Matilda stood on the front step of her
and stretched out her arms into the shining
sun. She had been dancing and happy since
waking up. It was the week before Easter
Sunday, and she would now start gathering
everyone together to go to the hens who laid
the wonderful eggs for the Easter Bunny to
hide for the children of the nearby town of
Rabbitville, the following Sunday.
was a wonderful morning! Everything went
smoothly as usual, and all of the rabbits of
Rabbitville carried the baskets full of
beautiful white and even brown colored eggs
to the place where they would paint them,
and decorate them to make them even more
beautiful. It would take all week. The
rabbits of Rabbitville were fine crafters,
and artists, too!
Monday passed, and Tuesday passed without a
problem – in fact, everything was going so
smoothly, that Matilda decided that maybe
they should go to the hens for more eggs,
since there would be more time.
However, when she got there, all the hens
were asleep, most likely tired from all the
egg laying for
the holiday. So Matilda figured it wouldn’t
hurt to slip some of the ones they were
sitting on, out from beneath them. They
wouldn’t mind after all, would they?
didn’t wake a single hen while taking the
eggs, and that
seemed to be okay, it wasn’t stealing or
anything, the hens would happily give those
eggs, wouldn’t they? Especially for the
problem! Matilda thought to
herself, as she quietly closed the door on
the great henhouse, and slipped back down
the path in the darkness.
she returned to the egg studio, everyone had
gone, so Matilda sat the basket on the
middle table and shut off the lights and
went home, herself, thinking that all the
rabbits would be happy for
eggs to color! Matilda felt very good about
that and fell asleep very peacefully that
morning came, Matilda went out on the front
step again, as she did every spring morning
and stretched her arms out to the shining
is a beautiful day! She thought
to herself, as she headed down the front
steps and down the short path the egg
when Matilda got there, she was very
surprised to find that everyone was upset,
not happy. “What is wrong?” She asked, not
sure why everyone was upset yet, since they
were all crowded around the middle table.
hens!” someone said. “One of them has come
and taken the eggs that were in this basket,
and trompled on
all of the others, we have
eggs left for Easter!”
“NO eggs? How could that happen? I got us
MORE eggs last night, the hens were just
sleeping, they didn’t mind,
“ she exclaimed,
nervously, thinking maybe they did mind.
someone said, in a very somber, disappointed
tone of voice.
of them must have come back to retrieve them
– maybe they were not magic eggs, they might
have been eggs with chicks, Matilda, you
should have woke them up to
for the eggs. They must have been
Matilda gasped and put her face into her
hands, and wept. “How could I have been so
“I was just trying to make everyone happy
that there would be more eggs to color, I
wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.” She said.
Matilda, I’m sure everyone here understands
that, but we have a problem to solve – NOW
what is the Easter Bunny going to hide for
the children on Easter morning? We have
nothing to give him now but broken eggs, and
the hens are surely very angry at us.”
“I don’t know, I will have to think about
it,” she said. “It is my job to think about
it, and I will not let the Easter Bunny
Matilda slowly left the art studio while the
other rabbits began to clean up the mess.
There were some in the room just weeping,
and others scratching their heads, all
feeling that Matilda would not be able to
resolve the problem before Easter Sunday –
they would also need time to color any new
eggs, IF Matilda could get more. It all
seemed very hopeless to them.
walked down the path back to the forest and
stood beyond the trees that shaded the great
henhouse. Soon she found herself sitting on
a log, just looking through the trees at the
henhouse, thinking about what she should do.
Before she knew it, the sun was beginning to
set and soon all of the hens would be asleep
again, so she stood up and began walking
toward the henhouse, not knowing what she
would do once she got inside, but knowing
she must do something.
“Hello,” Matilda said while opening the
front door to the house. “Hello Matilda,”
said one of the hens closest to her. “It is
almost sunset, what are you doing here?” the
“I am here to say I am sorry, and I need
Matilda heard herself
“Sorry for what, dear
Matilda?” the hen asked
softly. The other hens were half awake but
some nodded and turned their heads closer to
Unfinished sketch for
the Matilda story by Toni Donelow Stewart
took the eggs last night, thinking nobody
would mind.” Matilda confessed.
The hen’s eyes opened more widely and she
extended her neck just a little more, with
“Oh my!” she covered her beak with a wing.
There were tears coming out of the beautiful
Matilda! Those were chicks in those eggs,
everyone was very frightened, and many of us
scrambled around the whole countryside to
make sure that they were not stolen by one
of the foxes.”
“But you found them and it is alright now?”
asked, thinking of her predicament with the
“Yes, I suppose it is alright, every single
chick is safe and accounted for. They are
all back in their proper nests with their
proper mothers.” Answered the hen.
But the other hens had sour looks on their
faces, and she could feel their rightful
am so sorry, I really didn’t know, and I
didn’t think anyone would mind giving more
eggs to the Easter Bunny for the children.”
Matilda, but we will have to discuss it
among ourselves. Go now and we will have an
answer for you in the morning.” All the hens
nodded in agreement, they all cared very
much for Matilda and the Easter Bunny, and
felt sorry for her as well, but were also
considering what she had done, and how
dangerous that was for the chicks.
Matilda walked slowly home, and said nothing
to anyone. She just closed her front door
and went to bed, not
hungry, not feeling like she could sleep but
was soon sleeping anyway.
morning came, she got dressed and stood out
on her front step and stretched her arms out
to the bright and shining sun. But this
morning she just felt sad, not knowing if
the hens were going to help and make more
eggs to replace the ones that had been
trampled. And there was so little time now
to get new ones colored, even after they
were laid and carried to the egg studio.
“Ho hum.” Matilda muttered to herself as she
slipped slowly down the path, in the
opposite direction from the egg studio, she
went straight to the great henhouse, and
stood quietly outside the door, her shadow
dark on the wooden boards.
Matilda decided not to knock right away,
because she could hear the faint voices of
the hens inside, though she could not
stood and waited for what seemed like hours
but was probably only minutes. She began to
feel herself perspiring. What would happen
if they said that they would not help her?
She was so afraid!
“Matilda! Matilda!” the hen from the day
before called out from behind the door. The
hens were busy in their nests and not
getting up most of the time, during the
spring, so she let herself in, as she had
Ma’am?” Matilda answered in a soft voice,
feeling very frightened.
“We have come to a conclusion,
“ she said, as
the other hens nodded in agreement.
Matilda asked almost immediately, feeling
her hopes up.
“We have decided in this collective, that we
should go ahead and help you this time.”
“Oh my, thank you Ladies!”
“But ONLY because no such thing has ever
happened in the past,
and that you have explained to us your
reasons for making such a mistake. We would
also not like to make the children unhappy
on Easter morning,” she continued.
Matilda agreed. “and
I am so sorry for my mistake, and I will
never do such a thing again, I am sorry I
stole the eggs.”
“Yes, the stealing also comes into it, but I
should hope that your own conscience should
suffice in punishment, and that you shall
not do it again.”
“I will never again take something that is
Matilda swore to them, holding her paw
against her heart, and felt herself weep
again for what she had done.
“Then it is agreed then, we shall lay more
eggs for Easter. Please come back to us this
evening, Matilda, and bring the other
bunnies to carry the baskets of eggs back to
your coloring studio, we will have plenty
for you.” The sweet hen said in a happier
“Thank you so much!” said
“Now go, and return this evening, have a
good day Little Miss,” she smiled sweetly.
Matilda returned down the path that led back
to the egg studio, where everyone was
gathered waiting for her to show up.
“We’re SAVED!” She announced excitedly.
“The hens have understanding hearts and have
forgiven me my mistake, and they said to
show up at the end of the day with all of
you, to bring the eggs that they will be
All the bunnies were relieved and thankful
for the kindness of the hearts of the hens
in the great henhouse. They had every right
to be mad at
Matilda and even the
Easter Bunny, had they wanted to.
“And you have learned your lesson,
oldest rabbit of the town interrupted, Mrs.
Grain, who was also the retired
Grain, I have learned my lesson and I will
never steal again.” Matilda answered in a
very humbled voice.
“That is good, it will never happen again.”
She smiled, in her usual knowing way.
evening, just as promised, the rabbits of
Rabbitville showed up at the great henhouse
with fresh empty baskets and waited for
Matilda to return from inside with the hens
and open the door so they could gather up
the new eggs. This time around, there were
more eggs than the last time, and plenty of
work to do!
rabbits lived in the egg studio for 2 more
days solid, until every last egg was done
and ready to go for the Easter Bunny.
During this time, they ate there and slept
there and had all the
little bunny children playing there, and
were much like one big rabbit family. And of
all the rabbits, it seemed that Matilda was
there working the very
hardest to get the beautiful eggs done in
time, for the Easter Bunny. She had ‘learned
her lesson’ very dearly it seemed, but had
learned it well.
the time Easter Sunday morning arrived, all
the rabbits were asleep, including Matilda,
when the Easter Bunny showed up to take the
tiptoed between them and above them and
below them and beneath them, and retrieved
every last beautiful egg from among the
sleeping rabbits, while the light of the sun
barely crept through the cracks in the
shuttered windows of the egg studio.
“Bless you all,” he turned back and spoke to
them softly as he left out the door with the
wonderful eggs. And just as he slipped
away, the rabbits began to awaken, and
realize that they had overslept, and that
they missed the Easter Bunny.
Someone wondered aloud: “Does he know?”
answered. “He knows.”