“What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you’re 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 that Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once like being wound up? he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the 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.
read the whole story here. This story is by Margery Williams. it’s really charming and rather touching. I just love children’s books. the older i get the more i like them.
i have to agree with Rabbit that being real can seem scary when you think of ‘uncomfortable things happening’. Real is something that’s not easy to be in our superficial world. I’m so thankful for my church family and friends who love me and allow me to be my real self. i agree with Skin Horse that it takes a long, long time. to love is to expose your heart to being hurt. but being real but shabby must surely be better than being lovely and unapproachable. hopefully i will still have some hair left. :)