Excerpt for The Happy Hermione Hares of Corfu by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Happy Hermione Hares of Corfu

Rishi Harrison

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2015

It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce can leave you a feeling of such happiness. I have never felt overjoyed after eating lettuces; but then I am not a Hare.

The lettuce certainly had a very good effect upon the Hermione Hares!

When Basil Hare grew up, he married his Cousin Hermione. They had a large family, and they were very content and happy. I do not remember all the names of their children; because there were so many they were generally called the "Hermione Hares."

Due to the fact of such a large family there was not always quite enough to eat, Basil used to borrow cabbages from Hermione's brother, Philippos Hare, who kept a vegetable garden.

However sometimes Philippos Hare had no cabbages to spare.

When this happened, the Hermione Hares went across the field to a compost heap, in the ditch outside Mr. Markellos's garden.

Mr. Markellos's compost heap was a mixture. There were various rotting fruits and vegetables, and mountains of chopped grass from the mowing machine (which always tasted oily), and an old boot or two. One day, there were a quantity of overgrown lettuces, which had "shot" into flower.

The Hermione Hares simply loved lettuces. They munched away on them one after another, until they were overcome with a happy full tummy feeling, they were so full that they began to fall asleep, down in the mown grass as happy as could be with full stomachs.

Basil was not so much overcome as his children. Before going to sleep he was sufficiently wide-awake to put a paper bag over his head to keep off the flies.

The little Hermione Hares slept delightfully in the warm sun. From the lawn beyond the garden came the distant sound of the mowing machine. The bluebottles buzzed about the wall, and a little old mouse picked over the rubbish. She was called Theodora Woodmouse.

She rustled across paper bags, and awakened Basil Hare.

The mouse apologized, and said that she knew Philippos Hare.

While she and Basil were talking, close under the wall, they heard a heavy tread above their heads; and suddenly Mr. Markellos emptied out a bagful of lawn cuttings right upon the top of the sleeping Hermione Hares!

Basil shrank down under his paper bag. The mouse hid carefully out of sight.

The little Hares smiled sweetly in their sleep under the shower of grass; they did not awake because the lettuces had been so juicy and sweet.

They dreamt that their mother Hermione was tucking them up in a hay bed.

Mr. Markellos looked down after emptying his sack. He saw some funny little brown tips of ears sticking up through the lawn cuttings. He stared at them for some time.

Presently a fly settled on one of them and it moved.

Mr. Markellos climbed down on to the rubbish heap--

"One, two, three, four! five! six Hares!" said he as he dropped them into his sack. The Hermione Hares dreamt that their mother was turning them over in bed. They stirred a little in their sleep, but still they did not wake up.

Mr. Markellos tied up the sack and left it on the wall.

He went to put away the mowing machine.

While he was gone, Mrs. Hermione Hare (who had remained at home) came across the field.

She looked suspiciously at the sack and wondered where everybody was?

Then the mouse came out of her hiding place, and Basil took the paper bag off his head, they told the doleful tale.

Basil and Hermione were in despair, they could not undo the string.

But Mrs. Woodmouse was resourceful, she nibbled a hole in the bottom corner of the sack.

The little Hares were pulled out and pinched to wake them.

Their parents stuffed the empty sack with three rotten vegetable marrows, an old blacking-brush and two decayed turnips.

Then they all hid under a bush and watched for Mr. Markellos.

Mr. Markellos came back and picked up the sack, and carried it off.

He carried it hanging down, as if it were rather heavy.

The Hermione Hares followed at a safe distance.

The watched him go into his house.

And then they crept up to the window to listen.

Mr. Markellos threw down the sack on the stone floor in a way that would have been extremely painful to the Hermione Hares, if they had happened to have been inside it.

They could hear him drag his chair on the flags, and chuckle--

"One, two, three, four, five, six little Hares!" said Mr. Markellos.

"Eh? What's that? What have they been spoiling now?" enquired Mrs. Markellos.

"One, two, three, four, five, six leetle fat Hares!" repeated Mr. Markellos, counting on his fingers."

"Don't you be silly; what do you mean, you silly old man?"

"In the sack! one, two, three, four, five, six!" replied Mr. Markellos.

The youngest Hermione Hare got upon the window-sill to take a closer look.

Mrs. Markellos took hold of the sack and felt it. She said she could feel six, but they must be old Hares, because they were so hard and all different shapes.

"Not fit to eat; but the skins will do fine to make some slippers."

"Slippers?" shouted Mr. Markellos--"I shall cook stifado stew, they will taste great!"

"Hare Stifado! That does indeed sound tasty."

Mrs. Markellos untied the sack and put her hand inside.

When she felt the vegetables she became very very angry. She said that Mr. Markellos had "done it a purpose."

And Mr. Markellos was very angry too. It started off an argument, inside the kitchen pots and pans clattered and voices were raised over the Hare incident.

Then Basil and Hermione thought that it was time to go home.

From that day on Mr Markellos tried to catch the Hermione Hares every time he was out in his garden. The Hares would play hide and seek on his lawn, which drove him crazy, they would hop, skip and jump around him and then disappear into the surrounding fields quickly as he fell about himself trying to grab them.

To this day Mr Markellos still hasn’t got his slippers and Mrs Markellos still hasn’t cooked her Hare Stifado stew.


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