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The Great Rabbitville Carrot Pie Contest
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Michael James Bailey
During autumn the valley that sheltered Rabbitville was a beautiful sight.
The leaves on the trees turned shades of gold and red that made the entire valley shine, like a brilliant sunset.
One could hear the song of the wind as it wound its way through the trees, gently cooling the great forest.
Rabbitville was a small but lively town that sat upon the valley floor, surrounded by a grove of giant and ancient oak trees.
The rabbits who lived there were the best farmers in all the land, the town was famous for the rich harvests that gave it its bounty of delicious foods.
Every autumn animals from all around came to Rabbitville for the annual food fair where they could eat just about anything they ever wanted, and witness the splendor of the majestic countryside.
But most of all they came for the pie contest!
The 'Great Rabbitville Carrot Pie Contest' was held every year in the center of the town, pie makers from all the land would come and enter their very best pies.
The winner was crowned 'Master of Desserts' for the next year, and was given a giant chocolate carrot created by the previous year's champion as a prize to share with their families and friends.
On the far side of the village, shaded by a beautiful willow tree, sat the home of the Hopper family.
It was a quaint stone cottage with a well tended and flourishing garden out back.
There was a lazy puff of smoke rising from the chimney.
Mrs. Hopper had just finished cooking a lunch of her flaky, piping hot carrot pies.
The delicious and inviting aroma curled through the house as she set the meal out to cool, when her three children came in.
"Mum, we were wondering, isn't it your birthday this weekend?" asked Jed, who was the youngest of the three.
"Why, yes, dear, I have been so busy I had almost forgotten, why do you ask?"
"Well, we were just trying to figure out something to get for you, as a special gift," said the little rabbit.
"Oh Jed honey, you know you don't have to get me anything.
I have everything I want right here," said Mrs. Hopper as she smiled and hugged them close.
"Why don't you boys go and get washed up, lunch is almost cool."
As they made their way out of the door she sighed and whispered sadly to herself, "Well almost everything."
While washing at the water well, the boys had an idea.
"Why don't we do something really special for Mom" suggested Ned, who was the oldest.
"Like what?" asked Ted, who was just a year younger than Ned.
"I know what we can do!" said Jed excitedly, "we can enter one of her pies in the contest in town. You know she always wanted to be 'Master of Desserts' ever since she was a little rabbit."
The three boys quickly agreed and devised a plan, then went back to the house where they found their friends, Birdeau the sparrow and Cheesy the mouse.
"We hope you guys don't mind, your mum said we could stay for lunch, it's always so tasty!"
As their mum was setting the table they quietly told their friends of their plan.
"Mum, can Birdeau, Cheesy and I eat outside, please?" asked Jed.
"Of course dear, but stay close, there are a lot of people around town today."
Jed picked up his pie and he and Cheesy started off running.
"Jed!" cried Mrs. Hopper, "where are you going, didn't you just hear me?"
"Don't worry Mum, I'll be back soon, I promise."
"Wait for me Jed," tweeted Birdeau, who was now up in a tree, "I'm coming with you."
With that they disappeared down the road and into town.
"I sure hope she wins," Ned whispered to his little brother, "it will be the best birthday present ever!"
Just then their mum came in, a look of suspicion on her face.
"Do you boys know what's going on? Jed has been acting awfully strange today and now he just ran off to town."
"No Mum," said the rabbits stifling a short giggle, "we don't know anything."
"Well, alright then, let's eat before the pies get cold."
Mrs. Hopper couldn't help but worry for her youngest little rabbit and his friends in town.
A few hours passed and Mrs. Hopper was getting impatient.
She was about to go looking for Jed when all of a sudden she heard a loud noise coming closer and closer to the house.
She thought it sounded like a party of some kind, with horns, drums, whistles and people laughing and singing.
"Boys, quick, come out here, something strange is going on."
"What is it Mum?" they asked, but they had a happy feeling they knew just what it was!
Gathering out on the front porch they saw a huge parade of people coming up the road.
There was indeed singing, dancing and music.
A grand celebration!
With a smile for each other the boys ran off the porch to the head of the parade where they found Jed jumping for joy.
"She won, she won, she really won!" he exclaimed, barely able to contain himself.
"Can you believe it? she really won, our plan worked!"
When the parade wound to a halt just in front of the little porch, the mayor of Rabbitville, who was the wisest and hungriest rabbit in town, pushed his way to the front where Mrs. Hopper was standing in awe, clutching her apron nervously in her hands.
"Mrs. Hopper, " he began in his best and most noble sounding voice, "for baking the most wonderful, moist and delicious tasting carrot pie in all the land, we, the people of Rabbitville, are pleased to proclaim you winner of the Great Rabbitville Carrot Pie Contest and Master of Desserts.
Here is your honorary baker's hat, and let us not forget your giant chocolate carrot. Congratulations!"
Then the entire gathering of people joined again in the celebration.
"Hip Hop Hooray, hooray for Mrs. Hopper, hooray!"
Mrs. Hopper, who was more than overjoyed at winning the prize she had dreamed of since she was a little rabbit, hugged her children close, tears of happiness welling up in her eyes, and whispered into their little rabbit ears,
"This is the very best birthday present I have ever received, thank you so, so much, I love you."
"We love you too Mum," they replied, "but we were just wondering one more thing, can we have some of the giant carrot too?"
"Of course you can, my little rabbits, of course!"
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