The Tale of Harvey the Hare

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Literature Text

Harvey the Hare lived in the woods. He stole frequently from the squirrels’ hibernation stashes, albeit secretly. However, there came a point where the other animals found out about his theft. To escape prosecution, Harvey fashioned a makeshift boat and cast himself adrift at sea, bound for wherever the winds deemed him to go. (He also vowed to never steal again.)

Eventually, Harvey’s boat washed upon a beach. There, he met two creatures not unlike himself: a mouse named Roberta and a cat simply named Cat. They welcomed him to their humble, secluded community.

“We are always pleased to acquire another member,” said Roberta. “This community is small, and it’s tough to make ends meet at times.”

“Well, how many do you have?” asked Harvey.

“Three, counting you,” said Cat.

“Oh,” said Harvey. “What’s life like around here?”

“Pretty good, all in all,” said Roberta. “Shade can be scarce on the hotter days, but there are a few places where you can find it…I’ll show you later. If you look around, you can find a decent amount of clams, and even the odd stingray if you’re lucky. We welcome villagers of all backgrounds.”

“All backgrounds?” Harvey said, remembering his not-so-clean past. “Why, that’s simply fantastic.”

“Unless you’re, like, a runaway thief or something,” Cat chimed in. “If you’ve done a fair amount of unrepentant wrong, the Schadenfreude Monster who lives up in that cave will be quite displeased with you, and the only thing that will keep it from going on a homicidal rampage is the offender’s blood.”

“Er…okay,” said Harvey, thinking quickly. Wait, I haven’t done anything that bad. Maybe the monster won’t be displeased with me at all. How would I know? Or maybe he has a thing for cute little fluffy bunnies and he’ll spare my life. “Um…how, exactly, can you tell if the Schadenfreude Monster is displeased?”

“Oh, it’s easy,” said Roberta. “You can’t miss it. All that happens is—”

Just then, a deafening roar of a caliber that moved mountains, shattered eardrums, and made Godzilla sound like a baby’s gurgle by comparison rang out for a good several seconds.

“—a deafening roar of a caliber that moves mountains, shatters eardrums, and makes Godzilla sound like a baby’s gurgle by comparison rings out for a good several seconds.”

“Yeah, you’re pretty much toast,” said Cat. “So, what’d ya do?”

Harvey was too stunned to say anything.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Roberta. “You’re going to die anyway. Might as well go up and sacrifice yourself now and get it over with. He wants your blood, after all.”

“But—wait, how do we know all this? What makes you so sure that I have to die in order to please the Schadenfreude Monster? And what’ll happen if I don’t?” Harvey asked.

“Well,” said Cat, “It’s all written in an age-old prophecy. It said something to the effect of, ‘Once, the great Schadenfreude Monster terrorized the Earth, until the legendary Goofus the Great defeated it. Now, the Monster cannot ravage the Earth anymore—unless someone settles on Avery Island who has a past of unrepentant wrong. Then, there is only one thing that will prevent the monster from ravaging the world like never before: the blood of the wrongdoer.’ You have one week to live, Harvey. After that, Roberta and I will drag you by your hair and force you to sacrifice yourself.”

Such a week.

Harvey didn’t sleep a wink for those days. It was torture, all of it. He did nothing but mope, obsess, and pace. (In fact, he spent several hours attempting to learn how to walk with one foot at a time so he could pace properly.) Nobody likes to learn that they must die slowly and painfully or kill the rest of humanity, and Harvey was no exception. However, Harvey could also be rather clever when he wanted to be, so, after a couple days of this, he decided to set about finding a loophole in the prophecy.

He recited it to himself a thousand times over those few days. He was about ready to pull his hair out in frustration when, suddenly, the light was revealed to him. Particularly in the last phrase: the blood of the wrongdoer.

He had to be sure, though, so one day he approached Cat with a question. “The prophecy you mentioned to me…it says that the wrongdoer’s blood is needed to calm its rage, right?”

“Yes…” said Cat, giving him a why-are-you-wasting-my-time-with-a-question-this-stupid look.

“And that is the exact wording?”


“Well, how sure are you that it means I have to die?”

“Well, of course it means that! What else could it mean?”

Harvey just hopped away after that.

No one noticed as Harvey cautiously approached the cave where the Schadenfreude Monster lay. It was curious that one would find such a cave on a beach; it was carved with a precision that one rarely finds in nature. There was nothing but darkness inside, but Harvey was sure he heard some muffled breathing.

When he was fairly close, Harvey took a deep breath and pricked his left paw with a sharp shell. A tiny droplet of blood fell on the ground. Harvey smiled. It wasn’t very much, and it certainly wasn’t enough to kill him.

But it was enough.

As he turned and hopped away, Harvey swore he heard the phrase “Stupid loopholes!” coming from the direction of the cave.
I wrote this for school in April 2009. It took me ages, but I like the way it turned out.

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Pippin-the-Mercury's avatar
Hey, can I use this for my Windowpane magazine? I was thinking about stuff you've written, and this and How To Eat a Mandolin came immediately to mind when I tried to think about things I wanted to use in Windowpane. Can I use those two things in my magazine?