CHAPTER 83 – Abigail the Elf
Christmas was almost upon them. The House of Buns was decorated. Abigail’s white tree was all lit up with bright blue lights. Dad sat on the floor with Abigail, eating his breakfast and reading his email. “Abigail, Auntie Heather from The Rabbit Haven says she’s making gift bags for all the bunnies in the shelters around here for Christmas. She says it can be a lonely time of year for them because the volunteers get busy with the holidays and can’t visit them as much. It’s like they’re on the Island of Misfits. Some of them don’t even have hay to eat.”
Abigail scrunched up her face. It was hard enough to be waiting in a shelter, but to not even have hay to eat! That was sad. “What can we do to help?” wondered the little chestnut fluff ball, who was always trying to make the world a better place for rabbits. Abigail thought about her favorite things to eat—alfalfa hay, oat hay, and willow leaves. She wondered, “Can you ask Small Pet Select to donate some alfalfa and oat hay to put in the gift bags and could we make a little willow wreath for each of the bunnies for Christmas?”
Dad smiled and said to Abigail, “Well, I can ask Small Pet Select for some alfalfa and oat hay. That’s no problem. But Auntie Heather is making 450 gift bags. That’s a lot of willow wreaths, baby!” Abigail looked at Dad with her big brown eyes, “Please?” she begged. Dad’s heart melted. “OK,” he said, “Let me see what I can do.”
The next Monday, Dad and his friend Joyce were out for their weekly willow harvesting trip. “450 wreaths. That’s a lot of willow!” thought Dad, while they strolled along the creek where the willow trees grew. As they rounded a corner, they came upon a sight to behold. The park maintenance crew was pruning the willow trees and there were piles and piles of fresh cut willow branches!
“May we take some of these for our bunnies?” they asked. The maintenance crew laughed and replied, “Sure. Take all you want!”
Like gold miners who had struck it rich, they frantically stuffed the branches of bright green leaves into their satchels until they could hold no more. They carried the heavy bags back to the car and then went back for more.
“Look what I got!” exclaimed Dad as he burst through the front door and dumped a mountain of willow branches on the living room floor. Abigail came running over to investigate. It was more willow than she had ever seen in her life! It was time for them to be elves for Santa Bun.
Abigail supervised Dad while he sat on the floor weaving willow wreaths one-by-one. Occasionally, she would taste-test one to ensure their quality was up to her standards. He tossed the wreaths into a large plastic tub and then soaked them in clear water overnight to make sure they were clean. The next day, he hung them in the sun to dry.
“…498, 499, 500!” counted Dad. “We did it, Abigail! 500 wreaths! That’s enough for every bunny, and some extras, just in case! Small Pet Select said they’d donate boxes of alfalfa and oat hay as well.” Abigail wiggled her nose with approval.
Auntie Heather held a gift bag-making party, where volunteers gathered together to stuff each gift bag with a hay roll, hay cubes, a couple of toys, some papaya treats, and a willow wreath. She handed each of her elves a box full of bags and assigned them to deliver them to various shelters in the area.
Abigail was excited. The little two pound rabbit was making a difference!