Portrait of Liv Lorkin, a talented author, illustrator, and designer. She is captured smiling at the camera, showcasing shoulder-length short brown hair and a freckled face. The background features illustrations on the wall, providing a glimpse into her creative and artistic environment.

Australian children’s book author, illustrator and visual storyteller. I weave magic, creativity and fun into all I do.

The New Page Podcast

Listen on Apple Podcast and Spotify now.

Lillian Rabbit: The Secret of Time

Lillian Rabbit was an exceptionally punctual student at the Woodland Grove Schoolhouse. She had only been attending for no more than two full moons and was never a minute late. To her headmistress’s delight, she kept to herself, never made a fuss and could count up to ten with very little help. She would arrive before class started and was out the door at precisely 3pm each day.

If Miss Hare had more time away from her room full of hopping and carefree bunnies she might have noticed something was askew, for Lillian had a very large secret. One that she carefully hid with her tightly wound pocket watch. Its once brightly golden edges were now faded to silver with generations’ worth of use.

Lillian was so quick and precise as she checked the little ornate dials not one single classmate had noticed the tiny E.B. engraved into the back. No sooner had she read the time than the well-loved pocket watch was slipped back into her dress’s front pocket. Ready to be checked again as needed.

Despite arriving at a new school, at the beginning of the year, Lillian had made not one but two exceptionally delightful friends. The flurry of questions about her previous borough, the big move from somewhere so far away to somewhere much smaller faded just as quickly as she had answered them. Her father’s work brought the small drove of the Easterly Family to the quieter parts of Woodland Grove.

Unlike her fellow classmates, who had countless siblings that filled the warren-like hallways, Lillian was an only child. When asked about her family she would smile and give her answers in the same polite and warm voice she always had. Her mother’s baked goods were known across the land, her famous carrot cake had won so many ribbons they filled an entire cupboard drawer. Her father was a delivery man, his work kept him away, Lillian wouldn’t say much else except he was always home to pick her up at the end of each day.

On this particular afternoon, the entire classroom of bouncing bunnies had taken an excursion to the nearby riverbed. The autumn rains had yet to arrive and its winding curves of rocks and twigs made it the perfect place to play. Miss Hare had strictly instructed them not to go too far, not to climb too high and certainly not to disrupt her from a chance to rest her head.

Lillian and her friends had found the perfect little nook nearby, a small pool of water surrounded by smooth rocks. They all agreed they were the best shape for skipping but despite their many attempts each floated gently to the bottom after a very loud blonk.

Time was racing by as rock skipping had turned to a game of chasey, Lillian was ‘it’ and she
giggled with excitement as her friends scattered along the grassy banks. She was so narrowly focused on the pursuit that she didn’t notice the branch in her way hiding a rather large dip. With one swift movement, Lillian was falling face-first into the rocky bed beneath her.

It was the commotion of scattering footsteps that first woke Miss Hare, she had not meant to doze off but the day presented itself with the perfect dance of cosy sunshine and a delightful cool breeze. She was quickly into action, making a beeline for the now large group swarming around something on the ground.

The sea of concerned rosy cheeks and prying eyes parted ways as Miss Hare came into focus. Lillian’s face was spotty with tears as her worried headmistress inspected her for bumps and bruises. With relief she was declared acceptably fine, no scratches were found but a small red mark started appearing on her leg.

Things had happened rather quickly, so fast in fact, that Lillian had not inspected her pocketwatch for a very long time. She flicked open the small metal face and was startled to find that they were already late. No amount of persuasion, begging or attempts to walk faster could get past Miss Hare, Lillian’s secret was about to be found out.

Time was a very funny thing, Lillian often thought. It could be measured, predicted even, and yet it was felt more than it was known. In the case today, time felt like it was crawling and speeding up all at once. She could even hear the faint ticking of her worn-down pocket watch as they passed the willow tree at the corner of the schoolyard. In only a few more steps they’d all soon know what she was hiding.

Without a second more, a familiar voice called out to the crowd, Lillian knew instantly her her secret was about to announce itself. A very tall figure was now walking towards them, he wore a tight button-down vest over his round belly, greenish-coloured pants that glimmered in the sunlight and the basket on his hip bounced alongside him as he skipped over to the group.

Like clockwork, Lillian thought, a surprised silence fell over the once buzzing bunnies. Miss Hare was the first to speak through the excitement, she very quickly introduced herself and explained their delay with a short summary of Lillian’s misadventure.

The wide-eyed bunnies now turned their attention to Lillian, who was trying very hard to not be noticed. It was already too late, they knew exactly what was happening, her secret was already out the moment she couldn’t keep track of time.

“That’s the Easter Bunny!” one little voice from the back cut through the silence and with that the group was electrified. There was pushing to the front, some even tried to step on each other’s shoulders to get a better look, Lillian could feel the embarrassment rising in her cheeks.

Miss Hare hopped into action, she ordered everyone to form back into a line, and once again made sure Lillian was okay. Given the unusual circumstances, she was allowed to stay with her father as the rest of the class returned to the schoolhouse. Their little faces passed by with looks of awe, glancing from Lillian to her father’s beaming face, waving as they filed back into the schoolyard.

Lillian had hoped this would never happen again, she dreaded the idea of moving just as she had made friends. More importantly, she had grown to love the slower pace of her new surroundings. She spent the rest of the evening anxious about the next day, no amount of comfort and reassurance from her parents would make it better.

Miss Hare checked the small round clock on the wall above the classroom, this was the first time since her arrival at Woodland Grove that Lillian was late. She peered through the window again, but there was no sign of the little rabbit eagerly bouncing up the stone footpath.

The class was still in a flurry of discussion and excitement from yesterday’s discovery. Lillian’s two friends were whispering to each other as the classroom door opened. Heads turned as the little rosy-cheeked bunny stood before the curious eyes, they soon made their way up to the familiar face of Mrs Easterly and her husband.

Apologies for the tardiness and their unannounced visit were accepted. This felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment to her classmates. The Easter Bunny, here, right in front of their eyes, and he had a daughter who was learning to count alongside them.

Before Miss Hare could quiet the class Mrs Eastlery started talking, her warm voice quietened the room as she went on to explain who they were and why one of the most secretive families had decided to move to their little Woodland Grove.

Mr Easterly held his wife and daughter’s hands as she continued to explain the mayhem they lived through in the large forest borough, that Lillian just wanted a normal life and they took an opportunity to pretend even for a moon cycle or two that they weren’t one of the most famous families around these parts.

Of course, they all laughed at how easily Mr Easterly, was to recognise even without his crowning bow tie, the gold and silk threaded one worn by each bunny in their lineage. Lillian was entirely relieved to see her two friends saved her usual spot and despite some bursting questions about knowing the tooth fairy and if she had an endless supply of chocolate in her house, the rest of the class continued like normal.

Mr and Mrs Easterly confirmed that they added a slight addition to their last names to aid in their disguise, The Easters, as they were actually called, chuckled that perhaps they should have thought on it for a little longer than adding just an ‘ly’.

In no less than one hand around the clock, news had spread around the schoolhouse and reached the surrounding warrens. The Easter Bunny living among them was all anyone could talk about. Lillian’s secret wasn’t shrouded in mystery anymore. Only time would tell what would happen next as she nervously flipped the little pocket watch around in her hand.

As they passed from autumn through winter and the spring bluebells began to bloom. The days went on like normal. There was no flurry of admirers and to Lillia’s relief no royal-like treatment. Their neighbours waved and smiled the same as they had before. They offered to lend a hand to help her father with his new doorframe and still sent over cookies in exchange for her mother’s prized carrot cake.

On this particular afternoon, Lillian had double-checked her great-great-great-great grandfather’s pocket watch, she flipped the little face over to show her classmates the back. They admired the flourished E.B. letters and glanced eagerly at the door. Today’s surprise was one that she couldn’t keep to herself.

For Lillian Rabbit was all done with secrets, at least for this point in time. With an enthusiastic knock at the door, her father arrived with a basket in his hands. It was commonly known that at Woodland Grove Schoolhouse you don’t need to wait once a year for the Easter Bunny to visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *