Started: 10-21-12, 12:16PM
Finished: 11-1-12, 3:04AM
by Tooie Kangaroo
The Summer Princess
It was not always the easiest thing to wake up in the morning, especially when the days prior were full of so much work. There was school, chores, and the constant responsibility of being a very reliable friend. It was no wonder that Flopsy could barely force her eyes open.
Flopsy was a white, lop-eared rabbit and the oldest out of a litter of two. Her younger brother, Lemmy, was only an infant. Flopsy was constantly charged with changing his diapers and playing with him when her parents were busy; however, she never minded doing this. She wanted Lemmy to grow up knowing that he was loved by all of his family.
As the minutes seemed to roll by, she began to wonder how late it was getting. The birds had been chirping pleasantly outside her open window. She figured that it was probably noon or later. What a waste of a perfectly good morning, she thought to herself.
One of her best friends hopped up to her open window: a tall eared, brown rabbit named Goober. He was about the same age as her, and they usually did everything together. The only problem was that he was a bit on the timid side. It was not that he lacked strength of character, but he was just about allergic to everything and was always worried about one thing or another.
Goober poked his head through the window and saw that she was still in bed. He called, “Flopsy, you haven’t gotten out of bed yet?”
Flopsy lay perfectly still; however, she replied, “I can’t move. I’m too tired to move. I think I missed breakfast and everything.”
The brown rabbit held up his finger as a warning. “You shouldn’t miss breakfast, Flopsy. They say it is the most important meal of the day. It’s full of vitamins that keep your mind alert.”
“I never saw any of those vitamins before.”
“Well, they are still there. What if you came across a wolf or some other bad animal? If you didn’t eat well, you’d probably freeze or pass out.”
The white rabbit turned her head over to look at him. “I would still run away. You’d probably pass out though, with or without your vitamins.”
Goober pointed at himself. “I’m a special needs rabbit. I find it is best to stay away from danger altogether.”
Flopsy slowly pulled herself to the edge of her bed and released a long sigh. “I’m not as sleepy when I sit up, but it was still hard to sit up. What time is it anyways?”
The brown rabbit replied, “Mid-morning. Are you sure you missed breakfast?”
The girl was surprised. “It’s only mid-morning?! I thought it was practically the afternoon! I bet mom still has breakfast for me!”
Goober once again revealed his warning finger. “You should eat all the healthy stuff first and save the yummy stuff for a snack later. You shouldn’t pig out for breakfast.”
Flopsy grumped. “I like all the yummy stuff when I wake up! I’m not a special needs rabbit. If I ran into a wolf, I would still know what to do.”
The brown rabbit sighed. “When you are done, can you meet me in Oak Pass? Mister Hooty the owl wants to ask you something.”
Flopsy hopped out of bed. Her large ears flopped down her sides even down past her feet. She replied, “I don’t want to talk to Mister Hooty today. I only talk to Mister Hooty when I’m at school. If everyone talked to their teachers on the weekends, where would this world be?”
“He said that it’s really important. It’s about the Summer Jamboree that’s coming in two days.”
The words definitely caught Flopsy’s attention. “Maybe I will come by and see what he wants. But I want you there with me in case he starts talking about smart things. You can mention something about what you are supposed to eat or not eat, and then you’ll get a whole conversation going, and I’ll be able to slip away.”
Goober smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you there!” He hopped away at a relatively slow pace.
Breakfast was indeed ready for her as she entered the dining room. Mother was just setting the plates down on the table for Flopsy and her father. The entree consisted of stuffed spinach leaves with flower bulbs garnishing the sides. Lemmy was given the same treats but in a much more mashed up form.
Papa rabbit was reading the local news which had been printed onto a large leaf. He always read the paper in the morning. Father was always attuned to the happenings of Cottontail Pines.
Flopsy stepped up to the table and spoke with relief. “I thought I slept all through breakfast, Mom. That would have been a nightmare.”
Mother laughed. “You always think you oversleep. I don’t think you have even done it once.”
Father folded down the big leaf and added, “You’re sometimes even up before we are. That’s what probably happened, Flopsy. You woke up early but thought it was later.”
Flopsy giggled and began eating up. She noticed that little Lemmy was shoving the mashed food into his mouth faster than he could swallow it. Mother saw this and immediately began helping him with a tiny spoon.
Flopsy commented, “I bet Goober would have a thing or two to say to Lemmy about eating fast.” She suddenly remembered, “Oh! Goober was outside my window today. He said that Mister Hooty wants to talk to me. Did either of you hear why?”
Father replied, “This isn’t a school day. I wonder what this is all about.”
The younger rabbit continued, “Goober said that it was about the Summer Jamboree. I think they might be picking me to be in the parade.” The rabbit beamed as both parents looked at her with shock.
Mother asked, “At such a young age? You must be excited!”
Flopsy made little circles on the table with an idle finger. “I’m not the youngest one who ever did, though. I just hope its somewhere where people will see me. Still, I don’t really know what Mister Hooty wants. I’m going to go see him just after breakfast.”
Father chuckled. “Just don’t let him teach you anything.”
The little bunny rolled her eyes. “There is no way I’d let him. I think he is a nice guy and all, but teaching kids stuff on an off day is a bad idea. What if our heads popped from too much information?!”
The couple laughed, but they suddenly stopped when Lemmy tossed some food at Flopsy’s head. The little girl gasped, but Mother was quick on the mark and cleaned her daughter’s face with a cloth. Flopsy’s mother said, “Sorry about that, dear. He’s just trying to get your attention.”
The daughter smiled. “I know he is, and I love him.” She pointed at Lemmy. “You hear me, Lemmy? I love you a whole bunch.” The little bunny giggled.
* * *
As Flopsy stepped outside of her home, she took a deep breath. The air was fragrant with the many flowers that grew all around her front yard. The rabbit took a moment to enjoy it.
Cottontail Pines was well-known for its flowers. Many of the animals liked to decorate their cottages with them which made the town a very colorful place to live. Flopsy’s house was no exception. Not only did her front yard have rows of pretty flowers, but many of them were used to decorate the frame of her house. There was special consideration paid to her bedroom window which she had done herself. She always made sure that those stayed particularly fresh.
The young rabbit began making her way down the cobblestone path through Cottontail Pines. She had a very particular way of walking. She made it a point to lift her feet as high as she could as to not accidently trip over her large ears. It really was not as bad as she thought, but she had a few accidents growing up. She did not want to risk falling onto her nose.
“Oh! Hello, Flopsy!” called the voice of an old lady.
Flopsy waved over to Mrs. Peggy, the elderly rabbit who was sweeping her front porch. “Hello! How are you doing?”
The old woman replied, “Very good. Thank you very much for helping me with those cookies the other day.”
“It was fun! Invite me back over any time. Next time it will be brownies, I hope.”
“We’ll see, Flopsy. We’ll see.” She went back to her sweeping.
Further down the path, Flopsy saw Mister Rupert, the possum. He was working on his flower garden with his eight kids. The rabbit called out, “Hello, Mister Rupert! Hello, kids!”
The man rubbed his pink nose and adjusted his glasses. “Flopsy! Good to see you again! These flowers you helped me plant sure are turning out nicely!” He asked his children, “Aren’t they turning out great, kids?!”
The little possums all jumped up and down with their watering cans. “They’re the best ever! Flopsy is the best!”
The rabbit blushed, but she still gave a sweet smile. “It was my pleasure! Just let me know if you need any more help!”
Mister Rupert nodded. “I just may do that!”
A short while later, Flopsy saw a certain skunk boy stomping up to her. He looked really angry, but that was normal for him. She asked, “What’s the matter, Blacky?”
The skunk pounded fist into palm. “My parents don’t respect me! Doing chores on an off day is like still having school! I told them that I just wanted to relax, but I still had to take all the trash out and stuff. It makes no sense.”
Flopsy cocked her head a little. Blacky always seemed to be making a big stink over one thing or another. She said, “You don’t seem to have any chores now. Did you want to come with me to Oak Pass?”
Blacky gasped. “Isn’t that where we go to school?!”
“I’m not going to school. I’m going to see Mister Hooty about me being a part of the Summer Jamboree. I think he wants me to be in the parade.”
Blacky’s spirit picked up. “That’s great! You are pretty young to get to walk in the parade. I wonder if you’ll get a good spot.” His mood suddenly darkened. “I never get to be in any parades, and if I did, no one would probably notice me.”
Flopsy continued on down the path with Blacky. “I think that if you were in the parade, everyone would at least hear you.”
The skunk did not disagree. “I would at least try to get their attentions. The whole point of being in a parade is to be seen by other animals.”
The rabbit giggled. “I would make a special effort just to see you, Blacky.”
Blacky sighed and crossed his arms. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“You know that’s not true. Stop being so grumpy.”
The two stopped when they came across Oak Pass. Here was the giant oak tree where they were taught their lesson from the wise owl, Mister Hooty. The teacher was nowhere to be seen, but Flopsy noticed that Goober was waiting for her near the tree. His back was turned, and she assumed that he had not seen her yet. The bunny formed a mischievous grin.
Goober was only minding his business while waiting for Flopsy, when she suddenly jumped from behind and imitated a roar, “Rawr!”
Goober immediately panicked and ran straight into the oak tree in all his scatterbrained confusion. Flopsy covered her mouth in shock as the brown bunny plummeted to the ground holding his nose.
The lop-eared rabbit got down to help him. “Goober! Are you all right?!”
The dazed bunny whined, “Ouch! My nose! Why did you sneak up on me like that?!”
“I was trying to scare you!”
“But it made me run into the tree!”
“I know that, Goober, and that’s why I feel really bad about doing it! I didn’t think you’d panic like that!”
Blacky walked up and both rabbit and skunk helped Goober to his feet. She rubbed his nose and frowned. “It will be all right, Goober. It looks like you didn’t hit the tree that hard.”
The skunk added, “I thought about telling her not to do it, but then I thought how funny it would be and—.” Flopsy interrupted his speech with a well-placed pop to his shoulder. Blacky grumbled, “Well, he shouldn’t have been so skittish. He’s got no backbone.”
The voice of Mister Hooty suddenly came from above. “I saw the whole thing. Flopsy was just playing a joke, but Goober should have been more careful about his surroundings.”
Everyone seemed to straighten up when they saw Mister Hooty; although, Blacky just crossed his arms and said, “I’m glad that I’m not a troublemaker.”
Flopsy casually rubbed Goober’s bruised nose as she answered the owl, “I’m really sorry. I never wanted him to get hurt.”
Mister Hooty nodded. “I believe you, Flopsy. Thank you for coming to visit me on an off day. I suppose you are wondering why I wanted to see you.”
The rabbit stood as straight as she could. “Yes! I heard it was about the Summer Jamboree! Am I going to be in the parade?”
The owl appeared to smile at her response. “You will most certainly be in the parade.”
Flopsy hopped up and down as Goober and Blacky clapped for her success. She shouted, “I knew it! I always wanted to be in that parade! I hope everyone in Cottontail Pines sees me!”
The owl held up a wing of caution. “Hold on, Flopsy! I don’t think you fully understand.”
Flopsy returned her gaze upwards. “What do you mean? Am I not going to be in the parade?”
“Yes, Flopsy, but not in the way that you think. You have been doing a splendid job around Cottontail Pines. Everyone has been sending me letters about how nice you have been to them. You have sure been very busy around town, haven’t you?”
Goober spoke for the girl with his signature raised finger, “I don’t know of many others that have dedicated more of her time to helping others.”
Blacky added, “She’s such a show off. I do good things once in a while, and nobody has written any letters about me.”
Hooty corrected, “I have gotten at least two letters about you, Blacky. Please, stop whining about it.”
Flopsy finally spoke, “I just love Cottontail Pines. I think it’s really a beautiful place to live, and I wanted to give back to the people who make it so great.”
The owl proudly placed his wings together and said, “And it is for this reason that you will be given the title of Summer Princess in this year’s Summer Jamboree.”
Flopsy did not answer. How could she? She was in absolute shock. No one has ever been titled the Summer Princess at her age in Cottontail Pines history! Her large, wide eyes could only sparkle as she slowly was coming to terms with it.
Becoming the Summer Princess meant being admired and praised for the entire day of the jamboree. Not only that, but she would get to lead the parade and get to wear the prettiest dress for all to see. She would walk about the festival talking to everyone in town, hugging all the happy children, and spreading flowers and good cheer to all. She would be the most adored bunny in all of Cottontail Pines and would always be remembered as one of the many princesses of the event for the rest of her life.
Mister Hooty fluttered down before the rabbit. “Flopsy? Are you still with us?”
The bunny muttered breathlessly, “The Summer Princess?”
Goober poked her in an effort to bring her back to reality. Blacky was a little less thoughtful and just popped Flopsy on her head. The rabbit gasped and looked at her teacher. “Do they really want me to be the Summer Princess? I don’t know what to say. This is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.”
The owl placed a wing to her shoulder. “You absolutely deserve it, Flopsy. You are a very good person. Now, all you need to do is show up tomorrow at early afternoon so that we can rehearse for your duties as Summer Princess. Can you make it, Flopsy?”
“You bet I can! I’ll be there even earlier if you want! There is no way I would miss this!”
“Then, I will see you there. Congratulations, Flopsy.”
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
Flopsy was still frozen. Goober and Blacky had to help turn her around and lead her away. The three all went to Donut Park to talk about what had just happened. Flopsy was happy to meet another friend of hers there. It was Gumdrop the mouse.
Gumdrop was a shorter girl than Flopsy, but they were equals when it came to friendship. The mouse adored the bunny in many ways. She was well-known for stopping by Flopsy’s room just to brush her fur.
Flopsy nearly tripped over her ears when she saw Gumdrop at the swing set. “Gumdrop! You won’t believe what just happened!”
The mouse jumped from the swing into the dirt and asked, “What’s going on?!”
“I’m gonna be the Summer Princess! Mister Hooty just told me! Oh, my gosh, Gumdrop!”
“Flopsy! That’s so incredible! The dress with all the flowers at the head of the parade: you’re gonna be so pretty! ” Mouse and bunny took each other’s hands and jumped all about. Blacky and Goober just stood there feeling out of place. They eventually just decided to leave.
* * *
It was early evening. Flopsy and Gumdrop were on the edge of Cottontail Pines. The town was surrounded by a grassy field with a thick forest in the distance. The sun was low which cast pretty colors across the cloudy sky.
Gumdrop was busy brushing Flopsy’s large ears. She squeaked, “I just can’t believe it. You’re going to be the Summer Princess. I can’t wait to see you in your dress. I remember it’s made with all sorts of flowers and other pretty things.”
Flopsy stared off towards the horizon. “I never thought that it would happen to me. It’s going to be an experience that I will never forget.”
The mouse pulled the large ear around herself and pretended that it was a pretty gown. “Everyone would notice me more if I was the princess. I would walk around and people would want to talk to me and adore me for my great deeds.”
The rabbit giggled, “You totally deserve it, Gumdrop. You’re always there when I need you.”
Gumdrop crawled up Flopsy’s shoulders and rested on top of her head. “Is it all right if I help you with your dress? It’s been a dream of mine to be the assistant of the Summer Princess. It makes it even more fun since it will end up being my best friend.”
“Of course, you can! I wouldn’t trust that job to anyone but you.”
“Yay!” shouted the mouse with glee.
Flopsy smiled and wrapped her ears around herself. “Being Princess is going to be the best thing ever.”
A sinister voice spoke from the bushes. “Don’t be too sure, silly rabbit.”
Both bunny and mouse called out, “Who’s there?!”
Wily the fox strutted out of a bush with a smirk on his face. “It’s just me. I thought it might be fun to listen in on all your silly conversations.”
Flopsy pointed at the fox, “Wily, what are you up to? Mister Hooty told you not to get yourself into trouble anymore!”
Gumdrop added, “You don’t wanna be driven out of town, do you? It’s not nice to listen in on people’s conversations!”
Wily slowly stepped around the two. “I didn’t hurt anybody by doing it. Besides, you should have other things to worry about. Being the Summer Princes might sound wonderful, but wait till you get up in front of all those people and they see you for all your flaws.”
Gumdrop jumped off of Flopsy’s shoulders and yelled, “Flopsy has no flaws! She’s perfect!”
The rabbit blushed and said, “Well, nobody is perfect. But won’t everybody understand?”
Wily cackled. “When I see someone make a fool of themselves, I like to laugh. Remember several years ago? Remember what happened to Tamale the mouse?”
Flopsy shivered when she thought of it. “She tripped, and everyone fell on top of her.”
Gumdrop was still trying to defend Flopsy. “That isn’t fair! Tamale was very small and everyone didn’t see her when she tripped!”
The fox continued, “And Flopsy here has those big ears that she can trip over. Face it, when you get up in front of that crowd, it will be impossible to keep your composure, and I’ll be sure to stand nearby to add to the laughter!”
Gumdrop approached the fox and pointed angrily. “Go away, Wily! None of this is true! Flopsy will be just fine as the Summer Princess!”
Flopsy seemed rather upset; however, she still rebuked the fox, “I’ll be just fine, and you won’t have anything to laugh at, Wily!”
Wily began to slowly walk away. “We’ll see about that. I’ll be there just waiting for you to make a fool of yourself.”
Gumdrop hugged her best friend, “Don’t listen to him, Flopsy! You’ll be the best Summer Princess that ever was!”
The white rabbit smiled nervously. “I know. Thank you, Gumdrop.” Unfortunately, the truth was that Flopsy was anything but sure about herself. Something about what Wily had said was stuck in her mind, and she was unable to rid herself of it.
* * *
That night, Flopsy had a dream. She was in the front of the Summer Jamboree parade in her petty dress. She was surrounded by all her friends and family from all over Cottontail Pines. Everyone was cheering for her which made her so very happy.
That cheering slowly began to change into laughter. Flopsy looked from left to right trying to understand why. Even her closest friends were laughing at her. She shouted, “Why are you laughing at me?! What’s wrong?! I don’t understand!”
Goober pointed at her from the sidelines and replied, “Your ears! Look at them!”
Flopsy looked and her ears had become ten times as long and everyone behind her had been falling over them. She panicked and quickly tried to roll them up; unfortunately, they got so heavy that she fell to the ground. The laughing only got worse. She pleaded, “Please, stop laughing! Stop it! It’s not funny!”
She suddenly saw Wily the fox standing over her cackling. “Not so great to be a princess now; is it?!”
Flopsy shouted, “No!” but found that she was sitting up in bed the next morning. She knew it had been a dream, but her fear was still very real. The rabbit hopped out of bed and walked up to her mirror. She looked at how large her ears were and how they dropped down to her feet. For the very first time, she did not really like what she saw.
* * *
Mother and Father were very happy from what Flopsy had told them. Even Lemmy seemed to understand the importance of what was happening to his sister. Mother had prepared an extra special helping of carrots for her daughter as the young rabbit walked into the dining room. “I just can’t believe it! My own daughter will be the Summer Princess of the jamboree! How exciting!”
Father agreed, “Flopsy, you have made this family proud! You’ll be the most beloved rabbit in Cottontail Pines.”
Flopsy slowly scooted into her chair. She was smiling, but it was not entirely sincere. The white rabbit was only able to nibble lightly on her carrots. She quietly answered, “It’s gonna be great. Everyone will see me and everything.”
The parents noticed Flopsy’s tone. Mother asked, “Flopsy, are you all right with this?”
The girl released a long sigh as she spun a carrot around her plate with a finger. “Mom, what do you think of my ears?”
Mother answered, “They are very pretty and cute. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know. I just wonder what they would look like if they were shorter. Maybe if I had ‘up-ears’ like Goober, I would look a little nicer.”
Father chuckled, “Don’t be silly. There has never been anything wrong with being a ‘lop.’ Out whole family is full of them. It’s just how we look, sweety.”
Flopsy peered over at Lemmy who was holding his floppy ears up as an example of how it would look. She chuckled a little bit and gave her little brother a hug. “Oh, I guess I am just being silly. I better hurry up and finish breakfast. I’ll need to be at the rehearsals before too long.”
The mother asked, “Did you want us to go with you?”
Flopsy shook her head. “Goober said he was going to walk with me. I think Gumdrop is already at Oak Pass nagging everyone about how pretty my dress should look.”
Father chuckled. “Silly Gumdrop. Sometimes, I think she would go off the deep end if it wasn’t for you.”
“She’s just being friendly, Dad. Us girls like to brush each other’s fur sometimes.”
Mother nodded. “That’s true. I remember when I was young, there was a sweet squirrel named Melody that would brush my fur. I wonder where she is today. I’ll have to go look her up.” Father just rolled his eyes and picked up his news leaf. Flopsy finished all of her carrots and prepared to leave.
* * *
When it was nearly early afternoon, Flopsy was nearing Oak Pass with Goober. She had been walking rather slowly and quietly. This perplexed the brown rabbit because she was so excited about being Summer Princess just the previous day. He asked her, “Flopsy, if we don’t pick up our pace, they might begin rehearsals without us. Is there anything the matter?”
The white, lop-eared rabbit answered weakly, “No, I’m fine.”
Goober stopped for a moment when he saw a creepy bug on the path and took special care to go around it. This was very common for him, because he did not like creepy things. He caught back up with Flopsy and said, “You really sound out of it. Are you sick? Did you forget to eat a healthy breakfast? What about your morning stretches? Did you forget to do those?”
Flopsy huffed. “I never do stretches. I’m not special needs like you.”
The brown rabbit held up his warning finger. “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. All those routines I have still make for a pleasant mood during the day.”
Flopsy suddenly changed the topic, “Goober, how do you think I would look with “up-ears” like you? Do you think it would look good or silly?”
Goober could only blink at her query at first, but he still took the question seriously. “Your ears compliment the rest of you. Lop-eared rabbits are more filled out than rabbits like me. Little “up-ears” might look silly on you.”
The girl snapped, “Are you calling me fat?!”
Goober nearly tripped backwards. “What? No! I- I didn’t mean that. What I- what I meant was—.”
Flopsy sighed and kept on walking. “I know what you meant. Never mind.” They both walked to Oak Pass with Goober feeling a little nervous after the reaction he got.
Unlike the previous day, there was quite a lot of commotion around the oak tree. Everyone was preparing the area for the upcoming Summer Jamboree. There were banners being hung everywhere, stands were being set up to sell merchandise, and the parade floats were being built.
They were also preparing the special dress that would be worn by the Summer Princess. Gumdrop the mouse had practically taken over that operation. She was squeaking out orders to the two porcupines working on the dress. “It needs more flowers down the back, and the ones on the side need to be fresher!”
Pinny and Sue were getting a bit fluttered by the mouse’s constant suggestions. The latter tried to make a point, “You know that we are usually the ones in charge of the dress.”
Gumdrop snapped back, “Well, that’s just tough! This is Flopsy we’re talking about! We can’t have a dress with wilted flowers on them! And also the hem is up too high! Make it longer! It’s got to be the biggest beautiful dress in the whole world!”
Pinny whispered to her fellow seamstress, “For a little mouse, she’s rather scary.” Sue nodded in agreement.
Blacky walked up to the two approaching rabbits sucking on his thumb. Flopsy cocked her head, “Blacky, haven’t you grown out of that habit?”
The skunk popped his thumb out and grumpily said, “I hit my thumb with a hammer while trying to put up a banner. Stupid hammer!”
Goober raised a finger and said, “You should always be very careful when using a hammer, Blacky.”
All this did was make the skunk more irritated. “And if you were here to tell me that earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have hurt myself!”
Flopsy stood between them. “You two, cut it out! I need to find Mister Hooty. Blacky, have you seen him?”
The skunk nodded and pointed over to the parade area. “He’s over there. They are doing dress rehearsals soon. I think Gumdrop is about done pestering the porcupines.”
The white rabbit nodded. “You two just mingle about. I’m gonna go talk to Mister Hooty.” The two boys did as told, and Flopsy found the owl.
He seemed very happy to see her. “There you are, Flopsy! I bet you’re excited.”
The rabbit forced a smile. She had still not forgotten about what Wily had said. “Yes, sir. What should I do?”
“We just want to see how you look in your new dress as we walk down the center of Cottontail Pines. Oh, yes. About that: did you know Gumdrop has been pestering Pinny and Sue? I’m her teacher, and even I was talked down when I tried to control her.”
Flopsy blushed. “She’s kind of dreamed about doing this for me for as long as I can remember. It might be best to just let her do what she wants.”
The owl ruffled his feathers. “Very well then. Here she comes now.”
Gumdrop was escorting Pinny and Sue over to Flopsy. The bunny marveled at how pretty the dress looked without even being finished. It seemed to be made out of the prettiest pink fabric and had many flowers adorning it from top to bottom.
The mouse hugged Flopsy and said, “It looks great, doesn’t it? It’ll look even better tomorrow! You have me to thank for that. They fought me on a few things, so I had to put my foot down.”
Flopsy beamed. “It’s beautiful, Gumdrop.”
“Go on, girls! Help her into it!”
Pinny and Sue helped Flopsy into the unfinished, yet still beautiful dress and even held up a mirror for her to see herself. The rabbit nearly melted at the sight of her in the pretty dress. The pink flowers completely accentuated her white fur, and made her look many times more adorable. For a moment, she forgot about her earlier woes and said, “I can’t wait to walk in this tomorrow.”
Mister Hooty chuckled and urged her over to the main path. “There’s no better time like the present. There’s already a number of people here to see you. Why don’t you walk a small ways down this street so we can see how you’ll look?”
Gumdrop dashed away to pull Blacky and Goober over to watch as if it was their civic duty. Both the skunk and rabbit did not mind coming to watch, but they were a little perturbed at being led by a little mouse in such a way.
Flopsy was in her own world. To her, it was not today, but rather tomorrow. She was in the Summer Jamboree parade and everyone was watching her. The bunny imagined herself amidst a crowd of cheering animals as she began walking down the path. Gumdrop, Goober, and Blacky cheered for her as she walked by.
She smiled and waved at them as she planned to do to everyone else; unfortunately, that smile slipped away when she saw Wily chuckling just up ahead. As a resident of Cottontail Pines, he would be invited as well. Everything he had said to her came flooding back, and she soon began losing her footing.
As she turned her head to look at the mean fox, her right ear came into contact with her foot. She stepped on it and tripped forward. She then accidently stepped on her other ear causing her to spin around as her dress started to tangle around her. Her friends ran to help her, but it was too late; Flopsy had fallen flat on her face.
Wily was laughing as hard as he could. “I knew it! You can’t be the Summer Princess with ears like that!”
Everyone–including Mister Hooty–ran to help Flopsy up; however, the bruised-nosed bunny hopped away as Wily continued to laugh. Goober called out to her, “Flopsy, come back! Don’t listen to him!”
Mister Hooty grumbled. “That Wily is nothing but trouble. I’m going to have a long talk with him.”
Blacky stomped his foot and yelled, “Stupid fox! He had no right to laugh at her like that! I have half a mind to go over there, raise my tail, and—!”
Goober tapped the skunk on the shoulder to interrupt. “It might be best to let Mister Hooty deal with him. I’m going to go over and talk to her. Everyone wait here.” Goober hopped over to confront Flopsy behind the oak tree.
The brown rabbit found Flopsy crying into her paws. He slowly approached her and said, “Flopsy, it really isn’t as bad at you think. Wily was just being mean. You’ll still look great tomorrow. Flopsy?”
The white rabbit suddenly turned around and yelled, “Just be quite, Goober! You don’t know what it’s like to have long, stupid ears! You don’t know what it’s like to grow up tripping on them several times a day!” She jabbed her finger into the now trembling rabbit’s chest. “Everyone saw me make a fool of myself, so don’t tell me everything isn’t as bad as I think!”
Goober was wide-eyed and quivering. Flopsy had never talked to him like that, and he was entirely unprepared for it. Moments after it was all over, the white rabbit realized what she had done and said, “Oh, gosh! Goober, I’m so sorry! Did I hurt you? Are you gonna throw up?””
He shook his head. “N-no. I’ll be okay.”
“Are you sure? Goober, I was just upset. I didn’t mean to take it out on you.” She hugged him tightly which made the already jittery rabbit squirm. He never liked being touched, but he was too startled to fight it.
He muttered, “I understand, Flopsy.”
Blacky and Gumdrop slowly approached. The mouse said to her, “Mister Hooty gave that fox a good talk. He won’t bother you tomorrow. You’ll still be a great Summer Princess at the Jamboree.”
The skunk added, “I don’t even know why they let him stay here! It should be a crime!”
Flopsy sniffled and stood before her friends. “I know I shouldn’t have listened to him, but I’m still worried about tripping over them tomorrow. What do I do?”
Goober replied, “I wish there was a way to help out.”
Gumdrop blurted out, “Of course, we can help her out! Everybody follow me! I’ll show you what we’re gonna do! Flopsy is gonna be the best Summer Princess ever, and nothing’s gonna stop it from happening!”
* * *
The next day came and all the plans for the Summer Jamboree were complete. Everyone from all over Cottontail Pines were there to celebrate the new season with games, shops, and of course, a parade.
As was the tradition, one animal from Cottontail Pines would be selected to be the Summer Princess. She would lead the parade and spend the entire day greeting people, handing out flowers, and spreading cheer throughout the event. On this day, Flopsy was the Summer Princess. She stood at the head of the parade in one of the most beautiful dresses that had ever been designed for the occasion.
Flopsy looked out at all her friends and family as she held on tightly to her basket of flowers. She saw her parents with little Lemmy in his mother’s arms. There was Mrs. Peggy and Mister Rupert with all his possum children waiting for her to walk by them. She could not have been happier.
The band began to play, and before everyone began to march, her three best friends surrounded her. Blacky and Goober took hold of each of her ears while Gumdrop took hold of her dress. Together they walked down the path through Cottontail Pines.
Flopsy was free to wave to all her friends and family as she marched at the head of the parade. Everyone seemed to agree that she was the most beautiful bunny there. Only Wily stood on the side with a frown.
When Flopsy approached the fox, she stopped and handed him one of the flowers. Wily took it, but he seemed rather confused as to why she did it. Flopsy just smiled and continued on with the parade. Wily looked at the flower for a moment and then walked away. No one really knew how it had affected him.
Flopsy went on to have a wonderful day. She went about the Summer Jamboree and spread cheer to everyone she met, but more importantly, she did it with her best friends. There were few who could deny that she was the best Summer Princess that they had ever had.