On Being Real: A Childhood Favorite

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day. "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."

"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."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your 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."

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

from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams


  1. I love this story. I just used it at our women's retreat. Thanks for sharing! *;)

  2. YES! I love this... a childhood favorite of mine. It's amazing to me how many stories are full of His story, too.

  3. Also one of my very favorites...I need to pull this one out and read it again...Beautiful reminder. Have a Beautiful day!

  4. This story (especially this very part that you've quoted) always brings tears to my eyes. It's so beautiful and my copy of the book has been read many times. Such a beautiful story.

  5. Ahhh...one of my very favorites. Read over and again, lovingly, to all four of my boys.

    Thanks for sharing it. And for being Real.

  6. I enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This brought on a serious cry...guess I needed it, huh? Thank you!


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