One of Milo and Mira’s favorite places to play outside was a little area behind the lake in their town. It was next to the boat ramp, had picnic tables and grills, and lots of little trails to walk.
One day, when Milo and Mira were exploring this little patch of forest, they stumbled upon a tiny baby bunny, all alone. They knew that the bunny was too small to be on its own so they figured it had gotten separated from its family and was lost.
“Oh no! This bunny is too small to survive on its own. We need to help it,” Mira said.
She leaned in like she was going to pick the little bunny up, but Milo stopped her. “I learned in school recently that humans shouldn’t touch wild animals, especially babies, if they can help it.”
Mira stood up. “Why not?”
“If we touch that bunny, it will smell like us – like humans. Then, if we find its family, they will smell human, not the baby bunny, and be too scared to go near it.”
“Oh. So they would just leave it?” Mira asked.
Milo shrugged. “Maybe. So it’s best if we don’t touch it.”
“Hmm… What should we do then?” Mira asked as she and Milo looked down at the little bunny. It was tucked into a small little ball, twitching its nose, and shaking. “It looks really scared.”
“I would be scared, too, if I was lost,” Milo said.
The two children thought for a while about how they could help the little bunny.
“Let’s see if we can find its family,” Mira suggested.
Milo agreed and they set off to search the small wooded area for a big mama or papa bunny looking for her or his lost baby. They decided to split up – Mira taking the north side of the main trail and Milo taking the south side – because they thought they would be able to cover more ground faster that way.
Mira didn’t bother looking in the water because she knew bunnies didn’t swim very often, especially if they had a new family.
Milo checked under all of the picnic tables and even in the disused grills.
Mira checked the bushes. It took a long time because there were a lot of thick bushes behind the lake.
Milo was also checking some bushes near a group of trees when he spotted an old log lying on the ground. He thought that might be a good place for some bunny rabbits to live. He crouched down very quietly and peered in the hole at the end of the log. Sure enough, there was one big bunny with three more baby bunnies huddled inside!
A huge grin spread across Milo’s face. He backed away from the log, slowly and quietly, and then ran to go find Mira.
“Mira! Mira! I found them!” He yelled as he reached Mira.
A huge grin spread across Mira’s face, too. “That’s excellent! Now how to we get the baby bunny back to its family?”
“Remember, we shouldn’t touch it with our bare hands,” Milo said.
They took a moment to think.
“What if we used some sort of basket?” Mira suggested.
“We don’t have a basket,” Milo said. “And if we got one from home, that would smell like humans, too.”
“Do you think we could make one?” Mira asked.
“Let’s try it,” Milo agreed.
They gathered some small, bendy sticks and reeds and a pile of nice, soft leaves. They helped each other to weave the sticks and reeds together. They couldn’t figured out how to weave the sides up so they ended up with more of a tray than a basket. There were a lot of gaps, too, so they spread out the leaves to make a sort of bed for the bunny to sit on without falling through.
Milo held the makeshift tray with both of his hands underneath, very carefully. They walked back to where they had originally found the little lost bunny and were relieved to find that it was still there. Very slowly and carefully, they scooped up the little bunny onto the tray. Mira had to help push it on a little bit, but she held big leaves in her hands so her skin wouldn’t touch the bunny. It was very skittish, but once they got it on the tray, it curled up very small again and hunkered down, shaking.
“Follow me,” Milo said as they started walking to the log where he had found the bunny family. They walked very, very slowly and very, very carefully so they wouldn’t drop or upset the little lost bunny.
When they got to the log, Milo pointed it out to Mira. She helped him keep the tray steady as he knelt down in front of the hole. The little bunny lifted its head and started sniffly around excitedly. Then, before Milo and Mira had gotten the tray all the way to the ground, the little lost bunny hopped down off the tray and landed awkwardly in the soft grass. Then it bounded right into the hole of the log.
Milo and Mira quickly looked at each other with a surprised, “Oh!” Then they crouched down as quickly as they could while still being really quiet and peer in the hole.
The little bunny had hopped right up to the big bunny, who was now snuggly the little bunny close. The big bunny’s and all four of the little baby bunnies’ noses were twitching like crazy. Luckily, none of them seemed alarmed that the lost bunny smelled like humans. Instead, they all looked very happy and excited to be all together again, especially the little lost bunny.
Milo and Mira stood up and backed away. They looked at each other and smiled. They had helped the lost bunny get back to the safety and comfort of its family.
Without needing to say anything, they were both ready to go home and spend some quality time with their own families.