This story is one that I hope will remind everyone to take notice of things as they happen - make the most of every moment.
This week's story is also available as a podcast.
Looking For Happy
Bobby wasn't the most cheerful of rabbits. He kept himself to himself and didn't have many friends. He spent most of his time at home, all alone. He thought it was better that way; if he ventured too far outside, he might bump into a fox, after all!
One afternoon, Bobby was collecting baby carrots from his garden, ready to make a delicious stew, when he saw another rabbit, rolling in the grass. The rabbit hopped, jumped, skipped and rolled, laughing as he went. Bobby wrinkled his nose. "What silly behaviour," he tutted. "I hope he doesn't bump into my garden fence."
But the longer he watched the other rabbit, the sadder Bobby began to feel. He had never really frolicked or played in the meadow. Not since he was a tiny bunny, anyway. Seeing the other rabbit, with his eyes glinting in the bright sunshine as he jumped about, made Bobby feel upset and a bit cross. He waved a paw. "Hey," he shouted. "Who do you think you are?!"
The rabbit flashed him a smile as he bounded past Bobby's house. "I'm happy!" Was all Bobby heard.
All afternoon and long into the evening, Bobby kept thinking about Happy. He felt sorry for shouting at him, when all he was doing was having fun. And even more than that, Bobby wanted to meet him again, to see if maybe - just maybe - he could join in and have fun, too!
Bobby thought about it all night and by the following morning, his mind was made up. He was going to go out and look for Happy! Maybe if he found him, Happy would teach him how to have fun, instead of feeling so lonely and cross all the time.
Bobby left his house and began his search. The first creature he came across was a starling, with beautiful, freckled feathers. "Hello," Bobby said, a little shyly. "I'm looking for Happy. Do you know him?"
The starling lifted a wing as she shook her head. "No," she replied. "But if you want to, you can swoop and fly with me, for a while."
Bobby frowned. "Rabbits can't fly," he insisted.
"But they can pretend," the starling said. "Sometimes, the little bunnies jump off that tree stump over there, with their paws outstretched. And they have so much fun, pretending to soar through the air!"
Bobby wasn't sure it was a good idea. After all, he was supposed to be looking for someone. But he decided to give it a try and to his enormous surprise, the starling was right; it was a lot of fun! After several jumps, he was out of breath, but he gave the starling a big smile. "I'd better keep looking," he said. "See you later?"
The starling nodded. "See you later," she called, as she beat her wings and disappeared up into the clouds.
Bobby decided to carry on with his search. After a while, he met a squirrel. "Excuse me?" He called, as the squirrel darted up a tree. "Do you know where Happy is?"
The squirrel glanced back down. "Can't say I've heard of anyone called Happy," he admitted. "But I do know a lot of bunnies. They come to play and we have races up and down this tree. Fancy giving it a go?"
Bobby would normally have said no, but he was still feeling really good after pretending to fly with the starling, so he nodded his head. "Okay," he said. "Just for a while."
He spent several minutes, scampering up and down the thick tree trunk with his new friend, giggling as the squirrel overtook him. "I think you win," he said at last. "I'm not sure rabbits are supposed to climb trees. It was fun, though!"
He waved goodbye and set off to search for Happy once more.
He hadn't gotten very far, when he bumped into a badger. "Hello," he waved. "I'm looking for Happy. Do you know where I can find him?"
The badger frowned. "I don't think I can help you," he said. "But if you've got time, I'm in the mood for a game of hide and seek. Would you like to play?"
Bobby really wanted to find Happy, but he was starting to have a lot of fun, meeting the other creatures who lived nearby, so he decided a few more minutes couldn't hurt.
The badger rushed off to hide, whilst Bobby counted to ten. Then, Bobby darted around, searching for him, until he finally found him, chuckling to himself under a bush. "Is it my turn to hide, now?" Bobby giggled. "Because I've just thought of a really good place!"
He and the badger carried on playing for ages, until Bobby suddenly remembered what he was supposed to be doing. "Oh, I'd better go," he said. "I've got to find Happy!"
"Okay," the badger replied. "Maybe come back tomorrow and we'll play again."
"I will," promised Bobby, as he hopped on his way.
Bobby carried on searching for what felt like hours, but he couldn't find Happy anywhere. He said hello to lots of different creatures and played all kinds of games, but eventually, he decided it was no use. Happy was gone. He turned for home, feeling tired.
Just as Bobby was in sight of his house, a bundle of brown fur came shooting past, rolling through the grass. Despite how fast the bundle was travelling, Bobby recognised him right away. "Happy!" He cried, bounding after him. "I've been looking for you!"
The rabbit from the day before stopped rolling through the grass and gave him a funny look. "Happy?" He smiled. "My name's Brad!"
Bobby blushed. "Oh..." He mumbled. "I'm sorry..."
"Don't be!" Brad insisted. "I mean, I am happy. It's just not my name." He paused, dusting himself off. "Why were you looking for me?"
Bobby sighed. "Well... Yesterday, you looked like you were having so much fun. I wondered if you could show me how."
Just then, a voice called out to the rabbits. "Hello?" Bobby glanced over his shoulder to see the badger heading towards him. "I hope you don't mind, but I had such a great time playing with you, I thought I'd come over and ask if you found Happy in the end?"
"Um..." Bobby began, but before he could say anything, the squirrel from earlier came scurrying over.
"Hello again," he said. "I wanted to invite you to a little gathering I'm having tomorrow. We had such fun earlier, I couldn't hold it without you!"
Bobby beamed back at him. "Really?!"
"Of course!" The squirrel replied. "Did you ever find Happy, in the end?"
Suddenly, a beating of wings distracted everyone and they glanced up to the bright, blue sky.
"Don't forget to come and fly with me again tomorrow," the starling called down to Bobby. "And I promise I'll keep a lookout for Happy, for you!"
Brad smiled at Bobby. "You know... I don't think you need me to teach you how to have fun," he told him. "I think you always knew how. And I think you did find Happy, today. It just wasn't what you thought it would be!"
Bobby smiled at all of his new friends. "I'm happy," he said.
"Being with friends makes everyone happy," Brad agreed.
Bobby nodded. "Would anyone like some carrot stew?" He asked. "There's plenty to go around!"
After that, Bobby stopped being so grumpy. He learned that he only needed to be alone when he wanted to be. He had lots of fun with lots of new friends.
And he never needed to look for "Happy" again.