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Saint Vitus is the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and of entertainers in general.
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Rest and Be Thankful
1. It was a cold January
night and the road was slippery and wet. Professor Swift was driving along the
‘Rest and Be Thankful’ on his way home to Glasgow, when he ran into a snow-
storm. He rubbed his eyes, sneezed, skidded off the road and landed in a dark
2. It was then that he
first saw the Sandrabbits, though at the time he wasn’t sure who they were or
what they were doing. Hundreds of rabbits were digging in a quarry, which was
lit up by stars and a bright moon that had punched a hole in the midnight sky.
The professor passed out.
3. A passing farmer, Frank
Finlay, came to his rescue. He pulled Professor
Swift’s car out of the forest, and took him back to his farm in Stachur.
4. The next day, the
farmer’s wife called the doctor who gave Professor Swift a thorough examination.
“Physically you are fine. A weeks rest and you’ll be as good as new,” said the
doctor. “You can stay with us on the farm,” said little Elizabeth, the farmer’s
5. “A week’s break. I can’t
remember when I had such a thing. I’ll have to
make some phone calls,” said the Professor. Still a little shaky, he made some
calls, and went back to bed and slept for the rest of the day.
6. Farmer Finlay, Mammy
Finlay, Grandpa Finlay and Elizabeth Finlay, who was ‘seven and a quarter’,
lived on the farm.
7. The farm was three miles
from the Loch Long, seven miles from Loch
Lomond, and lay in the middle of a mountain valley. They had forty cows, ten
pigs, twenty-four chickens and two cats. The farmhouse had two floors, a
basement, and lots of buildings at the back with a church and a small
restaurant on either side.
8. That night at dinner
Professor Swift asked if anyone had seen odd little
creatures at work in the forest. “What sort of creatures?” said Farmer Finlay.
“This may seem strange, but I’m sure I saw rabbits wearing tartan Wellington
boots, filling bags with some sort of dust. Perhaps it was all a dream!” said
9. “He saw the
Sandrabbits,” cried Elizabeth. Farmer Finlay looked up
in shock. “To my knowledge no-one has seen such creatures,” said Mammy Finlay.
Nothing more was said on the matter. Professor Swift went for a short walk then
went to bed.
10. Not long after dark,
Elizabeth crept downstairs and woke the Professor.
“Come with me and I’ll introduce you to the Sandrabbits. They’re keen to
meet you!” said Elizabeth.
11. She gave the Professor
a torch and led him to the basement of the
farmhouse. “Help me lift this cover,” said Elizabeth. “It takes us to the
tunnels that lead to the forest.”
“Do your parents know about this?” asked the Professor.
“The tunnels have been here for years, but I don’t think they really believe
in the Sandrabbits,” replied Elizabeth.
12. “So they haven’t seen
them?” said the Professor.
“No-one has. Just you and me,” whispered Elizabeth.
“Who are they? And what is it they do exactly?” asked the Professor.
“It’s probably best if they explain it to you themselves. Stay close to me
and put your torch off when we get there,” replied Elizabeth.
13. Elizabeth led the way
to a quarry where hundreds of rabbits were digging
14. As they came out of the
tunnel Dougal, the head rabbit, approached them.
“Hello Elizabeth, how are you?” said Dougal.
“Fine thanks. I’ve brought Professor Swift just like you asked,” replied
“Ah good. Would you like some tea Professor?” asked Dougal.
“No, but I would like to know why you have asked me here?” replied the
15. “Of course, of course,”
“Well Professor, not many people know about our work. We have been
doing the same job for hundreds of years. The rabbits gather sleepy dust,
mix it with a special formula, and sprinkle drops in the eyes of humans
just after they fall asleep,” said Dougal.
16. “Why?” asked the
“To help people get a good sleep,” replied Dougal.
17. “Recently though, our
Bunny-boffins have been carrying out studies with
shocking results. It seems people just aren’t getting enough rest.
Furthermore Sandrabbit quarries are being destroyed. So you see,
Professor, we need human help to continue to help humans, and protect
our way of life,” said Dougal.
18. “Can’t humans put
sleepy dust in their own eyes?” said Professor Swift.
“Most certainly not. Only a few rabbits know the secret formula. Our work
has remained a secret for centuries and, it takes up to three years to train a
dust bunny,” replied Dougal.
“How can I help?” asked the Professor.
19. “Elizabeth tells me
that humans have machines called computers that
speak to people all over the world,” said Dougal.
“He’s talking about the internet. I think he wants a site for the
Sandrabbits,” Elizabeth whispered to the Professor.
20. “This could be a useful
tool to us Sandrabbits. Travelling overseas can be very complicated. As I
understand it, we would be able to contact our relatives all over the world
without actually telling people where we live!” said Dougal.
“Yes. You would have what is known as a virtual worldwide presence,”
said the Professor.
“Eh?” said Dougal and Elizabeth together.
“It’s not important. Just tell me what you want on your site, and I will
set it up for you,” said the Professor.
21. “I’ll get our Bunny
boffins onto it straight away”: said Dougal.
“Will they have any problems using it when it’s up and running?” said the
“I shouldn’t think so. We know lots of children who can use these
machines very well. Come back and see us before you travel to Glasgow
and I’ll have everything ready for you,”said Dougal.
22. Elizabeth and the
Professor returned to the farm. It had been a very strange
few days for Professor Swift. He spent the rest of the week resting and
going on long walks to clear his head. Elizabeth showed him how to milk a
cow and where to gather the eggs from the chickens.
23. On his last night he
made his way into the forest on his own. Dougal was
waiting. He handed the Professor some Sandrabbit information along with
photos of Sandrabbits from all over the world.
24. “Thank you,” said the
“What for?” replied Dougal.
“I’ve seen how hard Sandrabbits work, yet you have shown me just how
important it is to get a good nights rest,” said the Professor.
“That’s what we are here for. Take care and come back and see us one
day,” said Dougal.
“I will,” said the Professor.
25. The next day the
Professor thanked the Finlay family for their kindness
and said goodbye to ‘life on a farm’. Before he left, little Elizabeth gave
him a stuffed toy rabbit with tartan Wellington boots holding a bag of
“Remember to take lots of breaks and come back and visit us soon,” said
“I will Elizabeth. I definitely will”: replied Professor Swift.
By James Gerard