Note: This is a re-post from Charlotte’s blog.

You know that you’ve read a book too many times when… things like this start to bother you.

Charlotte has recently rediscovered The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and now we’ve been reading it several times a day for the past week or so. So I’ve been staring at the book a lot lately. Which is my only excuse here.

On page 2, old Mrs. Rabbit declares that she’s going out, and sends Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter off into the fields or down the lane, with a warning not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden. So far, so good. But look again: as Mrs. Rabbit preps her children for their day, there’s someone spying on the Rabbit family.


Who is this rabbit? There are only two other rabbit characters even mentioned in the book: Mr. Rabbit, who was apparently was put into a pie by Mr. McGregor at some undetermined past date, and Peter’s cousin Benjamin Bunny, who seems to have had some kind of a bad run-in with a cat but lived to tell the tale.

So who is this? Benjamin Bunny? We have no reason to think that he even lives nearby. Mr. Rabbit? Why would he fake his own empiement? More ominously, some unknown third party? It’s a mystery wrapped in fur.

Follow-up: My colleague S suggests that the mystery rabbit is Mrs. Rabbit’s lover, and that her trip to the baker’s is just a ruse. They are, after all, rabbits. S is far more cynical than I had previously given her credit for.