Soon there is enough light to safely travel, and they start walking. By midmorning they can see the edge of the village in the distance. Chip smiles: “It’s good to see home again”. Tasha nods, she turns to Raster: “Stay close when we get there. We don’t get too many visitors so our people are suspicious of strangers”. Raster nods: “I understand”.
A short time later they enter the edge of the village. Soon they are followed by several young bunnies shouting: “It’s Tashie, and Chip”. They keep a bit of distance noticing the raccoon stranger with them. Tasha stops for a minute telling them: “Go tell my father we have returned”.
They all hop off to spread the word, and soon Dinre meets them at the village center. Several villagers have gathered wondering about the stranger. But Dinre tells them to return home and not to worry. Moments later he has Tasha, Chip, and Raster sit with him to talk.
Tasha hugs her father before she sits with her mate. Dinre asks: “So Tasha. Why
have you brought this raccoon person to our village”? She responds: “We found him and others like him at
the ancient ruins that sit atop the northern cliff. The others are stealing objects from the ruins”.
Dinre frowns at the raccoon as Tasha speaks. Raster looks at the floor with shame
as Tasha continues. “The others did capture us to prevent our reporting them. While escaping we discovered
that Raster was a unwilling victim, and helped him to escape as well”.
The elder rabbit thinks for a minute. “Are the thieves still there”? Chip nods:
“They were there when we left yesterday”. Dinre doesn’t say anything, but gets up, and leaves the room. A few
moments later he returns followed by a large guard who stands next to the door. Dinre sits once more and
says. “Our guards will be there very soon. If any are left they will be expelled from this area, by force if
Raster raises his paw and says: “I will leave if you wish”. Dinre looks at the
raccoon then at Tasha: “We can’t let this raccoon loose without a escort. He would likely be stoned by the
villagers. You know our people consider them all thieves. Even the ones who trade with us are not welcome by
Upon hearing this Raster cries: “please don’t hurt me, I can’t help that I am a
raccoon”. He then softly sobs. Tasha moves to comfort the raccoon, and scolds her father: “Poor Raster has
been though a terrible ordeal, you shouldn’t frighten him so, and tell that guard to leave”.
Dinre motions to the guard to leave. Then shakes his head: “I did not wish to upset
your friend, but I fear it is the truth. You have heard the stories about bands of raccoons who burned and
looted our villages in the past. This is why we came here years ago, and why our people have little trust
for them, specially the elders.”
Tasha nods: “But I promised Raster we would shelter him at least till the others were
gone”. Raster looks at Dinre as the elder rabbit responds. Dinre nods then looks at the raccoon with a
friendly smile: “Raster, you must feel we are terrible people, but with all our faults. I hope you will
accept a place here with us at least till the traders come next month.”
Raster bites his lip a bit: “I… I don’t wish to cause trouble”. The elder rabbit
shakes his head: “Let me worry about that, and I think the people of our village will accept you especially
with my daughters help”. Chip nods: as Tasha says. “He could stay here for a few days”.
Dinre nods: “There is a small room next to the kitchen he could bed down in”. Raster
wipes a tear from his furry cheek: “It sounds fine sir”. The elder rabbit takes the raccoons paw with his.
“Then welcome to our village. I will tell the guards you are staying here”. Tasha nods: “I will show him
where it is”.
Later that evening the sound of shouting is heard followed by a loud crash. Tasha,
and Chip hurry to see what has happened.
They find Raster holding their housekeeper, and next to them is a large clay pot
broken on the floor, its contents scattered around. Tasha hurries to help with Nanna who is still shaking as
they help her sit down. She finally manages to speak: “T..That pot nearly landed on my head. This fellow
pulled me out of the way”.
Dinre walks in just as she explains. He leans over to see if the older rabbit
housekeeper is alright. He smiles at Raster: “Well done. We are in your debt”. Tasha bends down to give
Nanna a kiss. Then says: “I am so glad you weren’t hurt. You have been like a mother to me”. With that Tasha
wipes the tears from her eyes”.
Raster smiles as he starts to walk away, but Tasha grabs him, and hugs him tight.
Then says: “you are wonderful Raster”. She gives him a kiss on the cheek. Nanna feeling better speaks up:
“Yes he is”. The elder rabbit nods: “I think our people will wish to reward him with a celebration”.
The raccoon shakes his head: “No. please I just happened to be in the right place. I
don’t deserve special treatment”. Dinre looks at the others. Then at the raccoon as he says: “If that is
your wish, but I think you will always be welcome to our village once the people learn of your deed”.
Raster looks around smiling a little. Then nods: “I understand, but I am tired. If
you don’t mind I would like to sleep now”. Dinre nods: “Nanna will make you a place to sleep in that room
Tasha gives the raccoon another hug saying ‘goodnight’. Chip waves as he and Tasha
return to their room. Dinre whispers something to Nanna before he leaves. She smiles, then brings the
raccoon some bedding then asks if he needs anything else. He responds “No thank you”. She nods and returns
to the pantry to clean up the broken pot after which she leaves for the night.
The next day dawns clear with Raster looking out the small window in his room.Just
then he hears the sound of footsteps outside the door. He goes to open it where he is greeted by a rabbit
who tells him he is wanted by Dinre. He nods, and follows the rabbit who leads him outside.
Moments later they are leaving the village along a narrow path. Raster stops to ask:
“Why are we leaving the village”? The rabbit points: “It’s not far, just past those trees there”. The
raccoon wonders why Dinre would want to meet him there. But wishes to do as Tashas father asks of him. So he
continues to follow.
It just happens one of the guards notices the raccoon, and villager walking toward
the swamp. He would have asked them why, but was in a hurry to see Dinre who had told him to be there first
thing that morning.
A short time later Tasha walks to the kitchen to check on Raster and is surprised to
see he is gone. She hurries outside but doesn’t see him anywhere. After walking around the house she returns
to the kitchen to pour a cup of milk that her father likes first thing in the morning.
Meanwhile Raster and the rabbit reach the thick grove of trees. Moments later two
other rabbits jump the raccoon and soon have him tied up. They then load him on a hand cart and leave the
path. Soon they reach a swampy area and dump the poor raccoon in a soft sandy mud hole and start to
Raster cries: “Please don’t leave me like this”. The rabbit who led him from the
village turned to say: “Don’t worry. You will sink into the quicksand long before you starve”. The raccoon
squirmed and cried out for help. But his squirming only caused him to sink faster, and the rabbits soon were
Back at the village Tasha greets her father with the cup of milk. He smiles and
thanks her. He finishes it just as a knock is heard at the door. Tasha opens it and says: Morning. “She
tells her father it’s one of the guards father”. Dinre nods: “I was expecting him”.
The guard walks in and greets the elder rabbit: “Morning sir, what would you have me
do”? Dinre responds: “I wish you to watch after our visitor today. A raccoon fellow called ‘Raster’. My
daughter will show you where he is”.
Tasha speaks up: “He is gone. I looked for him earlier”. The guard hums: “I saw a
raccoon following one of our villagers toward the swamp on my way here”. Tasha runs up to the guard: “We
must try to find them”.
The elder rabbit nods: “Yes he has my protection. I want him found and I want those
who he was with brought here also. Take two other guards with you”. Tasha runs from the room to get Chip who
is still in bed. The young rabbit is nearly dragged out of bed as his mate shouts for him to hurry: “We
must hurry. I think someone in our village has taken Raster to loose him in the swamp”.
Chip acks “Oh my! If Raster gets caught in quicksand…” Tasha nods pulling him by the
paw, and as they leave the large house they see the three rabbits with a push cart near the path to the
woods. They hurry to catch them. She asks: “Did any of you see a raccoon this morning with a villager”?
They look at each other knowing she is the Elders daughter. Then even as they deny seeing the raccoon the guard who saw runs up and says: “You!! Where is the raccoon that was with you earlier”? The three start to run. But are met by the other two guards and are soon begging for mercy with spears at their chests.
Dinre spots the commotion and hurries over. Moments later he tells the guards to throw them in guard house. He also tells them if the raccoon is harmed they will be banished from the valley forever.
Sobbing two of the three beg the elder rabbit to forgive them. They point to the other rabbit: “He told us the raccoon was a danger to our village and should be done away with”. They tell where the raccoon is, and then Dinre tells two of the guards to go rescue the raccoon.
Tasha and Chip go with two guards shouting and calling out to Raster as they hurry toward the swamp.
By this time poor Raster was barely able to keep his head above the sandy mud. By luck he had managed to grab a vine with his teeth. But his grip was slipping, and soon would sink below the surface.
Even though Tasha and the others were able to follow the cart tracks they nearly
missed seeing the poor raccoon as his fur was full of sand and was just barely able to call out as he saw them
Chip ran right into the quicksand so he could keep Rasters head up while the others
were able to slowly pull them both free. He lay on the solid ground panting and shaking while Tasha rubbed
the sand from his face. She softly spoke: “Poor poor Raster. I am so sorry I brought you to our village. I
never meant for this to happen”. One of the guards wets a cloth and gives it to the rabbit girl so she could
wash Rasters face.
Raster coughed and spit a bit of sand from his mouth, then sits up with Chips help.
He looked at them shaking his head: “I know you all are trying to help me. I fear the ones who tossed me in
the quicksand will be in trouble because I they felt I was a threat to the village. I should leave before
any others do the same”.
Tasha scolds the raccoon: “Raster this is not your fault. Those who did this
to you are selfish people who wish to blame others for their troubles. You are a special kind person who
deserves praise not scorn. Wither it be you or another. Our people must learn to accept people who are
different as long as they respect our laws”.
The raccoon is silent for a few minutes then says: “No one ever treated me
with respect before I met you and Chip. It will take me a while to learn.” With that he stands up. “If you
will help me a little, I think am ready to walk back”.
One of the guards offers his help, but Tasha tells them that she and
Chip will walk with him. Raster smiles a little as his two friends stay close to him. Chip lets
the raccoon put a arm over his shoulder with Tasha holding his other arm they all slowly walk
back toward the village.
They are met by the elder rabbit who asks: “Was he harmed”? Tasha
shakes her head: “But they left him in a quicksand bog. A little longer and he would have
drowned”. Dinre frowns at the thought then says. “I am sorry Raster I apologize for my people,
but fear not. No one will harm you again while you are here. He tells them to take Raster to
the big house so he can clean up and rest.
Raster looks at Dinre then says: “Please don’t be too hard on those who
wished me harm. I am sure they felt they were protecting their village.” Dinre smiles at the
raccoon: That is kind of you. But we must make a example of them to the villagers. We must
stand together with rule of law. Otherwise we live by rule of force, and under that many would
The raccoon nods: “You are wise sir. I want to thank you all
for your help”. Dinre smiles: “You just rest young fellow. My daughter is a good judge of
character. So you are welcome to stay as long as you need to”. With that the elder rabbit walks
in the direction of the guard house while the others walk with Raster to the big house where he
soon is clean and resting quietly.
Dinre walks into the guard house where he is met by a guard rabbit who asks: “What can I do for you sir”? The elder rabbit looks grimly at the guard: “I wish to see the prisoners.” With that the guard lets him in. He tells the guard to wait outside as he enters.
He finds the two younger of the three rabbits looking very ashamed then bow their heads, the other one frowns then turns away. Dinre looks at the two and shakes his head: “You two should be ashamed. Perhaps the council will forgive you if you are.” One asks if the raccoon is alright, but the elder rabbit ignores this and walks to the third.
“You think you’re above the law, Rofte!!” demanded the elder rabbit.
A few moments pass then the middle-aged rabbit turns back his eyes flashing, shouts: “Dinre! You can remember what those bandit faced creatures did to our village. What they did to us. I can’t forgive them.” He turns away once more.
The elder rabbit takes a deep breath then slowly lets it out before he speaks:” Yes you are right. I remember. But why didn’t you come to me first? We have been friends for many years. The others I could overlook, but I fear the council will banish you, perhaps all three of you.” The elder rabbit walks over to a window facing the village.
Rofte grumbles: “Then so be it. I will take my family and start another village elsewhere. There we will not accept outsiders; Never!” Dinre turns: ” Never say never my old friend; you will find change is part of life. Without it everything dies. The council will meet in a few days. I will allow your families to visit before then.”
Dinre starts to leave then turns back: “Oh yes the raccoon is well, and
holds no grudge to any of you. I am not sure I could say that if I were he”. Rofte grumbles.
“Too bad”. The others thank the elder rabbit as he leaves.
The guard turns as the elder rabbit comes out. “All well sir”? Dinre
looks up. “I hope it will be, and they can have family visits.” The guard nods as the elder
rabbit turns to leave.
The next few days pass quickly and Raster seems to be getting along
well in the village. Especially since hearing how he saved the elder housekeeper. Many have
offered him meals and kind words. Even the children who were afraid at first follow him and
love to hear his stories.
Chip and Tasha are sitting as Dinre walks in. Tasha smiles: “Hello
father.” Chip nods with a greeting as the elder rabbit sits near them. Chip asks: “Does the
council meet this afternoon”? The elder rabbit sighs softly: “Yes, and for once I wish it
wasn’t. Deciding the future of others is not something I enjoy, especially when one is a
Tasha moves to give her father a hug. She kisses his cheek and says:
“The decision isn’t yours alone.” Dinre nods: “I know, but I lead the council, I may have to
break a tie vote for banishment.” With this a tear rolls down his cheek. Tasha gives him
another hug, and wipes the tear from his face.
Chip stands, and excuses his self, and leaves the room. A short time
later the elder rabbit leaves for the village council room. Tasha finds Chip with Raster, and
they all walk to the council room also.
As they arrive the room is nearly filled. The three bad rabbits sit together at the front. The elder rabbit sits at the center of a long table with ten other council members, waiting for Chip, Tasha, and Raster to find their seats then calls the council to order.
The council though a governing body rarely had to deal with lawbreakers. The villagers were very close, and did not think of doing anything wrong. The elder rabbit asks the raccoon if he has anything to say. Raster stands looking around at the large crowd many of them a bit suspicious of him since he was a raccoon.
Raster feeling a bit nervous coughs a little to clear his throat. “I just wish to say I am sorry if my being has caused trouble, and I have nearly recovered from what was done to me.” Dinre calls for silence as a bit of whispering grows in the crowd. “Do you have anything else to say?” Raster thinks: “I wish to thank everyone for their kindness.”
”Dinre asks if any of the council members wish to ask the raccoon any questions.” None do and he tells Raster thank you and to sit down.
This is followed by questions for Tasha, Chip, and the guards involved. One council member had been assigned to represent the defendants. She stands to say these fellows felt they were protecting the village. “I wish to ask the charges be dismissed.”
Dinre once again calls for silence. “I have discussed the possible dismissing of charges for two of the three. But not for Rofte the leader of this crime.” Dinre calls on the two young rabbits to stand before him. They quickly stand and walk to the table. There they stand with their heads bowed in shame.
The elder rabbit tells them to look at him. They look at the elder rabbit with sorrowful faces. “If you wish to stay here you must ask for the raccoon’s forgiveness, not mine.” They look at each other then back at Dinre and ask: “Now sir”? The elder rabbit nods: ”Yes now.”
A guard walks with them till they are standing in front of the raccoon.
There they start to kneel. But before they can Rofte cries out: “don’t beg at the feet of that
bandit.” With that the elder rabbit tells him to be quiet or be removed. He calls for order
once more. He then tells the two they may continue.
As they kneel before the raccoon with their heads bowed. Tasha whispers
to Raster that he should let them ask for his forgiveness before he says anything. He nods
looking at the two young rabbits sternly.
Each of them asks the raccoon to forgive them. He grins at them after
they finish. They look at each other then back at him not sure what to think. The raccoon
smiles and says: “You both have asked me with respect in front of the council. I hope you both
will keep this in mind the next time you see someone who looks or acts a bit different. I do
forgive you. I thank you for asking me.”
They sigh with relief with the raccoons words. Dinre calls them back
in front of him and tells them they can remain in the village. But must do extra work for a
month, and then are led out of the room. Dinre then has Rofte brought before him.
Dinre waits till the guard brings him. Then speaks: “It is with regret
I must inform you that the council has voted to banish you forever from our village. If you are
found in our valley after sunset tomorrow the guards will have orders to expel you with force
if necessary. You may take enough provisions for you and your family to last a month, but no
Rofte says nothing and is led from the council room. Dinre dismisses
the proceedings and leaves. Tasha, Chip, and Raster leave at the same time. Tasha can tell by
her father’s actions he wishes to be alone, and says: “My father lost a old friend today. He
needs time alone.”
Chip noting the time of day and rubs his stomach: “its lunchtime. Let’s
get something to eat.” Tasha shakes her head, and pokes his tummy with her finger: You’re
always hungry.” She laughs as Chip tries to evade her pokes and tickles.
Raster eeps as Chip tries to hide behind him. Tasha giggles: “Alright
you two. I guess it’s time we had some lunch.” Raster nods with his stomach growling a bit: “I
could use a bit to eat myself.” Tasha smiles: “I think we can find something at home.” So the
two rabbits and raccoon walk to the large house to have some lunch.
They spend the rest of the day walking along the small stream that
flows through the valley. The three stop along a bend where the stream spreads out like a large
pond. Raster bends down to pick up a flat rock and flings it where it skips 4 times.
Chip smiles: “That looks like fun”. He picks up a rock of his own, and
throws. It barely skips once then sinks. Tasha laughs: I used to do this when I was a bunny”.
She looks for a rock just the right shape and size, then throws it with a flat spin sending it
skipping seven times across the water.
Raster blinks: “That was great Tasha. You’re really good”. Tasha
smiles: “Thank you, but I had a friend that could skip one fourteen times”. Chip shakes his
head; “it’s hard to believe one could do that”. Tasha nods. “He was a strong young rabbit. Best
I ever did was twelve.”
Raster grins: “It’s all in the shape of the rock and how you throw it.
I have done it sixteen times. But it takes a special rock.” Chip wrinkles his nose. “I don’t
know about you two.” He picks up another and throws it. It bounces of a rock then into the
water. Chip grumbles and sits on the ground. Tasha awws and sits next to Chip giving him a hug:
“I am sure Raster would show you how.”
Tasha calls the raccoon over: “Could you show Chip how to skip a rock?”
Raster sits down with them, and nods: “Sure I would be happy too.” Chip turns to his mate: “You
know what I would really like to do?” She smiles: “What.. race a turtle?” She giggles at the
thought. Chip starts to respond when they hear small voices calling “Tashie! Tashie.”
Just then two young bunnies come running up nearly out of breath. Tasha
turns to ask them what is wrong. They both say the ringtails are here. “You mean the raccoon
traders?” They nod together panting. The rabbit girl scolds them gently: “And why is that
something to scare us about?”
They both look down twisting a foot just slightly. Then one rolled its
eyes up. Just a tiny smile showing and said: “We hoped you might buy us some candy.” Tasha
trying to look stern shook her head: “I don’t know if I should buy naughty little bunnies
anything or not.”
They both Awww looking down then start to turn away, but at the last
moment she grabs their ears playfully, and smiles. “You two catch me later, and I will get you
some.” They both hop around and each hug Tasha tight. She tells them to return to the village
After they disappear into the woods Chip shakes his head at his mate:
“You spoil all the children.” She nods. “I just can’t refuse them; they don’t often get a
treat like candy.” Raster smiles: “They all think the world of you Tasha.” Chip nods: “They
Tasha smiles at Chip then hugs him. She turns to the raccoon. “I will
miss seeing you. I wouldn’t mind if you stayed here in our valley. But you may wish to have a
family someday. You will be welcome to visit any time.” She gives the raccoon a hug then a kiss
on his furry cheek. Raster smiles a bit hugging back. “You two have been very nice to me.”
Raster looks at the surrounding countryside then smiles: “It is very
nice here, I can understand why your people choose to live here. Perhaps we should return to
the village to see the traders. Your father has treated me well, I promised to leave with the
traders, so I should check with them to see if they will take me when they do.”
The two rabbits look a bit sad as their friend talks about leaving.
They soon walk back to the village while they continue to talk. Shortly they enter the edge of
the village. There they find the raccoon traders setting up a small tent with many nice things