the Bobtail Bunny story. It is a search that I had done some years ago. But otherwise nothing. Lots of people know how it starts: At number one in Rabbit Row, A crowd of bunnies live, you know…
But that is it. But now I have the complete story. The mother of Giant68 has found a copy that she typed out many years ago, and now I am going to share it with you. Most of you will, probably, not care but I do. These things should be kept alive and it is a shame that I still cannot find a trace of the toy soldier story ( if anyone out there knows it please contact me)
Here it is:
At number one in Rabbit Row,
A crowd of bunnies live, you know.
The youngest one is Bobtail Bunny
He is so jolly and so funny.
With bright red coat and trousers yellow
I think he looks a smart young fellow.
The bunnies go to school each day
Their ABCs they learn to say.
They’re taught by Dr Owl, so wise,
With specs on beak and big round eyes.
One day when school came out at last
The bunnies hurried out so fast.
“We’ll play at hide and seek” they cried.
So Bobtail hurried off to hide.
“I’ll hide inside this hollow tree,
Ha! Ha!” he laughed, “they won’t find me”
He stayed in there a long, long time
Till out at last he had to climb.
And when beneath the trees he peered
He found his friends had disappeared.
And he saw no one but a frog
Who jumped upon a fallen log.
He hurried on, but sad to say
Poor Bobtail somehow lost his way.
He looked around, but all in vain,
And presently he found a lane.
And there he saw, to his delight
A pretty cottage painted white.
“I feel so tired I think I’ll stop.
I’ll knock and ask my way, thought Bob.
A little girl named Joan lived there
With bright brown eyes and golden hair.
“Come in” she smiled, and for a treat
She gave him lettuce leaves to eat.
She had a rabbit in a hutch,
Of course, she loved him very much.
“Just come and stay with him” said Joan,
“It’s dull for lop-ears all alone”
But Bobtail said “I just can’t stay
I’ll come again another day”
Joan walked with Bobtail down the lane
And soon they reached the wood again.
“Goodbye” cried Bobtail “you have been kind,
My way home now I’m sure I’ll find”
And when he’d bowed both left and right
He quickly scurried out of sight.
But now the sun had gone to sleep
The little stars began to peep.
The silver moon shone overhead
And all the birds had gone to bed.
Soon Bobtail reached a tiny glade,
It was so dark he felt afraid.
And suddenly he heard a sound
He gave a start and looked around.
And there stood Mr Fox, so sly.
His favourite dish is rabbit pie.
“Just come with me” he said “and stay”
And grinned in such a hungry way.
Poor Bobtail bolted in a fright,
He ran and ran with all his might.
His little heart went thump, thump, thump.
And then he tripped against a stump.
He fell, and lay there in a heap,
And soon he sobbed himself to sleep.
A bright light shining in his eyes
Soon woke him up – to his surprise
He saw his daddy- oh how grand-
A lantern swinging in his hand.
“I’m found” cried Bobtail, “ Oh how splendid”
And so his great adventure ended.
I intend to learn this and recite it to my granddaughter.