By kenny friedman on Monday, May 14, 2012
We all know the story, right. A rabbit (who's a bit like me) doesn't listen to his mother and loses his clothes then get sick... Moral is listen to your mother.
But is that really the moral? I think not.
Let's walk through it a bit.
Peter ran off while Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail were gathering blackberries. Sure Peter should have stayed with his sisters but have you ever picked blackberries? It's tedious and prickly... No one in their right mind would blame him for ducking out...
I should mention here that in the board book we have they don't mention that Peter's dad was in a "accident" that lead to him being baked into a pie by Mr. McGregor... So much has been sanitized these days. I mean calling it an accident back in 1893 was still sanitizing it... You know he was hit by a rake, knocked unconscious, skinned and then cooked in a stew or perhaps just on a spit over a fire.
Anyway when we last left Peter he was running away from a job that would have ended with a million cuts on his tiny little rabbit hands (brings down the value of a rabbit foot).
Then he squeezed under a gate and ate lettuce, beans (actually French Beans–fancy) and some radishes. Then he ended the meal with a bit of parsley. Not a bad meal... I say that not as a vegetarian but what I assume a rabbit would think... He had a pretty fantastic veggie plate... Most restaurants back in 1893 would have given you a piece of toast with chicken on it if you asked for a vegetarian meal... Same with most restaurants in Minneapolis now.
Then Mr. M saw the Peter and he bolted... That adrenaline you get after being chased is kind of awesome. Sure you think you'll get caught but once you're good you kind of float on air... No need to worry.
And then Peter lost a button. Really? We care about a button? Most jackets come with extra buttons. Also, SPOILER, dude loses the whole coat later so who cares about a button...
Then Peter gets stuck, meets some "friendly" sparrows, lost a coat, got wet, sneezes, runs and meets a mouse.
A mouse who could not answer Peter's question about a way out because she had a pea in her mouth. We accept this and think "whoa, sucks for Peter." You know what story I would have liked to hear?
The one where the mouses husband gets a call because his wife choked on a pea and the one animal that was able to help her out just walked away because she couldn't show him the door. How many kids did that poor mouse have? How many went hungry that night and maybe died? How did they grow up without a mother? Did they hate rabbits forever because of an "accident" that happened in Mr. McGregor's house?
We need answers... And rabbits that think more about others.
Cat looking at fish. Yada yada yada... Peter runs home.
When he gets home he doesn't get to eat blackberries, bread and milk... He just got chamomile tea because he was sick.
And we're supposed to think this is horrible... Dude already had a fantastic meal of the finest fresh veggies that Mr. McGregor had in his garden.
So the moral of the story, if there was one, would be listen to your mom or such (Miloh if you're reading this listen to your mom).
But the reality is he had a sweet adventure... One that if he was a seagull they would have made a book on how awesome he was and called it Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
He also had a sweet statue made of him... They say in the book that Mr. McGregor made a scarecrow of his clothes but it was probably just a statue of the awesomest rabbit he ever saw.
And he got away from his sisters for awhile... And every kid knows that that is a good thing.
So was running away really bad? I think not... The story would have never endured if he went picking blackberries, got a cut on his hand and then drank some milk.
P.S. What's with all the tea drinking in children's books? Should we be giving our kids tea? Is the lack of tea for children going to be seen as the downfall of our society? Only time will tell.