Ypsilanti, Mich. — Once there was a forest fire. I was there. I am a rabbit. I have 10 babies. It all started when I heard a gunshot. The horrible, smokey smell made my nose sting. My babies were sleeping in our den. I didn't want to wake them because they would make noise. That would let the hunters know where we were.
But they all woke up anyway. I had to keep them quiet, so I let them snuggle up and gave them some milk. That put them back to sleep. Then I went to see if the hunters were gone.
I found the hunters' camp. It was near my den. I saw a tent, some bottles, potato chip bags, and a hunter's cap on the ground. I didn't see the hunters, but something else I saw made me twitch with fright. They had left their campfire burning with nobody to watch it. It had spread to some nearby trees, and six of them were burning. There was a forest fire!
I had to save my babies, but how? I hurried back to my den, took two babies in my mouth and ran to the top of the hole, but it was blocked by a burning branch. My den had more than one way out, so I ran to another hole, but it was blocked too. I backed away and ran to a third hole. Fortunately it was not blocked, because it was the only one left.
I still had those two babies in my mouth, and I jumped out of the hole, holding them tight. I could see that the fire was too big to give me time to leave the other babies waiting inside while I made trips back and forth. I would have to carry them all to safety at one time.
Then I remembered the cap I'd seen in the hunters' camp. I put the babies down near the den and dodged through the fire toward the camp.
Finally I reached the camp, grabbed the cap, and ran back as fast as I could.
When I got back to my den, I took the babies in my mouth two at a time and put them into the cap. It was hard work, because they struggled so much. Phew!
I took the brim of the cap in my mouth and ducked out of the den. Now I had to skip over branches and jump over burning logs. But it was the only way to save the babies.
At last we were out of the burning forest. I knew where there was another forest a few miles away. It was a very long trip, and I was exhausted when we arrived, but I hid my babies in a big patch of leaves while I dug a hole in a safe place by a pond with lots of clover nearby. This time I made four exits in my den.
When that was done, I got the babies and put them in the hole, and last but not least, I put myself in the hole and went to sleep.