Original Short Fiction: "Jiggery-Jee and the Birthday Present"
The fourth fable from Jiggery-Jee's Eden Valley Stories finds Jiggery-Jee musing over what to get Miss Fuzzy Bunny for her birthday. He seeks advices from his friends but then does something remarkable after making up his own mind about the gift for his friend.
Al the Owl and the Eyeglasses
Jiggery-Jee wanted to buy a birthday present for Miss Fuzzy Bunny, but he had no idea what kinds of birthday presents rabbits like to receive. To solve his problem, Jiggery-Jee decided to ask some of his friends. He decided that his smartest friend was probably Al the Owl, who always seemed to be studying all of nature and books, too. So Jiggery-Jee threw on his jacket and old straw hat and headed for Al’s Oak Tree. Just as Jiggery-Jee was approaching Al’s place, Al the Owl came out of his hole and slid out onto a limb of the tree. This surprised Jiggery-Jee, because Al usually stayed inside most of the day reading.
“Al! Out a little early today, aren’t you?” Jiggery-Jee questioned his friend.
“Oh, O-O-O, Jiggery-Jee, I didn’t see you,” blinked Al, staring down hard at Jiggery-Jee. “That is you, isn’t it, Jiggery-Jee? My vision isn’t so good this early in the day.”
“Yes, Al,” said Jiggery-Jee. “It’s me. I’ve come to ask you a question. I hope you can help me.”
“Well, Jiggery-Jee,” replied Al. “I’ll do my best to be of service. What do you need to know? A Plato argument? Perhaps a line of Shakespeare? Or a bit of Biblical lore? You must name it; if it’s in a book, I surely know it.”
“Oh, no, Al,” replied Jiggery-Jee. It’s nothing like that. What I need to know is what kinds of birthday presents do rabbits like to receive?”
“Oh, a good sturdy pair of eyeglasses would suit any studious bunny quite well, I would think,” reasoned Al the Owl without much hesitation at all.
“Well, that might be a good idea,” considered Jiggery-Jee.
“Oh, yes, a good sturdy pair of eyeglasses would be useful to any studious bunny,” repeated Al confidently.
“Well, Al, thank you very much. I’ll go right now to see about purchasing a good sturdy pair of eyeglasses for Miss Fuzzy Bunny,” said Jiggery-Jee.
“Oh, I’m glad to be of help, and tell Miss Fuzzy Bunny I said happy birthday,” replied Al.
The Corner Everything Store
As Jiggery-Jee made his way to the Corner Everything Store to check on the eyeglasses for Miss Fuzzy Bunny, he happened to run into Mr. Cat Fink, who was on his way to the Corner Everything Store to check on purchasing a new cat recliner for his sun deck. Seeing Jiggery-Jee hurrying his way, Mr. Cat Fink greeted his friend, “Hello, Jiggery-Jee boy, where are you off to in such a rush this beautiful cat day?” Mr. Cat Fink always saw the world through totally feline eyes.
“Well, hello, Mr. Cat Fink, yes, it’s surely a fine day. A very good day to shop for a birthday present, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to surprise Miss Fuzzy Bunny with a nice sturdy pair of eyeglasses for her birthday. She’s a studious rabbit, you know, and Al the Owl said she would be sure to like a pair of sturdy eyeglasses,” explained Jiggery-Jee, who was about to be surprised by Mr. Cat Fink’s reaction.
Mr. Cat Fink and the Lamp with a Pink, Lacy Lampshade
Mr. Cat Fink made a funny feline face and practically howled, “Oh, noooo, noooo waaaayyyy Miss Fuzzy Bunny would want sturdy eyeglasses for her birthday. Rabbits are frilly and dainty creatures; they like frilly and dainty presents. Get her a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade. That’s what a studious rabbit would want. You can’t listen to Al the Owl. Oh sure, he’s smart, he’s a genius about most things like when that cat Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and he knows all of Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart, but JJ-boy, I’m telling you he knows nothing about what kind of birthday presents frilly and dainty things like rabbits would like to receive. I’m telling you, JJ-boy, Miss Fuzzy Bunny would like a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade. As a matter of fact, I was slinking past Mrs. Rabbit O’Grass’s house just the other day, and I saw her little daughter, Bunny, reading her little rabbit book by the light of a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade. So there, JJ-boy, get the lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade, and she will be very happy,” Mr. Cat fink lectured. He could be very convincing when he offered his argument and then began to muster all of his supports. Jiggery-Jee had to admit that if Bunny O’Grass liked lamps with pink, lacy lampshades, chances were very good that Miss Fuzzy Bunny would like one too.
“Well, Mr. Cat Fink, I guess you are right. I guess Al the Owl just doesn’t know rabbits as well as you do. I suppose I’ll look for a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade at the Corner Everything Store. Since you are going there too, let’s walk there together,” suggested Jiggery-Jee.
So the two friends walked along discussing the weather, their housemates, and the general social situation of Eden Valley. They soon reached their destination—the Corner Everything Store. They went inside and while Mr. Cat Fink was checking out the cat recliners for his sun deck, Jiggery-Jee asked the store’s owner, Mrs. Maude Shepherd, where she kept the lamps with pink, lacy lampshades. She directed him to the shelves that held the lamps. But Jiggery-Jee noticed right away that there was only one lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade, and Jocco Dogfire, a young junior high school student at Eden Valley Academy, was about to purchase it.
“Oh, Jocco, do you suppose you could interest yourself in another lamp; you see, Son, I really need to buy that one for Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s birthday. You see, rabbits are frilly and dainty creatures, and they like frilly and dainty birthday presents. I’d really appreciate it if you’d let me buy that lamp with the pink, lacy lampshade for Miss Fuzzy Bunny,” Jiggery-Jee explained his problem to young Jocco, who began to shake with laughter at the idea of Miss Fuzzy Bunny wanting a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade. Jocco, who was a good boy, didn’t want to show disrespect for his elder, but he thought Jiggery-Jee’s choice in gifts for a rabbit was hilarious.
“What’s so funny, Jocco, do I have one ear longer than the other?” Jiggery-Jee joked with Jocco.
“Oh, no, Mr. Jiggery-Jee, your ears are perfectly fine, but I wonder about your thinking. A rabbit would have no use for a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade. Rabbits are very practical creatures. I learned that from my teacher, Mrs. Bunny Hare. She said the world would be a more organized place if everyone would take a lesson from the rabbits and learn to be more practical and better organized,” explained Jocco Dogfire.
“But, gosh, Jocco, Mr. Cat Fink said rabbits are frilly and dainty and like frilly and dainty things. And Al the Owl said Miss Fuzzy Bunny would like a good sturdy pair of eyeglasses. I’m becoming very confused about this whole situation. Just what kind of present do you think Miss Fuzzy Bunny would like?” asked Jiggery-Jee.
“Well, Mr. Cat Fink and Mr. Al the Owl are fine gentlemen, but cats are really the frilly and dainty creatures; that’s why Mr. Cat Fink suggested the lamp with the pink, lacy lampshade; and Mr. Al the Owl always wears glasses to read, so he would think that everyone would want sturdy eyeglasses,” explained Jocco Dogfire.
Jocco Dogfire and the Bookcase
“But Jocco, all I want to do is buy a nice birthday present for Miss Fuzzy Bunny. I don’t need to know all of the sociological implications of cat and owl preferences. Can you help me? What would be a nice present for Miss Fuzzy Bunny?” asked Jiggery-Jee, who was becoming annoyed with so much conflicting philosophy regarding the differences among the various groups of animals.
“Get her a nice bookcase. Because, as Mrs. Bunny Hare has said, rabbits are so well organized, Miss Fuzzy Bunny could use a bookcase to help her organize her books,” explained Jocco Dogfire, with his best logic.
“What books?” Miss Fuzzy Bunny doesn’t have any books. If I bought her a bookcase then, what would she use it for?” asked Jiggery-Jee.
Jocco looked puzzled, scratched his head and said, “Golly, I don’t know, but I have to hurry. My mom is waiting for this lamp with the pink, lacy lampshade. Dad just bought her a bunch of books at the library sale, and she needs this lamp so she can start reading them.” Then Jocco grabbed the lamp with the pink, lacy lampshade and hurried for the counter to pay for it. Jiggery-Jee, more puzzled than ever, stood staring at Jocco as he hurried off.
Poor Jiggery-Jee stood thinking to himself, “Now what can I do? I’d better go for a walk and think this over.” So he headed for the door, just in time to see Mr. Cat Fink finishing his purchase of his new cat recliner for his sun deck. But Jiggery-Jee was now so lost in thought that he didn’t even notice Mr. Cat Fink and his new cat recliner. Jiggery-Jee was brought back to the Corner Everything Store when Mr. Cat Fink yelled, “Say, old JJ-boy, where’s the lamp with the pink, lacy lampshade for Miss Fuzzy Bunny?”
“Oh, Mr. Cat Fink, Jocco Dogfire bought the last one for his mother. I guess I’ll have to keep shopping until I can find the perfect gift for Miss Fuzzy Bunny. See you later, Mr. Cat Fink. Gotta rush now.” Jiggery-Jee didn’t want to have to explain to Mr. Cat Fink that Jocco Dogfire had laughed at the idea of a rabbit wanting a frilly and dainty gift. Jiggery-Jee again fell into thought as he hurried out of the Corner Everything Store and headed down the road.
As he walked along, Jiggery-Jee began to think and discuss the situation with himself: “Now, Jiggery-Jee, with so many conflicting reports about what rabbits want and what rabbits are really like, how can you ever find a perfect gift for Miss Fuzzy Bunny? Al the Owl says rabbits are studious, but I don’t recall Miss Fuzzy Bunny being particularly studious. Oh, sure, she reads the Eden Valley Times every morning and reads her hometown newspaper, the Carrot Valley Gazette, but that hardly makes her studious—Jocco is right; Al the Owl is the studious one. He has a whole library in his tree, and he reads all the time. And I don’t really think that Miss Fuzzy Bunny is frilly and dainty. Again Jocco is right—Mr. Cat Fink is the frilly and dainty one. So I guess Al the Owl and Mr. Cat Fink are not the best sources of information regarding rabbits. But Jocco also said something else that makes me think. Miss Fuzzy is not overly orderly and organized either—even though Jocco seems to think so. Oh, my, how confusing and difficult this task is. What would Miss Fuzzy Bunny really like for her birthday?”
The Little Get-Together Dinner
All of this thinking finally paid off for Jiggery-Jee. By the next morning, he had the perfect gift in mind. Miss Fuzzy Bunny would have a happy birthday after all, he was sure. All he had to do now was make the arrangements.
When Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s birthday finally rolled around, three days after Jiggery-Jee’s ordeal of gift shopping, Mr. Rat Narby stopped by Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s house early that birthday morning. Miss Fuzzy Bunny answered the door, “Oh, good morning, Mr. Rat Narby. Come in, I was just having morning tea and enjoying the newspaper. Would you care for some tea?”
“Oh, Miss Fuzzy Bunny, I would love some, but I really must rush. I just stopped by to invite you and Jiggery-Jee to a little get-together dinner Mr. Cat Fink and I are having this evening. Can you come?” asked Mr. Rat Narby.
“Well, I know I would love to come, but I will have to ask Jiggery-Jee if he can. His friend Jacky Hound has been sick, and Jiggery-Jee has been spending every evening with him. I’ll ask Jiggery-Jee if he can come, and I’ll give you a call later on in the morning. Will that be all right?” asked Miss Fuzzy Bunny.
“Oh, that will be fine, Miss Fuzzy Bunny. I really must hurry how. I’ll talk to you later,” said Mr. Rat Narby as he rushed off.
Miss Fuzzy Bunny was particularly happy today, because it was her birthday. She had received a card from her sister, who had recently moved to Bunnyville with her friend See-See. Miss Fuzzy Bunny was very pleased that Suzy was finally planting the garden she had always wanted. Also Miss Fuzzy Bunny was happy, because she knew her friends were planning a little birthday party for her. She knew, because no one had mentioned her birthday. Not Jiggery-Jee, who had rushed off early without even eating breakfast. Not Mr. Cat Fink, who had called early to talk to Jiggery-Jee “on an urgent matter.” Not Mr. Rat Narby, who had just invited Miss Fuzzy Bunny to her birthday party by calling it a “little get-together dinner.” She knew such silence meant something was going on.
By noon Jiggery-Jee was still not home, and Miss Fuzzy Bunny still had not had the chance to ask Jiggery-Jee if he would be free to attend Mr. Rat Narby’s little “get-together dinner” that evening. She was quite sure that Jiggery-Jee already knew about the party anyway and had plans to attend. She went to the phone and punched in Mr. Rat Narby’s number.
“Hello, Mr. Rat Narby speaking.”
“Hello, Mr. Rat Narby, this is Miss Fuzzy Bunny calling. I’m very sorry but Jiggery-Jee has not returned yet and so I still don’t know if he can come to your par- . . . I mean . . . get-together dinner this evening,” explained Miss Fuzzy Bunny.
“Well, that’s quite all right, Miss Fuzzy Bunny. There will be plenty of food, and Jiggery-Jee is welcome to come if he can. See you at about 7:30?” asked Mr. Rat Narby.
“Oh, yes, 7:30 is fine, I’ll be there,” answered Miss Fuzzy Bunny. Miss Fuzzy Bunny went on with her housework. After her work was finished, she took a short nap, then wrote some letters and finished writing a story for The Bunny Times. Then she read in the newspaper that Tyler Hare had been arrested for tax evasion. She was so glad that her sister Suzy Rabbit had had the sense not to marry Tyler Hare.
At 7:00 o’clock Jiggery-Jee finally appeared at the door. He asked Miss Fuzzy Bunny how her day had been but didn’t really seem to listen as she told him. Finally, Miss Fuzzy Bunny said, “Oh, by the way, we are invited to Mr. Rat Narby’s for a get-together dinner. He came by and invited us this morning. I told him I could come, but I didn’t know if you were free, but he said that you were welcome if you could come,” explained Miss Fuzzy Bunny.
“Oh, my, what a surprise. Mr. Rat Narby having a get-together dinner. Oh, I’d love to go, but I’ll be a little late. I can’t come until about 8:00 o’clock. I’m sure Mr. Rat Narby won’t mind. But you go right ahead. And I’ll see you there about 8:00 o’clock,” Jiggery-Jee stammered, and Miss Fuzzy Bunny could tell Jiggery-Jee was hiding the fact that he already knew about Mr. Rat Narby’s little “get-together.” Miss Fuzzy Bunny was sure now, because she had not mentioned to Jiggery-Jee that Mr. Rat Narby had invited her to come at 7:30. And if Jiggery-Jee didn’t know that the get-together started at 7:30, how did he know he would be late if he came at 8:00? Miss Fuzzy Bunny played along, enjoying the little game. She said, “Oh, yes, I’m sure that will be fine. Well, I see that it is getting late. And since I like to walk slowly and enjoy the beautiful flowers and smell the evening air, I’d better get started—see you at 8:00,” said Miss Fuzzy Bunny.
The Best Gift of All
Soon Miss Fuzzy Bunny arrived at her destination. Mr. Rat Narby greeted her and invited her into the living room, where she acted surprised to see several guests. There was Al the Owl and Jocco Dogfire, talking about sports in ancient Greece. Mr. Cat Fink was arranging flowers in a lovely vase. Also present were Jacky Hound and John Mutt, two of Jiggery-Jee’s best friends.
Everybody greeted Miss Fuzzy Bunny in typical birthday fashion: “Happy Birthday, Miss Fuzzy Bunny! Surprise! Surprise!!” Miss Fuzzy Bunny smiled an enormous rabbit smile, and excitedly replied, “Oh, how wonderful of all of you to surprise me this way. Thank you! Thank you so much!” Each guest gathered around Miss Fuzzy Bunny and gave her birthday presents. From Al the Owl she received a new set of encyclopedias; from Mr. Cat Fink she received a sturdy pair of eyeglasses, and from Jocco Dogfire she received a lamp with a pink, lacy lampshade, just like the one he bought his mother.
“Oh, I do love all of these presents. And I really needed them. Thank you all so much,” said Miss Fuzzy Bunny. Then Mr. Rat Narby said, “I have saved my present for the last, because it is too big to wrap. Mr. Cat Fink, will you help me bring in my present?” Mr. Rat Narby and Mr. Cat Fink then carried in a brand new bookcase. “Oh, my, just what I need for my encyclopedia set. All of you really know how to give presents. This is the best birthday I have ever had,” said Miss Fuzzy Bunny. And just as she was thanking all of her friends again, the door opened and in came Jiggery-Jee, who said, “Is everybody ready?” And everybody yelled, “Yes, everybody is ready.” Miss Fuzzy Bunny had no idea what was going on. But then she looked toward the door, just in time to see her sister, Suzy Rabbit, walk in with the biggest birthday cake she had ever seen. And to add to Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s surprise, behind Suzy Rabbit walked Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s parents, Clara and Elbert Bunny-Rabbit.
Jiggery-Jee had decided that all of the gifts his friends had suggested would probably be good gifts for a rabbit to receive on her birthday. But he decided that a visit from her family would be the best gift of all. He called a meeting with his friends, and they all decided that Miss Fuzzy Bunny should have all the gifts they had suggested. And they also helped Jiggery-Jee arrange for Miss Fuzzy Bunny’s family to visit. Therefore, Jiggery-Jee, who had thought he knew nothing about what rabbits like to receive for their birthday, managed to give Miss Fuzzy Bunny the greatest surprise of all, not only presents which she could use, but also a visit from her family which she would treasure. The reunion was a wonderful success, all thanks to Jiggery-Jee’s good sense about what bunny rabbits like to receive for birthday presents.
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes