How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindful Living Can Change Your Life
Mindfulness 101: A Beginner's Guide
Tuck yourself into bed, quiet your mind and prepare to nod off as Georgia Mckenzie recites an old classic, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
Let's settle in for a night of
deep sleep with this story, The
Velveteen Rabbit by Marjorie Williams.
There was once a Velveteen Rabbit.
And in the beginning,
he was really splendid.
He was fat and bunchy
as a rabbit should be.
His coat was spotted brown and white.
He had real thread whiskers and his
ears were lined with pink sateen.
On Christmas morning, when he sat
wedged in the top of the Boy's stocking
with a spring of holly, between
his paws, the effect was charming.
There were other things in the stocking.
Nuts and oranges and a toy engine and
chocolate almonds, and a clockwork mouse.
But the Rabbit was quite the best of all.
For at least two hours, the Boy loved him.
And then aunts and uncles came to
dinner and there was a great rustling of
tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels.
And in the excitement of looking
at all the new presents, the
Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten.
For a long time, he lived in the toy
cupboard or on the nursery floor.
And no one thought very much about him.
He was naturally shy and being only
made a velveteen, some of the more
expensive toys quite snubbed him.
The mechanical toys were very superior
and looked down upon everyone else.
They were full of modern ideas
and pretended they were real.
The model boat who had lived through
two seasons and lost most of his paint,
caught the tone from them and never
missed an opportunity of referring
to his rigging in technical terms.
The Rabbit could not claim to be
a model of anything for he didn't
know that real rabbits existed.
He thought they were all stuffed
with sawdust like himself.
And he understood that sawdust was
quite out of date and should never
be mentioned in modern circles.
Even Timothy, the jointed wooden
lion, who was made by the disabled
soldiers and should have had broader
views, put on airs and pretended
he was connected with government.
Between them all the poor little
Rabbit was made to feel himself
very insignificant and commonplace.
And the only person who was kind
to him at all was the Skin Horse.
The Skin Horse had lived longer in
the nursery than any of the others.
He was so old that his brown
coat was bald in patches and
showed the seams underneath.
And most of the hairs in his tail had
been pulled out to string bead necklaces.
He was wise for, he had seen a
long succession of mechanical
toys arrive to boast and swagger.
And by and by, break their
main springs and pass away.
And he knew that they were only
toys and would never turn into
anything else for nursery magic
is very strange and wonderful.
And only those play things that are
old and wise and experience like the
Skin Horse understand all about it.
"What is real?"
asked the Rabbit one day when they were
lying side by side near the nursery
fender before Nana came to tidy the room.
"Does it mean having things that buzz
inside you and a stick out handle?"
"Real isn't how you were
made," said the Skin Horse.
"It's a thing that happens to you when
a child loves you for a long, long time.
Not just to play with,
but really loves you.
Then you become real."
"Does it hurt?"
asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse
for he was always truthful.
"When you are real, you
don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once like
being wound up or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at
once," said the Skin Horse.
It takes a long time.
That's why it doesn't happen often to
people who break easily or have sharp
edges or have to be carefully kept."
Generally, by the time you are real,
most of your hair has been loved off
and your eyes drop out and you get
loose at the joints and very shabby."
"But these things don't matter at all.
Because once you are real,
you can't be ugly except to
people who don't understand."
"I suppose you were real?"
said the rabbit.
Then he wished he had not said it for he
thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.
But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's uncle made me real," he said.
"That was a great many years
ago, but once you are real,
you can't become unreal again.
It lasts forever."
The Rabbit sighed.
He thought it would be a long time before
this magic called real happened to him.
He longed to become real,
to know what it was like.
And yet the idea of growing
shabby and losing his eyes
and whiskers was rather sad.
He wished that he could become
it without these uncomfortable
things happening to him.
There was a person called
Nana who ruled the nursery.
Sometimes she took no notice
of the play things lying about.
And sometimes for no reason whatsoever,
she went swooping about like a great
wind and hustled them away in cupboards.
She called this tidying up
and the play things all hated
it, especially the tin ones.
The Rabbit didn't mind it so much for
whenever he was thrown, he came down soft.
One evening when the Boy was going to
bed, he couldn't find the porcelain
dog that always slept with him.
Nana was in a hurry and it was
too much trouble to hunt for
porcelain dogs at bed time.
So she simply looked about her
and seeing that the toy cupboard
doors stood open, she made a swoop.
"Here," she said.
"Take your old bunny.
He'll do to sleep with you."
And she dragged the Rabbit out by one
ear and put him into the Boy's arms.
That night, and for many nights after, the
Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy's bed.
At first, he found it rather
uncomfortable for the Boy hugged him
very tight, and sometimes he rolled
over on him and sometimes he pushed
him so far under the pillow that
the Rabbit could scarcely breathe.
And he missed too, those long
moonlight hours in the nursery
when all the house was silent and
his talks with the Skin Horse.
But very soon he grew to like it for
the Boy used to talk to him and make
nice tunnels for him under the bed
cloths that he said were like the
burrows the real rabbits lived in.
And they had splendid games together
in whispers when Nana had gone away
to her supper and left the nightlight
burning on the mantle piece.
And when the Boy dropped off, the Rabbit
would snuggle down close under his little
warm chin and dream with the Boy's hands
clasped, close around him all night long.
And so time went on and the
little Rabbit was very happy.
So happy that he never noticed how his
beautiful velveteen fur was getting
shabbier and shabbier and his tail
becoming unsewn and all the pink rubbed
off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.
And they had long days in the
garden for wherever the Boy
went, the Rabbit went too.
He had rides in the wheelbarrow and
picnics on the grass and lovely fairy
huts built for him under the raspberry
canes behind the flower border.
And once, when the Boy was called away
suddenly to go out to tea, the Rabbit
was left out on the lawn until long
after dusk and Nana had to come and look
for him with a candle because the Boy
couldn't go to sleep unless he was there.
He was wet through with the dew and quite
earthy from diving into the burrows the
Boy had made for him in the flower bed.
And Nana grumbled as she rubbed
him off with a corner of her apron.
"You must have your old bunny," she said.
"Fancy all that fuss for a toy."
The Boy sat up in bed and
stretched out his hands.
"Give me my bunny," he said.
"You mustn't say that.
He isn't a toy.
When the little Rabbit heard that, he
was very happy for a knew that what the
Skin Horse had said was true at last.
The nursery magic had happened to
him and he was a toy no longer.
He was real.
The Boy himself had said it.
That night, he was almost
too happy to sleep.
And so much love stirred in his little
sawdust heart that it almost burst.
And into his boot button eyes that
had long ago lost their polish, there
came a look of wisdom and beauty,
so that even Nana noticed it next
morning when she picked him up and
said, "I declare if that old bunny
hasn't got quite a knowing expression."
That was a wonderful summer.
Near the house where they
lived, there was a wood.
And in the long June evenings, the Boy
liked to go there after tea to play.
He took the Velveteen Rabbit with him.
And before he wandered off to pick flowers
or play at brigands among the trees.
He always made the Rabbit a little
nest somewhere among the bracken
where he would be quite cozy for
he was a kindhearted little Boy and
he liked bunny to be comfortable.
One evening while the Rabbit was lying
there alone, watching the ants that ran
to and fro between his velvet paws in
the grass, he saw two strange beings
creep out of the tall bracken near him.
They were rabbits like himself,
but quite furry and brand new.
They must have been very well-made
for their seams didn't show it all.
And they changed shape in a
queer way when they moved.
One minute, they were long and thin.
And the next minute, fat and bunchy.
Instead of always staying
the same, like he did.
Their feet padded softly on the ground and
they crept quite close to him twitching
their noses while the Rabbit stared hard
to see which side the clockwork stuck out.
For he knew that people who jump
generally have something to wind
them up, but he couldn't see it.
They were evidently a new
kind of rabbit altogether.
They stared at him and the
little Rabbit stared back.
And all the time their noses twitched.
"Why don't you get up and play with us?"
one of them asked.,
"I don't feel like it," said the Rabbit.
For he didn't want to explain
that he had no clockwork.
said the furry rabbit.
"It's as easy as anything."
And he gave a big hop sideways
and stood on his hind legs.
"I don't believe you can," he said.
"I can," said the little Rabbit.
"I can jump higher than anything."
He meant when the Boy threw him.
But of course he didn't want to say so.
"Can you hop on your hind legs?"
asked the furry rabbit.
That was a dreadful question.
For the Velveteen Rabbit
had no hind legs at all.
The back of him was made all in
one piece, like a pin cushion.
He sat still in the bracken and hoped
that the other rabbits wouldn't notice.
"I don't want to," he said again.
But the wild rabbits have
very sharp eyes and this one
stretched out his neck and looked.
"He hasn't got any hind
legs," he called out.
"Fancy a rabbit without any hind legs."
And he began to laugh.
cried the little rabbit.
"I have got hind legs.
I'm sitting on them."
"Then stretch them out and show me,
like this," said the wild rabbit, and
he began to whirl round and dance till
the little rabbit got quite dizzy.
"I don't like dancing," he said.
"I'd rather sit still."
But all the while he was longing to
dance for a funny new tickly feeling
ran through him and he felt he would
give anything in the world to be able
to jump about like these rabbits did.
The strange rabbit stopped
dancing and came quite close.
He came so close this time
that his long whiskers brushed
the Velveteen Rabbit's ear.
And then he wrinkled his nose suddenly.
And flattened his ears
and jumped backwards.
"He doesn't smell right!"
"He isn't a rabbit at all.
He isn't real."
"I am real," said the little Rabbit.
"I am real.
The Boy said so."
And he nearly began to cry.
Just then there was a sound of footsteps
and the Boy ran past near them.
And with a stamp of feet and a
flash of white tails, the two
strange rabbits disappeared.
"Come back and play with me,"
called the little Rabbit.
"Oh, do come back.
I know I am real."
But there was no answer.
Only the little ants ran to and
fro, and the bracken swayed gently
where the two strangers had passed.
The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.
"Oh, dear," he thought.
"Why did they run away like that?
Why couldn't they stop and talk to me?"
For a long time he lay very still watching
the bracken and hoping that they would
come back, but they never returned.
And presently, the sun sank lower and
the little white moths flooded out
and the Boy came and carried him off.
Weeks passed and the little Rabbit
grew very old and shabby, but
the Boy loved him just as much.
He loved him so hard that he
loved all his whiskers off and
the pink lining to his ears turned
gray and his brown spots faded.
He even began to lose his shape
and he scarcely looked like a
rabbit anymore, except to the Boy.
To him, he was always beautiful
and that was all that the
little Rabbit cared about.
He didn't mind how he looked
to other people because the
nursery magic had made him real.
And when you are real,
shabbiness doesn't matter.
And then one day, the Boy was ill.
His face grew very flushed and he
talked in his sleep and his little
body was so hot that it burned
the Rabbit when he held him close.
Strange people came and went in
the nursery and a light burned
all night and through it, all the
Velveteen Rabbit lay there hidden
from sight under the bed clothes.
And he never stirred.
For he was afraid that if they found
him, someone might take him away
and he knew that the Boy needed him.
It was a long weary time for the
Boy was too ill to play and the
little Rabbit found it rather dull
with nothing to do all day long.
But he snuggled down patiently
and looked forward to the time
when the Boy should be well again.
And then they could go out into the
garden amongst the flowers and the
butterflies and play splendid games in
the raspberry thicket like they used to.
All sorts of delightful things he planned.
And while the Boy lay half asleep,
he crept up close to the pillow
and whispered them in his ear.
And presently the fever
turned and the Boy got better.
He was able to sit up in bed and look
at picture books while the little
Rabbit cuddled close at his side.
And one day they let him get up and dress.
It was a bright, sunny morning
and the windows stood wide open.
They had carried the Boy
out onto the balcony.
Wrapped in a shawl and the
little Rabbit lay tangled up
among the bedclothes thinking.
The Boy was going to the seaside tomorrow.
Everything was arranged.
And now it only remained to
carry out the doctor's orders.
They talked about it all while the little
Rabbit lay under the bed clothes with
just his head peeping out and listened.
The room was to be disinfected and
all the books and toys that the Boy
had played with in bed must be burnt.
thought the little Rabbit.
"Tomorrow we shall go to the seaside."
For the Boy had often talked to
the seaside and he very much wanted
to see the big waves coming in and
the tiny crabs and the sandcastles.
Just then Nana caught sight of him.
"How about his old bunny?"
said the doctor.
"Why it's a mass of scarlet fever germs.
Burn it at once!
Get him a new one.
He mustn't have that anymore."
And so the little Rabbit was put into
a sack with the old picture books and
a lot of rubbish and carried out to the
end of the garden behind the fowl house.
That was a fine place to make a bonfire.
Only the gardener was too busy
just then to attend to it.
He had the potatoes to dig
and the green peas to gather.
But next morning, he promised to come
quite early and burn the whole lot.
That night, the Boy slept in
a different bedroom and he had
a new bunny to sleep with him.
It was a splendid bunny, all white plush
with real glass eyes, but the Boy was
too excited to care very much about it.
For tomorrow, he was going to the seaside
and that in itself was such a wonderful
thing that he could think of nothing else.
And while the Boy was asleep dreaming of
the seaside, the little Rabbit lay among
the old picture books in the corner behind
the fowl house and he felt very lonely.
The sack had been left untied.
And so by wriggling a bit, he
was able to get his head through
the opening and look out.
He was shivering a little.
For he had always been used
to sleeping in a proper bed.
And by this time his coat had worn so
thin and threadbare from hugging that
it was no longer any protection to him.
Nearby he could see the thicket
of raspberry canes growing tall
and close, like a tropical jungle
in whose shadow he had played
with the Boy on bygone mornings.
He thought of those long
summer hours in the garden.
How happy they were.
And a great sadness came over him.
He seemed to see them all pass before
him, each more beautiful than the other.
The fairy huts in the flower bed,
the quiet evenings in the wood.
When he lay in the bracken and
the little ants ran over his paws.
The wonderful day when he
first knew that he was real.
He thought of the Skin Horse so wise
and gentle and all that he had told him.
Of what use was it to be loved
and lose one's beauty and become
real if it all ended like this?
And a tear, a real tear trickled
down his little shabby velvet
nose and fell to the ground.
And then a strange thing happened.
For where the tear had fallen,
a flower grew out of the
ground, a mysterious flower.
Not at all like any
they grew in the garden.
It had slender green leaves, the color
of emeralds and in the center of the
leaves, a blossom, like a golden cup.
It was so beautiful that the
little Rabbit forgot to cry
and just lay there watching it.
And presently the blossom open and
out of it there stepped a fairy.
She was quite the loveliest
fairy in the whole world.
Her dress was of pearl and dewdrops
and there were flowers around her
neck and in her hair and her face was
like the most perfect flower of all.
And she came close to the little
Rabbit and gathered him up in her
arms and kissed him on his velvety
nose that was all damp from crying.
"Little Rabbit," she said.
"Don't, you know who I am?
The Rabbit looked up at her and it
seemed to him that he had seen her face
before, but he couldn't think where.
"I am the Nursery Magic Fairy," she said.
"I take care of all the play things
that the children have loved.
When they are old and worn out and
the children don't need them anymore
then I come and take them away
with me and turn them into real."
"Wasn't I real before?
asked the little Rabbit.
"You were real to the
Boy," the Fairy said.
"Because he loved you.
Now you shall be real to everyone."
And she held the little Rabbit close in
her arms and flew with him into the wood.
It was light now for the moon had risen.
All the forest was beautiful
and the fronds of bracken
shone like frosted silver.
In the open glade between the tree
trunks, the wild rabbits danced with
their shadows on the velvet grass.
But when they saw the Fairy, they
all stopped dancing and stood
round in a ring to stare at her.
"I've brought you a new play
fellow," the Fairy said.
"You must be very kind to him and
teach him all he needs to know
in Rabbit Land for he is going to
live with you forever and ever."
And she kissed the little Rabbit
again and put him down on the grass.
"Run and play little Rabbit," she said.
But the little Rabbit sat quite
still for a moment and never moved.
For when he saw all the wild rabbits
dancing around him, he suddenly
remembered about his hind legs
and he didn't want them to see
that he was made all in one piece.
He did not know that when the
Fairy kissed him that last time
she had changed him altogether.
And he might've sat there a
long time, too shy to move.
If just then, something
hadn't tickled his nose.
And before he thought what he was doing,
he lifted his hind toe to scratch it.
And he found that he
actually had hind legs.
Instead of dingy velveteen, he
had brown fur, soft and shiny.
His ears twitched by themselves.
And his whiskers were so long
that they brushed the grass.
He gave one leap and the joy of
using those hind legs were so great
that he went springing about the
turf on them, jumping sideways and
whirling round as the others did.
And he grew so excited that
when at last he did stop to look
for the Fairy, she had gone.
He was a real rabbit at last,
at home with the other rabbits.
Autumn passed and winter.
And in the spring, when the days grew
warm and sunny, the Boy went out to
play in the wood behind the house.
And while he was playing two rabbits crept
out from the bracken and peeped at him.
One of them was brown all over, but the
other had strange markings under his fur,
as though long ago he had been spotted
and the spots still showed through.
And about his little soft
nose and his round black eyes,
there was something familiar.
So that the Boy thought to himself, "Why!
He looks just like my old bunny that
was lost when I had scarlet fever."
he never knew that it really was his
own bunny come back to look at the child
who had first helped him to be real.
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