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The Mystery of the Missing Meteor Field Carrots

An Orange Forest Rabbit Tale

By Lois June Wickstrom and Lucrecia Darling

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The Orange Forest Rabbit couldn't sleep. His bright brown eyes searched the night sky through the tiny gap between the curtains. He saw nothing but darkness, and a few dots of stars. He went to the window and opened the curtains wide. His freshly brushed orange fur shined softly in the pale light from the distant crescent moon. Suddenly a blue fireball dashed over the treetops.

"Jennifer! Wake up! You've got to see this!"

"What is it?" asked Jennifer hopping towards the window. She was slightly smaller than the Orange Forest Rabbit. In the moonlight her coffee brown fur appeared to be a rich black, and the orange spot on the back of her neck sparkled.

"It doesnít look like anything I know," replied the Orange Forest Rabbit.

Robes Pierre lifted his head from the Orange Forest Rabbitís furry orange robe where he had been nestling. His perky black ears grazed the ceiling. "Itís time to enlarge the house again!" he bragged. "Iíve been growing. I get to dig!"

Then he crouched down and pushed his boxy brown nose out their bedroom window. "It doesnít smell like anything I know." He straightened his perky black ears. "And it doesnít sound like anything I know." He wagged his tail excitedly.

Robes Pierre was their pet pitbull puppy. When he first dashed into their cozy rabbit hole at the top of Sassafras Hil, he had been the same size they were. But ever since heíd been growing, and as he grew, he made their home bigger and bigger.

The blue fireball zoomed closer and closer. "How beautiful!" said Jennifer.. "I hope it doesn't hit our house! Or hit the carrot patch! We're in the middle of harvest time!"

The blue fireball broke into thousands of small blue spots glowing in the night sky, all falling to Earth. "Oh, Gregory! They're landing near your warehouse," said Jennifer.

 

"So they are," said the Orange Rabbit. "I wonder if people would buy them."

Jennifer laughed. "Must you sell everything? You are such a silly rabbit sometimes!"

The Orange Forest Rabbit hugged her. "I love selling things and so do you. After you design the marketing campaign for our latest carrot cake, we can decide if we want to sell those blue fireballs."

The blue sparks subsided to a dim blue glow in the distance. "I think the fire is over now," yawned Jennifer "Letís go to bed."

The next morning the Orange Forest Rabbitís first words were, "I canít wait to see those blue fireballs." Then he put on his neatly pressed orange suit, and strapped on his orange motorbike helmet. "Iím off to investigate," he said.

His wife, said, "Not without eating some fresh warm carrot cake, first! How will I be able to convince our customers to eat if you go out of the house with an empty tummy?"

The Orange Forest Rabbit bumped noses with his wife. "You just like to watch me eat."

"And I like to help you sell things." Jennifer Rabbit bumped her husbandís nose.

The Orange Forest Rabbit had been thinking so much about those blue fireballs, that he hadnít noticed the sweet smell of carrots, honey and cinnamon that filled the kitchen. Jennifer Rabbit heated up a caseful of their fresh new carrot cakes and set them on the breakfast table. She would need to eat dozens of them before she could design a new advertising campaign to make Orange Forest Rabbit Carrot Cake the most popular cake in the world.

The Orange Forest Rabbit ate a whole carrot cake and grabbed another one as he headed for the door. He strapped his orange motorcycle helmet onto his head and then lifted the faceplate to put the delicious, mouth-watering spicy carrot cake in his mouth. Mrs. Rabbit knew the Orange Forest Rabbit from the days when he was an ordinary brown rabbit. That was before he became a carrot farmer and refused to eat anything he hadnít grown himself. He ate so many carrots that he turned orange.

"Mmm, Jennifer," said the Orange Forest Rabbit. He kissed her before lowering his face plate again. Then he licked his lips to get the last of the carrot cake crumbs off his whiskers. "Eat as many of these cakes as you like. The more you eat, the sweeter your advertising words will be."

The Orange Forest Rabbit hugged his wife. Then he went out the kitchen door of his rabbit holeand kick-started his orange racing motorcycle.

"Come on, Robes Pierre," he called. His faithful dog jumped into the orange trailer cart on the back of his motorbike, and grabbed the safety bar. It was early in the morning, and the farmers were just getting started with the irrigation. The motorcycle roared across the misty carrot fields. Mr. Rabbit showed up unexpectedly sometimes to check on his workers and to pick some fresh carrots.

"Stop Mr. Rabbit," said Robes Pierre. "I smell something."

"You are always smelling things nobody else can smell," said the Orange Forest Rabbit. "Is this something good or something bad?"

"I donít know," said Robes Pierre. "But I smell that fireball that we saw last night." He jumped out of the cart and started sniffing around the field. Soon he found a round black stone, and brought it to the Orange Forest Rabbit. He wagged his tail happily.

Mr. Rabbit sniffed the stone. He didnít smell anything unusual, but it was warm. He trusted Robes Pierreís nose because dogs have a better sense of smell than rabbits. But he liked to have things explained to him, so he could understand them for himself. "The fireball we saw last night was blue. This is a black stone."

While the Orange Forest Rabbit had been examining the small round black stone, Robes Pierre collected a pile of them.

"These werenít here yesterday," said Robes Pierre. "And the only new thing that happened in the night was that blue fireball."

The Orange Forest Rabbit thumped his back left foot, which he did when he was trying to figure things out. He rolled the stone around on the ground, examining it from all sides. The black stone felt very hard and smooth. He picked it up and turned back and forth between his paws. In the sunlight, it had a metallic sheen. Then he said, "This stone had a blue fire. Wood has an orange fire. But after the fire, whatís left is black." He paused. "And nobody is going to want to buy small black stones. But, since these are not ordinary stones, we could put up a sign telling folks that a meteor landed in this field. Tourists might pay to see that."

"First we need to harvest these carrots," said Robes Pierre. "If you want, you can call them Meteor Field Carrots, and see if people will pay extra."

"Thatís a wonderful idea," said the Orange Forest Rabbit. "Iíll ask Jennifer to design a special label for them right away."

"Good," said Robes Pierre. Then both Robes Pierre and the Orange Forest Rabbit looked around the field Ė the harvesting crew was hard at work. Men and women in orange overalls and construction hats drove tilling and harvesting machines that picked and washed and bagged the beautiful orange carrots. Robes Pierre tilted his nose into the air.

"I smell more people than I seeÖ.," said Robes Pierre.

"I donít see how you can count with your nose," shouted the Orange Forest Rabbit, as he kickstarted his motorbike engine. "Weíre late for opening the warehouse. Letís get back on the road."

"There is somebody here that I canít see," insisted Robes Pierre. "And heís eating carrots."

"Who would hide in a carrot patch?" asked the Orange Forest Rabbit.

"Thieves," said Robes Pierre. "Carrot thieves."

"Nonsense, thieves steal jewels, not carrots. Itís getting late."

"You really should listen to me," said Robes Pierre. "Iím right. Iím right. Iím always right!"

"We are not stopping," said the Orange Forest Rabbit. He pulled back the throttle and leaned forward to reduce his wind resistance. Then he headed towards town, like a furry orange ball zooming across the fields, down the roads and up a hill towards his office and warehouse. His perfectly ironed orange suit flapped behind him, and Robes Pierre held on tightly to his safety bar.

"You will listen to me one day," growled Robes Pierre. His tail curled under him as he sulked in the orange trailer cart. He refused to wear the faceplate on his helmet because it covered his nose and prevented him from smelling.

A line of orange trucks with the Orange Forest Rabbitís OFR logo were already waiting for them to open the warehouse. As soon as he parked his motorcycle, Robes Pierre ran off to the airport to oversee the packing of OFRís daily shipments. And the Orange Forest Rabbit loped over to his warehouse.

The Orange Forest Rabbit grows carrots in the Great Plains. He grows them on the sides of mountains. He grows them on the seashore . He even grows them in the cold wastelands of Greenland. And everywhere he grows them, they make customers happy. Nobody can buy just one bag.

The carrots from the Great Plains are crunchy and sweet. The ones from the seashore are juicy and tart. The ones from the wastelands are bigger, softer and taste a bit like apples. Whatever

the flavor, the customers keep coming back for more.

A taste tester, wearing an official OFR apron with the OFR logo on it was waiting in the Orange Forest Rabbitís office, holding a freshly picked, and freshly bitten, carrot from the meteor field. He stood, scratched his tummy, and then said, "I wish to report that these carrots are maximally delicious. In fact, I would say they are your best yet!"

The Orange Forest Rabbit climbed up onto the platform in the middle of his office and sat at his specially made small desk. He always liked look humans in the eye when he worked with them, and since he was only 15 inches tall, he had platforms built all over his warehouse to place him at their eye-level. As soon as he was seated, he called up his carrot report file on his orange computer and logged in the words "best yet." Then he added, "a meteor landed last night."

With the taste testerís okay, the Orange Forest Rabbit was ready to send carrots from the meteor field to the market, just like he did with all his other maximally delicious carrots, packed in orange crates with his picture and logo on every box. His wife Jennifer had designed both the picture and logo, and they won marketing awards for attracting the most customers.

Robes Pierre bounded into the Orange Forest Rabbitís Office. "None of the warehouse staff is on duty. And somebody has taken most of the carrots without paying for them!" He wagged his tail urgently.

 

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