The Velveteen Rabbit
There was once a velveteen rabbit. For a long time, he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. And the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.
What is REAL? asked the Rabbit one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
Real isn't how you are made, said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
Does it hurt? asked the Rabbit.
Sometimes, said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off,and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby . But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. "
The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him....
There was a person called Nana who ruled the nursery. One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, so she simply looked about her. "Here," she said, "take your old Bunny! He'll do to sleep with you!" And she dragged the Rabbit out by one ear, and put him into the Boy's arms.
That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy's bed. At first he found it uncomfortable. But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrow the real rabbits lived in.And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close around him all night long.
And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy.
And once, when the Boy was called away suddenly, the Rabbit was left out on the lawn until long after dusk, and Nana had to come and look for him with the candle because the Boy couldn't go to sleep unless he was there. He was wet through with the dew. Nana grumbled as she rubbed him off with a corner of her apron. "You must have your old Bunny!" she said. "Fancy all that fuss for a toy!" "Give me my Bunny!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"
When the little Rabbit heard that, he was happy, for he knew what the Skin Horse had said was true at last. He was a toy no longer. He was Real. The Boy himself had said it. That night he was almost too happy to sleep.
And then, one day, the Boy was ill. The little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep, he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear.
And presently the fever turned, and the Boy got better. And one day, they let him get up and dress. The Boy was going to the seaside tomorrow.The room was to be disinfected , and all the books and toys that the Boy had played with in bed must be burnt.
Hurrah ! thought the little Rabbit. "Tomorrow we shall go to the seaside!" For the boy had often talked of the seaside, and he wanted very much to see the big waves coming in, and the tiny crabs, and the sand castles. Just then Nana caught sight of him. "How about his old Bunny?" she asked. "That?" said the doctor. "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs! Burn it at once!" And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack , and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl -house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire , only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. But next morning he promised to come early and burn the whole lot .
That night the Boy slept in a different bedroom, and he had a new bunny to sleep with him. And while the Boy was asleep, dreaming of the seaside, the little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books in the corner behind the fowl-house. He was shivering a little. He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden - how happy they were - and a great sadness came over him. He thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him. Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little Shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.
当晚，小男孩睡在了另一间卧室里，怀里搂着一只新的玩具兔。当小男孩入睡后做着海边的美梦时，棉绒兔却躺在鸡舍后的角落里，身边堆满了旧的图画书。它的身子微微颤抖着。它想起了在花园中度过的充满阳光的快乐时光——他们那时多么开心啊——这让它感到很悲伤。它想起了皮马，那么聪明温和，想起了他对自己说过的所有话。如果下场不过如此，即便被爱而失去美丽成为“真的”又有什么 用？一滴泪，一滴真正的眼泪，沿着它破损了的小小棉绒鼻子滑下， 落在了地上。
And then a strange thing happened. For where the tear had fallen, a flower grew out of the ground. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just lay there watching it. And presently the blossom opened, and out of it there stepped a fairy.
Little Rabbit, she said, "I am the nursery magic Fairy. I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out, and the children don't need them anymore, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real. Now you shall be Real to everyone." And she held the little Rabbit close in her arms and flew with him into the wood....
He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits.
Autumn passed and Winter, and in the Spring, the Boy went out to play in the wood behind the house. And while he was playing, two rabbits crept out from the bracken and peeped at him. One of them was brown all over, but the other had strange markings under his fur. And about his soft nose and his round black eyes, there was something familiar, so that the Boy thought to himself, "Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever!" But he never knew that it really was his own Bunny, coming back to look at the child who had first helped him to be Real.