When we were very young, before we could understand the concept of a cautionary tale,
we are told that this book was our most requested read-to-me book.
It seems that the first part of the story became ingrained in us, but the ending, the moral of the bedtime story, never registered consciously or subconsciously as we likely drifted off into carefree childhood slumber each night before the last pages were read.
Once there was a greedy old rabbit.
Everyone called him Mr. Grabbit, because he liked to have just lots and lots of everything.
He bought so many vegetables at the market that he couldn't hold them and they tumbled down the hill.
When he got home he was so hot and thirsty he drank not just his own bottle of milk,
but all the milk the milkman was delivering to the neighborhood.
He went to buy a new, bigger coat, but one wasn't enough.
And of course he wanted not one, but several of the best hats.
Another day, when he was going to visit his cousins he noticed it looked like rain.
He couldn't decide which of his favorite umbrellas to take so he took all four.
When a big wind came up, well you can guess, he sailed away.
And ended up on the church steeple.
In his panic he kicked the bell which alerted the townspeople.
(Why is he the only rabbit in town? It has taken 50 years for us to question that.)
A fireman rescued him and when he heard the story of how Mr. Grabbit came to be in the steeple
he declared "Well, I never!"
That must have been rock bottom for our little rabbit. He stayed in bed for three days. When he got up at last, he made a big sign and tacked it on his house. The sign said:
On Saturday afternoon everyone in the village was in Mr. Grabbit's from yard.
20 people bought Mr. Grabbit's shoes.
16 people bought Mr. Grabbit's coats.
30 people bought Mr. Grabbit's hats.
25 people bought Mr. Grabbit's umbrellas.
And after that when Mr. Grabbit went to market be bought only what he needed. He drank one bottle of milk when he was thirsty. He wore one hat and one coat and carried one umbrella and when he went out nobody ever called him Mr. Grabbit anymore.
Oh, so that's how it ends.