By Anne E. Johnson
Kiri Rabbit looked through the tree branches. The new spring shoots had not yet grown into leaves, so it was easy to see the sky.
Sighing, she yanked at her floppy ears. “Please don’t let it rain.”
“Brek-kek!” Neville Frog hopped from behind a fan-shaped fungus on an old log.
“What’s wrong with spring rain?”
“Most days, nothing,” said Kiri. “But tomorrow is Easter.“
The furry head of Greeper Ferret popped from a hole in the ground. “Did someone mention Easter?”
“Yes,” said Kiri. “I was looking forward to decorating our corner of the forest.”
“But she’s worried about the coming rain,” said Neville.
Greeper skittered all the way out of his hole and did a jiggly dance. “If it rains, it rains.”
Mrs. Robin peered over the side of her nest.
“We’ll weave a basket from whatever Mr. Robin can find.”
On a branch nearby, Mr. Robin nodded with a big, juicy worm in his mouth.
Neville held up a fallen May-apple bud in his sticky green hands. “I’ll collect some pretty things to put in the Robins’ basket.”
“What should I do?” Greeper asked, running in a tight circle.
“You can help me make a garland.”
The friends worked all day on their decorations. While Mrs. Robin kept their eggs warm, Mr. Robin brought strips of ash bark and curly moss tendrils for her to weave.
Neville sprang from tree to bush, scooping up buds, nuts, and seed pods. These he piled below the Robins’ tree.
Kiri tried to be patient when Greeper dumped a pile of fern leaves at her feet. “Please, I need maple and oak leaves for the garland,” she said. “Those are too small.”
“Maple. Oak. Right. Got it.”
After scrambling around in two figure eights, he scampered off again. Finally he brought the right leaves. And trailing behind him was a long ivy stem he’d pulled off a tree.
“Those are perfect, Greeper.”
The compliment made him do somersaults.
When Kiri had strung the leaves along the ivy, Mr. Robin and Greeper draped it between two trees. Neville filled the basket with his treasures from the forest floor. Mr. Robin hung the heaping basket from a tree branch under the garland.
“It looks beautiful,” Kiri declared. The others agreed.
At that moment the first fat raindrop plopped onto Kiri’s head and rolled down her forehead fur. “Oh, no!”
“Don’t worry,” said Neville kindly. “Our decorations will dry.”
The rain hit the ground so hard that it splashed back up again. “This is no weather to be out in.”
Mr. and Mrs. Robin cuddled up in their nest. Neville huddled under a rock. Greeper’s tail was the last thing to disappear into his hole.
Glancing sadly at her garland, Kiri hopped into her cozy warren. The rain tapped and slapped against leaves and logs. Wind howled through the trees, breaking off branches with great cracking sounds. At last, Kiri fell asleep.
The morning air smelled sweet. Then Kiri remembered the storm and what must be waiting outside.
“So sad. My garland must be torn apart. I bet the basket is floating in the murky creek water.”
She flopped her ears in frustration.
“It was going to be such a special Easter. Now it’s all ruined. What a shame.”
An urgent knock at the warren door made her jump. “Kiri! It’s Greeper. Are you awake?”
Kiri hurried down the tunnel. “Are you sad, Greeper?” she began as she opened the wooden door.
Greeper was grinning. “Sad about what? Everything is wonderful.” He danced a spirited jig. “Please come outside.”
A warm breeze filled Kiri’s nose with the mossy, peaceful smell of the forest after a rain.
“Cheep cheep! Happy Easter!”
Mr. and Mrs. Robin’s oak tree had lost some branches, but its thick old trunk still stood strong.
“Brek-kek!” Neville croaked from a puddle. “Such a fine Easter morning.”
“Yes,” said Kiri. She picked up a torn section of ivy. Tattered maple leaves hung off it. At her feet was the soggy, broken basket. “Oh, dear.”
“Look up there, please,” said Greeper.
“You’ll get an Easter surprise,” chirped the Robins in harmony.
Kiri looked at the tree branches. “Now what?”
Greeper pointed a claw at the sky. “See? The sun is in the east.”
“Every morning the sun is in the east,” Kiri reminded him.
“What do you see in those branches?” Mrs. Robin asked with an amused warble.
Kiri looked closely. The sun made the raindrops sparkle on every branch, like glittering strands of diamonds. “Oh! How lovely!”
“The forest is wishing us a Happy Easter,” croaked Neville.
Kiri looked at her friends. They glowed in the morning light, too. Her heart felt full of liquid sunshine.
“Happy Easter, everyone,” she said.
About The Author
Anne E. Johnson lives in Brooklyn. She writes for both kids and adults. Her stories for children have appeared in FrostFire Worlds, Spaceports and Spidersilk, Jack and Jill, and Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide.
Anne also writes music journalism for PS Audio’s Copper Magazine and Classical Voice North America. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing Irish music on her tin whistle and fiddle. You can check out her website here.