BY M KURZHAUS – Woe, had he had it in his genetics to lead the simple life of a normal lepus curpaeum. He, instead, is cursed – yet he is blessed – to have been given the gift of becoming what all of you know as the Easter Bunny (or, if you are German, Oschter Haws). He is also known by the name Peter Cottontail to American children in the last few decades.
Oschter Haws was born in the foothills of the German countryside in the 1600s, born to poor parents and raised in a child’s bonnet surrounded by pastries and sugary confections. His parents were the average working-Joe type rabbits who foraged in the garden to support their family and, because of it, sometimes became hasenpfeffer. Oschter Haws lost his way when a large family who was spending the day volksmarching with their dog ran afoul of his family nest. The dog picked up Oschter Haws in its mouth and meant to carry him home, but dropped him to grab a stick in an addled moment. Two young children found him, took him to their home and fed him sweets.
Decades passed and it became apparent that Oschter Haws was immortal. Some blame it on the excessive sugar intake. Others say he was touched by the goddess Ishtar.
After the children who raised him passed away, he wandered the German countryside every year in the spring, hiding colorful eggs and small bonnetfuls of chocolate when the winter snows melted, as a thank you to the two that raised him and kept him alive.
Oschter Haws traveled to America in the 1700s and decided to make it his home. Americans, he found, worshipped chocolate and enjoyed a good hunt more than anyone. The bonnets he had filled with sweets in the past slowly turned to baskets (as American children are no fools, and realized that baskets hold more).
He then traveled to Australia, along with some of his relatives. While Aussies found Oschter Haws to be quite enchanting, they were not happy with the prolific nature of his relatives. In light of the fact that rabbits were not entirely popular on the continent, they adopted instead the “Easter Bilby.” Oschter Haws insisted he was not offended and understood their plight entirely, as the other rabbits were destroying native animal and plant populations.
Meanwhile, in Russia, the 19th century members of high society began exchanging ornate, jewel-encrusted eggs in the spring, roughly around the same time of year that Oschter Haws made his rounds. Feeling obligated, he began to include Russia in his rounds.
While he is a rabbit of few words and declined to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Boca Beacon, he did leave our readers with one piece of very valuable advice:
Good Idea: Finding Easter eggs on Easter Sunday.
Bad Idea: Finding Easter eggs at Thanksgiving.