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There was a person called Nana who ruled the nursery. Sometimes she
took no notice of the playthings lying about, and sometimes, for no
reason whatever, she went swooping about like a great wind and hustled
them away in cupboards. She called this "tidying up," and the
playthings all hated it, especially the tin ones. The Rabbit didn't
mind it so much, for wherever he was thrown he came down soft.
One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china
dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, and it was too
much trouble to hunt for china dogs at bedtime, so she simply looked
about her, and seeing that the toy cupboard door stood open, she made
"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
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
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 made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes 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 night-light burning on the mantelpiece. And when
the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close
under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped
close round 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.
Spring came, 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
the 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
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 happy, for he 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 cosy,
for he was a kind-hearted 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
They were rabbits like himself, but quite furry and brand-new. They
must have been very well made, for their seams didn't show at 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