Study Guide

The Velveteen Rabbit Quotes

  • Appearances

    There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. (1)

    When our story starts the Rabbit is in pretty great shape. He's a Christmas present who's bright and shiny and new so of course he's pretty proud of his appearance.

    The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles. (3)

    The Rabbit's not totally dense. He knows that he's only a stuffed animal made of sawdust, which isn't as fashionable as the mechanical toys in the nursery. He may have pretty velveteen fur, but even he knows not to get too full of himself when it comes to looks.

    [The Skin Horse] was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. (4)

    The Skin Horse might not look fancy, but the Rabbit can tell that beauty is only skin deep. The Skin Horse's appearance means he's been through some stuff.

    "By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and 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." (10)

    So in order to become Real, you've got to become ugly. Except you won't really be ugly according to the Skin Horse. Whoever makes you Real will see the beauty on the inside. Aww.

    [The Rabbit] 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. (13)

    So the Rabbit is a little skeptical of all this Real business. Sure, he'd like to become Real, but he's not too thrilled about the fact that he's got to lose his looks to do it. Hey, some toys are vain.

    And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy—so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail becoming unsewn, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him. (18)

    Ah, but once the Rabbit gets to know the Boy and starts to love him, he doesn't mind that he's getting all shabby and beat-up. The Rabbit loves the Boy and the Boy loves him back and appearances don't matter anymore. That's real love.

    They were rabbits like himself, but quite furry and brand-new. They must have been very well made, for their seams didn't show at all, and they changed shape in a queer way when they moved; one minute they were long and thin and the next minute fat and bunchy, instead of always staying the same like he did. Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to him, twitching their noses, while the Rabbit stared hard to see which side the clockwork stuck out, for he knew that people who jump generally have something to wind them up. But he couldn't see it. They were evidently a new kind of rabbit altogether. (27)

    When the Velveteen Rabbit first runs into the wild rabbits he doesn't know what to make of them. He figures they must be some really well made toys because they're hopping around like crazy. He definitely doesn't want them to see how badly made he is. Poor little guy is still embarrassed by the way he looks.

    [The Rabbit] scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter. (51)

    The Skin Horse was totally right. The Boy doesn't care that the Rabbit looks like a hot mess and the Rabbit doesn't mind that he's not all new and pristine anymore. All that matters is that they have each other.

    That night the Boy slept in a different bedroom, and he had a new bunny to sleep with him. It was a splendid bunny, all white plush with real glass eyes, but the Boy was too excited to care very much about it. (62)

    Oh, man. This one hurts. So the grown-ups get rid of the Rabbit and then buy the Boy a replacement and he's just…cool with it? Give the kid a shiny toy and he'll just move along? Et tu, Boy?

    The Boy went out to play in the wood behind the house. And while he was playing, two rabbits crept out from the bracken and peeped at him. One of them was brown all over, but the other had strange markings under his fur, as though long ago he had been spotted, and the spots still showed through. And about his little soft nose and his round black eyes there was something familiar, so that the Boy thought to himself: "Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever!"(79-80) 

    All right, so the Boy redeems himself here. He sees the wild rabbits playing outside and notices the spots on the Rabbit's fur. Then he remembers his old bunny that he loved so much but that got "lost." (Oh, the lies adults tell.) So at least the Boy never forgot his little Rabbit friend.

  • Isolation

    For at least two hours the Boy loved him, and then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and there was a great rustling of tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels, and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten. (2)

    The Rabbit was on top of the world for a few hours and then he got tossed into the toy box. Kids are so fickle. It's lonely out there for a toy.

    For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real […] Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse. (3)

    This is pretty sad. Not only does the Boy not bother with the Rabbit in the beginning, the other toys don't even want to be friends with him because he's just a boring stuffed animal. Honestly, we think you're better off without those other toys, Rabbit. They sound super stuck-up.

    That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy's bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. (17)

    Even when the Rabbit first connects with the Boy the experience isn't all fun and lovely. The Rabbit misses his friend the Skin Horse and feels uncomfortable just snuggling with the Boy. Good news is, the Rabbit is soon gonna find a best friend in the Boy and his days of loneliness are over. For now…

    "Come back and play with me!" called the little Rabbit. "Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!"

    But there was no answer, only the little ants ran to and fro, and the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.

    "Oh, dear!" he thought. "Why did they run away like that? Why couldn't they stop and talk to me?"

    For a long time he lay very still, watching the bracken, and hoping that they would come back. But they never returned, and presently the sun sank lower and the little white moths fluttered out, and the Boy came and carried him home. (47-50)

    Okay, so the Rabbit may have a sweet friendship going with the Boy, but he's not a wild rabbit. He can't run and jump and play. He's still just a toy. So is he Real? The Rabbit gets left all on his own to contemplate these mysteries when the wild rabbits ditch him.

    It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again. (54)

    The Boy is so sick here that the Rabbit is really lonely without his company, but the Rabbit never gives up on him. He stays by his friend's side until he's better. That's dedication.

    It was a bright, sunny morning, and the windows stood wide open. They had carried the Boy out on to the balcony, wrapped in a shawl, and the little Rabbit lay tangled up among the bedclothes, thinking. (55)

    At last, the Boy comes out of his own isolation and is ready to rejoin the world. The Rabbit is obviously thrilled. Too bad he doesn't know what's coming. Spoiler alert: it's a bonfire.

    The little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books in the corner behind the fowl-house, and he felt very lonely. The sack had been left untied, and so by wriggling a bit he was able to get his head through the opening and look out. He was shivering a little, for he had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed, and by this time his coat had worn so thin and threadbare from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him […] Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? (63)

    Oh, no. Say it isn't so little Rabbit. After everything this guy has been through. He's been rejected by the toys in the nursery. By the wild rabbits. And now by the Boy he loved so much. He's totally alone. This really hurts.

    Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited that when at last he did stop to look for the Fairy she had gone.

    He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits. (77-78)

    All right. But it doesn't all turn out totally awful for the Velveteen Rabbit. He cries and his tears sprout a fairy who turns him into a wild rabbit. Then he gets to live in a huge colony of rabbits forever and never be alone or friendless again. That's a pretty sweet ending for the little Rabbit who just wanted a friend. Good job, little guy.

  • Love

    "Real isn't how you are 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." (6)

    Wow. This does seem magical. Toys become Real when a child truly loves them. Not just plays with them. We wonder how many toys we've made Real with the power of love.

    But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the night-light burning on the mantelpiece. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close round him all night long. (17)

    So at first, the Rabbit isn't digging hanging out with the Boy. We get it. It's awkward being cuddled all night. But then the love factor sets in and the Rabbit really starts to connect with the Boy. He's in deep and he doesn't so much mind being squished a little if it means super snuggles.

    "You must have your old Bunny!" she said. "Fancy all that fuss for a toy!"

    The Boy sat up in bed and stretched out his hands.

    "Give me my Bunny!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"(20-22)

    Nana just doesn't get it. Grown-ups rarely do. When the Rabbit gets left out on the lawn one night, she doesn't think it's a big deal to leave him there until morning. He's just a toy, right? But the Boy sees the Rabbit as a precious loved one. You wouldn't leave your baby outside over night, would you? The Boy's not gonna let the Rabbit sit out there by himself either.

    That night he was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst. And into his boot-button eyes, that had long ago lost their polish, there came a look of wisdom and beauty, so that even Nana noticed it next morning when she picked him up, and said, "I declare if that old Bunny hasn't got quite a knowing expression!" (24)

    The Rabbit is so psyched that the Boy said he's Real that he's practically bursting with love for the kid. These guys are besties forever. Well, until scarlet fever at least…

    He took the Velveteen Rabbit with him, and before he wandered off to pick flowers, or play at brigands among the trees, he always made the Rabbit a little nest somewhere among the bracken, where he would be quite cosy, for he was a kind-hearted little boy and he liked Bunny to be comfortable. (26)

    This is sweet. The Boy doesn't just toss the Rabbit on the ground and leave him lying face down in the mud while he wanders off. He actually cares about his friend. He makes him a little nest to sit in while he goes off to explore. The Boy loves and cares about his little friend—even if he is stuffed with sawdust.

    Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter. (51)

    This really is love, isn't it? The Rabbit is getting all old and misshapen, but the Boy loves him anyhow. It doesn't matter how worn and gross he looks because he'll always be beautiful to the Boy. That's pretty adorable.

    Strange people came and went in the nursery, and a light burned all night and through it all the little Velveteen Rabbit lay there, hidden from sight under the bedclothes, and he never stirred, for he was afraid that if they found him some one might take him away, and he knew that the Boy needed him. (53)

    When the Boy gets sick, the Rabbit doesn't want to leave his side. The Boy loved the Rabbit enough to make him Real and now the Boy needs his love to get him better. There's no way this bunny is going anywhere. Stay strong, little floppy-eared friend.

    It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear. And presently the fever turned, and the Boy got better. He was able to sit up in bed and look at picture-books, while the little Rabbit cuddled close at his side. And one day, they let him get up and dress. (54)

    So we're not saying that the Rabbit's mere presence and whispered words of encouragement cured the Boy, but they couldn't have hurt. When you have someone you love by your side it can make the healing process go a whole lot smoother. Paging Dr. Rabbit.

    "Wasn't I Real before?" asked the little Rabbit.

    "You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one." (69-70)

    Okay, so the Boy didn't really say much about the Rabbit being thrown in this trash bag, but the Fairy assures the Rabbit that the Boy did make him Real. The Boy loved him and now the Fairy has come to make him a wild rabbit so everyone can see him.

    One of them was brown all over, but the other had strange markings under his fur, as though long ago he had been spotted, and the spots still showed through. And about his little soft nose and his round black eyes there was something familiar, so that the Boy thought to himself:

    "Why, he looks just like my old Bunny that was lost when I had scarlet fever!"

    But he never knew that it really was his own Bunny, come back to look at the child who had first helped him to be Real. (79-81)

    Aww. So the Boy did miss his beloved Rabbit after all. He even remembered his spots.

  • Passivity

    One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, and it was too much trouble to hunt for china dogs at bedtime, so she simply looked about her, and seeing that the toy cupboard door stood open, she made a swoop.

    "Here," she said, "take your old Bunny! He'll do to sleep with you!" And she dragged the Rabbit out by one ear, and put him into the Boy's arms. (15-16)

    Well, the Rabbit really lucked into this arrangement. He became the Boy's new favorite toy because the china dog went missing and Nana was too tired to look for it. The Rabbit's just a stuffed animal and he's pretty powerless in this world.

    He took the Velveteen Rabbit with him, and before he wandered off to pick flowers, or play at brigands among the trees, he always made the Rabbit a little nest somewhere among the bracken, where he would be quite cosy, for he was a kind-hearted little boy and he liked Bunny to be comfortable. (26)

    Sure, the Velveteen Rabbit likes the Boy, but he doesn't really have any choice except to go where the Boy goes and play what he wants to play. Luckily, the Boy is nice…and not a sadistic monster who likes to cut little rabbits open and watch their sawdust insides spill out.

    "Why don't you get up and play with us?" one of them asked.

    "I don't feel like it," said the Rabbit, for he didn't want to explain that he had no clockwork.

    "Ho!" said the furry rabbit. "It's as easy as anything," And he gave a big hop sideways and stood on his hind legs.

    "I don't believe you can!" he said.

    "I can!" said the little Rabbit. "I can jump higher than anything!" He meant when the Boy threw him, but of course he didn't want to say so.

    This whole exchange reveals how powerless and passive the Rabbit truly is. While the wild rabbits can hop around and dance, the Rabbit can only sit there and watch as they have fun. And the poor little guy just hopes they don't notice how still he's sitting. It's sad really.

    And then, one day, the Boy was ill.

    His face grew very flushed, and he talked in his sleep, and his little body was so hot that it burned the Rabbit when he held him close. Strange people came and went in the nursery, and a light burned all night and through it all the little Velveteen Rabbit lay there, hidden from sight under the bedclothes, and he never stirred, for he was afraid that if they found him some one might take him away, and he knew that the Boy needed him. (52-53)

    The Rabbit can't really do anything to help the Boy, but he is determined to stay with him. He just has to hope that no one takes him away. Really, what would he do if they did? It's not like he could fight his way back to the Boy. He's totally at the mercy of the humans around him.

    It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again. (54)

    This is sweet because even though the Rabbit is bored because he's lost his playmate (and his ability to move or go outside), he's still devoted to helping the Boy get better. He relies on the Boy to take him places and make him feel Real. He can't lose the Boy if he doesn't want to lose that feeling.

    The Boy was going to the seaside to-morrow. Everything was arranged, and now it only remained to carry out the doctor's orders. They talked about it all, while the little Rabbit lay under the bedclothes, with just his head peeping out, and listened. The room was to be disinfected, and all the books and toys that the Boy had played with in bed must be burnt.

    "Hurrah!" thought the little Rabbit. "To-morrow we shall go to the seaside!" For the boy had often talked of the seaside, and he wanted very much to see the big waves coming in, and the tiny crabs, and the sand castles. (56-57)

    This little guy thinks he's on his way to the sea and he's about the end up in a heap of ashes. And there's nothing the Rabbit can do about it. He can't jump off the bed and run away. Or scream that he's actually Real. He's gonna have to accept his fate.

    And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire, only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather, but next morning he promised to come quite early and burn the whole lot. (61)

    And here he is. The Rabbit winds up in a garbage bag just waiting to get tossed on the bonfire tomorrow. Sure, he can wiggle around a little, but there's really no escaping. He may be Real, but he's still just a stuffed animal and that means he's stuck here.

    And he found that he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited that when at last he did stop to look for the Fairy she had gone.

    He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits. (77-78)

    Okay, so the Rabbit who spent this whole story being totally powerless and unable to even move without the help of other finally gets his legs. This little guy can hop and jump and play with the wild rabbits. Sure, he was Real before, but now he's not passive anymore. He can make his own choices. Isn't that what being Real is all about?

  • Sadness

    "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

    "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." (7-8)

    Well, this is kind of a bummer. So you get to become Real, but you might be a little miserable along the way. We can see why the Rabbit isn't too jazzed about this process, even if what the Skin Horse says is true and he won't mind the pain.

    That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy's bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. (17)

    The whole process of getting to know the Boy starts out pretty melancholy. The Rabbit is squished and uncomfortable in the bed and he misses his old life. Sure, his sadness doesn't last long, but it just goes to show that what the Skin Horse said was true—becoming Real isn't all a walk in the park.

    He was wet through with the dew and quite earthy from diving into the burrows the Boy had made for him in the flower bed, and Nana grumbled as she rubbed him off with a corner of her apron. (19)

    The night the Rabbit gets left out in the grass, he gets pretty dirty and Nana isn't too happy about having to fetch him. We're guessing the Rabbit didn't much like being left out in the wet and mud either.

    "Why don't you get up and play with us?" one of them asked.

    "I don't feel like it," said the Rabbit, for he didn't want to explain that he had no clockwork.

    "Ho!" said the furry rabbit. "It's as easy as anything," And he gave a big hop sideways and stood on his hind legs.

    "I don't believe you can!" he said.

    "I can!" said the little Rabbit. "I can jump higher than anything!" He meant when the Boy threw him, but of course he didn't want to say so. (29-33)

    Poor Rabbit. These wild rabbits kind of make him feel bad about himself by hopping all around and showing off their skills. He tries to fit in by pretending he can jump super high…when the Boy throws him. That just breaks out hearts a little.

    That was a dreadful question, for the Velveteen Rabbit had no hind legs at all! The back of him was made all in one piece, like a pincushion. He sat still in the bracken, and hoped that the other rabbits wouldn't notice. (35)

    These mean girl rabbits are really making our little friend feel bad about himself. He doesn't have any legs to move around, so he just has to pretend he like sitting perfectly still and not moving at all. Total downer.

    "He doesn't smell right!" he exclaimed. "He isn't a rabbit at all! He isn't real!"

    "I am Real!" said the little Rabbit. "I am Real! The Boy said so!" And he nearly began to cry. (44-45)

    These wild rabbits are breaking his little stuffed heart. The Rabbit gets so upset that these other guys don't think he's real that he nearly starts to cry. This is serious stuff. A toy can't really cry, but this little guy is feeling some serious sorrow.

    It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear. (54)

    Okay, so the Boy is sick and this is a pretty sad time, but the Rabbit is not about to leave his post. The Boy needs him. Nothing is going to get our little friend down right now. The Boy is gonna get better and they are going to play again. Oh, if only life were that simple, buddy.

    Just then Nana caught sight of him.

    "How about his old Bunny?" she asked.

    "That?" said the doctor. "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs!—Burn it at once. What? Nonsense! Get him a new one. He mustn't have that any more!" (58-60)

    We get the feeling even Nana is objecting during this quote. She knows how much the Boy loves the Rabbit and how heartbroken he's going to be when his favorite toy goes missing. But the doctor is totally stone cold here. One bunny is as good as another. We guess this guy never had a favorite stuffed friend to cuddle.

    He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden–how happy they were–and a great sadness came over him. He seemed to see them all pass before him, each more beautiful than the other, the fairy huts in the flower-bed, the quiet evenings in the wood when he lay in the bracken and the little ants ran over his paws; the wonderful day when he first knew that he was Real. He thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him. Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? (63)

    The Rabbit's life is kind of flashing before his eyes here. He's thinking of all the happy memories he shared with the boy and realizing that it's all about to come to an end. What good is being Real if you just wind up burnt to a crisp?

  • The Supernatural

    The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others […] He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. (4)

    The oldest toy in the nursery is the only one that really understands its magic. Sure the fancy new-fangled toys might walk around bragging about their cool moving parts, but they don't have any clue about the enchantments all around them. They're not believers.

    "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

    "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you." (5-6)

    The Rabbit is kind of confused about the whole Real business. He thinks that a toys that moves around with springs inside can claim to be "real," but the Skin Horse explains that being Real is something different all together. It's a magic that can only happen when a child loves you for a really long time.

    "I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

    "The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

    The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. (11-13)

    So that's why the Skin Horse looks so beat up—he's a hand-me-down toy and he's Real. Apparently, it doesn't matter if your old owner grows up, as long as a child once loved you, you'll always be Real. That's a comforting thought.

    "Give me my Bunny!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"

    When the little Rabbit heard that he was happy, for he knew that what the Skin Horse had said was true at last. The nursery magic had happened to him, and he was a toy no longer. He was Real. The Boy himself had said it. (22-23)

    This is probably the best day of the Rabbit's life. He knows that once the Boy says he's Real then something powerful has taken place. He's not a toy—he's loved, he's Real, and he can never go back to being unreal.

    "He doesn't smell right!" he exclaimed. "He isn't a rabbit at all! He isn't real!"

    "I am Real!" said the little Rabbit. "I am Real! The Boy said so!" And he nearly began to cry.

    Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and the Boy ran past near them, and with a stamp of feet and a flash of white tails the two strange rabbits disappeared.

    "Come back and play with me!" called the little Rabbit. "Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!"
    (44-47)

    Okay, but this run in with the wild rabbits doesn't go so great. They don't think the Rabbit is Real. But he never loses faith in the nursery magic. He still believes that he's Real. If the Boy said that it's true, it must be so.

    To [the Boy] he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter. (51)

    This is the power of love…and of the nursery magic. Sure, the Rabbit is getting all scruffy looking (just like the Skin Horse), but he doesn't care. He's Real but he still feels beautiful because the Boy loves him. It's like they're both under a spell.

    And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.

    And then a strange thing happened. For where the tear had fallen a flower grew out of the ground, a mysterious flower, not at all like any that grew in the garden. It had slender green leaves the colour of emeralds, and in the centre of the leaves a blossom like a golden cup. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just lay there watching it. And presently the blossom opened, and out of it there stepped a fairy. (63-64)

    Okay, this is straight up enchanting. The Rabbit lets out a real tear and out of that tear blooms a flower and then a fairy.

    "I am the nursery magic Fairy," she said. "I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out and the children don't need them any more, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real."

    "Wasn't I Real before?" asked the little Rabbit.

    "You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one." (68-70)

    This is the nursery magic Fairy (obviously) and she's come to make the Rabbit really and truly Real. Of course, he was Real before, but now everyone will see that he's Real. Cool. That's way better than being burned in a bonfire. Nice upgrade, Rabbit.

    "Run and play, little Rabbit!" she said.

    But the little Rabbit sat quite still for a moment and never moved. For when he saw all the wild rabbits dancing around him he suddenly remembered about his hind legs, and he didn't want them to see that he was made all in one piece. He did not know that when the Fairy kissed him that last time she had changed him altogether. And he might have sat there a long time, too shy to move, if just then something hadn't tickled his nose, and before he thought what he was doing he lifted his hind toe to scratch it. (75-76)

    Even the Rabbit doesn't seem to believe the magic in this story. When the Fairy kisses him, he turns into a wild rabbit, but he stays completely motionless like he's still a stuffed animal when he sees the other rabbits. Finally, he figures out that he can actually move around and he's psyched. The nursery magic has done its work and the little Rabbit is home at last. Aww.