The Christmas lesson of Panagiotis
It was the dawn of Christmas Eve and Panagiotis, the little gray fluffy bunny who was living with his family at the oak of the big olive tree in the center of the forest, had already got up from his bed. He had been washed, dressed and ate a quick breakfast with boiled carrots. Along the table, it was the triangle for the carols and a pouch that his grandmother had seized to put the money or goodies he would collect during the day. “Dad, mama, I’m leaving” Panagiotis cried, having hurriedly finished his breakfast and ran to the door. “Where are you going to my child? Don’t you know what day is today?” The father asked him running behind him. “I know. It’s Christmas Eve and I’m going to sing the carols. I’ll get a lot of money to buy each one of you a gift «the small bunny replied. »But my child, beyond Christmas, is also Saturday. On Saturdays, we are not going out in the forest because it is one of the days when hunting is allowed. You forgot; On Wednesdays on Saturdays and Sundays, the hunting of fury animal is allowed. That is, we the rabbits, the wild boar and all the other animals covered with fur, “his father sadly added”.
Little Panagiotis froze. He hadn’t thought all of these at all. All he was thinking about, all the previous days, while he was waiting for Christmas, was what kind of gifts he would get to every member of his family. It was a tradition that went from a generation to generation. Every New Year’s eve, at 12 o’clock, as year was changing, they were exchanging gifts. The children of the family, were buying their gifts, with the money gathered from the carols of Christmas and New Year, and the money gathered by Carol of Lights, they were collecting them in their money box.
This year however, tradition would not be respected. Not even the little Panayiotis, nor even his cousins, could sing the carols. Neither Christmas nor New Year’s Eve, since their stays fall on the same day of the week.
Panagiotis, the little gray fluffy bunny, was inconsolable. He sat sadly beside the window and looked out the snow. Suddenly, he saw George the teddy bear, along with Mary the deer and Venus the wild goat, which at summers is living with her family in the peaks of Olympus, had come out in the woods with their triangles and sang carols. “Dad, Dad,” cried the little Panayiotis, pulling his father from the sleeve by the window. “See them, they are singing the carols. Why are they not at risk from hunters? Why I cannot go out and sing with them?” He asked. “Because my child these are extinct species of animals and their hunting is forbidden” his father replied.
“What is extinct species? It is unfair. I want to become an extinct species also. I want to go out and sing the carols, without being in danger from the hunters «cried little Panayiotis. His grandfather was thrown from the next room. “What do you say my child? Do you know what extinct species is?” He said. “No, but I intend to learn” answered little Panagiotis and went straight to his room. The Christmas Eve and Christmas day, passed and Monday morning, little Panayiotis, ran into the house of the bear. She was sort of extinct, and she could tell him what he could do so he could be the same and he could go out in the woods all day of the week without being in danger from the hunters.
The lady Bear, was a very good lady who lived in the big cave at the edge of the forest. She lived on her own, and although she was very kind to everyone, she was always sad.
“My son believe me. You must not want and you must not become a species of extinction” told him, offering him a cup of hot chocolate. “I want to go out in the woods every day, without being in danger. I want to be able to sing the carols, no matter what day is Christmas, New Year’s Day and Lights. Please tell me how this can be done. How did you bears become a kind of extinction?” Insisted the little gray fluffy bunny. The Lady Bear, got up from her chair and went to her library. She took a large photo album and left it in front of the little Panayiotis. “If you insist on learning how to become a sort of extinction, see for yourself”. The cover from the album was worn out of the very use obviously, while it has risen and seemed dampened. Before he opened the album he noticed that the eyes of the Lady Bear were full of tears. “This is my mother,” she said, pointing to the first photograph. A malnourished bear, with a ballet skirt, with a copper on the nose and a headless carnation on both feet, looked sadly at the photograph. A thick chain was passed through the copper. She was held by a man dressed in colorful clothes, knocking a drum. “She died of her misery. They were feeding and training her on hot sheets to learn to stand on both her feet and to dance as they hit the deck, “the lady said”. On the second page, another bear. Male this time, behind thick bars. “My father in the zoo of Thessaloniki. He died in captivity “. One photograph was following the other and all were showing members of the bear’s family, with sad eyes behind bars or tied with thick copper and chains. “Do you want to see more?” asked Panagiotis and he nodded “yes”. The last pages of the album were the toughest. Killed bears, appear as trophies, under the muddy hunter’s boots. Whole families, shot. Little Panayiotis did not want to see another. The tears that ran out of his eyes were drinking the cover of the album. Without saying anything, he embraced the lady and kissed her on the cheek to thank her for the lesson he had taken. Returning home, he embraced and kissed his family. “That will be my New Year gift” he told them. “My love for all of you. I wish we were never to be extinct, and I wish all the species that they became extinct to stop being like that. That’s what I’m asking from Santa Claus this year” Panayiotis said. The little gray fluffy bunny went to his room to read a while, as the Christmas break would end in a few days and he had to get ready for school.