The Way of the Bunny
A Panda Warrior Story
He was not like the other bunnies. Oh, he was an ordinary enough rabbit, but one day he decided that he was tired of being afraid all the time. He no longer wanted to spend his time sneaking around, nibbling on juicy leaves in the moonlight, and running away at the tiniest sound. So he set out to find another way. He wanted to be a warrior.
He traveled in the laborious manner of bunnies. He skirted open areas, choosing instead to sprint in zigzags through the underbrush and then pause, ears searching and nose twitching, to be sure he was not being followed. He was afraid, and he hated it.
He sought the dwelling of one who was famous throughout the forest for her wisdom and, more importantly, for being a great warrior. She had settled in this region so long ago that even his great-grandbunny did not remember when she had come. She no longer went out on quests, but occasionally she left her hut to use her knowledge of healing on a particularly ill inhabitant of the forest. She was known far and wide for her rousing story-telling, but our bunny friend was hoping to learn more secret knowledge.
He found the ancient panda sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of her one-room hut. The black portions of her fur were frosted with gray, and he thought she might be losing her sight from the way she looked into the distance with unfocused eyes. But when he asked her to teach him how to fight, she pierced him with a look that he imagined could see the thoughts inside his head.
"You want to learn how to kill, then, do you?" she asked sharply. "Well, I myself have never done it. Not by choice at least." She paused, and our bunny friend bowed his head in disappointment.
"Look at me, boy! Do I look like a killer to you? I'm a panda! Oh, sure, I trained to be a Warrior, but not so that I could kill. I spent long weary years of my life learning about death, but not so that I could cause it." Her voice softened. "I learned about death in all its forms for one reason only: that I might honor life. Not always to preserve life; that is neither possible nor even desirable. But to give to life its proper respect."