Harey Tales, is an occasional post capturing the views of Hares with respect to those deranged Malthusians claiming unceasing love for them.

"Flopsy and the Flea"

One evening Flopsy was sitting quietly in his parlor, contemplating his upcoming dinner of roasted parsnips, when suddenly he felt a sharp pinch behind his rear leg.

“Ouch!” he exclaimed.

As his discomfort subsided, he settled back in his favorite chair, but then suffered another pinch.  And then another, and then another, this one sharper than the others.

“Blast it,” he cried out.  He hopped off the chair and began to scratch furiously at the painful spot.  He scratched, he bit, and scratched some more.

“Stop!”  “Stop!”  “Oh, please stop!”—he heard a very faint voice, almost imperceptible, barely a murmur.

“What?  What’s this?  Is there some creature down there?”

“It is I, the flea,” came a thin and plaintive response.

“Why you blasted pest.  Why are you biting me?  Get off me at once.”

“Please,” said the flea; “please stop attacking me.  I mean you no harm.  I am only looking for a safe place to rest, somewhere I can live out what limited days remain of my troubled life.”

“What do you mean, ‘no harm’?  You are biting and stinging me and probably eating my blood.  Get off!”

“Wait!, Wait!” wailed the flea.  “You must first hear my story.  I have had a most miserable life and am truly to be pitied.  If you hear my tale of woe I am sure you will show mercy.”

Flopsy was irritated and angry, but he was also curious.  Being of a charitable nature, he was also moved by the pathos of the flea’s words. 

“Proceed,” he said, “but be quick about it.”

“Mine,” the flea began, “has been a life of abject misfortune.  I am now old and weary, but my trials began when I was but a young flea-ette.  I was born to a noble mother, but she was killed during a murderous war upon our species, which the humans call ‘de-fleaing.’  Thus I was left an orphan at a very tender age.

“I was jostled around from creature to creature, never knowing where I was being taken.  Many of my hosts were unwashed, smelly and possessed of nasty dispositions.  I was exposed to the elements and almost froze on several occasions.  One of my hosts was run over by a car, and I was almost crushed to death.”

“Egad,” Flopsy interjected, involuntarily.

“Yes, exactly,” responded the flea.  “After many years of these trials, I finally a found myself in a warm comfortable place.  I hoped that my troubles were past.  My new host was a most agreeable creature who I later learned was called ‘May-jor’.   We lived in a big white house, and he was very clean and a most agreeable partner.

“Everything was fine for a time, but then an ancient human, named Joe, began attacking May-jor.  First, not looking where he was going, he tripped over him, and this seemed to unleash some suppressed hostility.  From that day forward, Joe began hitting him, kicking him and mistreating him in the most cruel way.”

“Tsk! Tsk!” said Flopsy.

“But that is not the worst of it!  Poor May-jor tried to hide, to avoid Joe, but a day did not go by without a kick or a slap.  Finally, May-jor lost his mind and began to bite some of Joe’s servants in revenge.  They took him away after that.”

Flopsy interrupted, “That is quite a story, Mr. Flea, but I don’t think. . .”

“Wait,” said the flea, “that is not all.  The worst is yet to come.”

“When they dragged poor May-jor away, I managed to hop off and I soon found a new companion, a creature named Ko-mander.  He was every bit as agreeable as May-jor.  But soon the same pattern of kicks and blows began again.  Then, one night while Ko-mander was sleeping, I heard a noise and saw Joe approaching.  He was stark naked, and he stood for a moment glaring down—glaring down!—at the innocent Ko-mander.  Suddenly, he yelled ‘I’ll get you Corn Pop!’ and he pounced on my sleeping companion.  He mauled him, hit him and twisted his limbs.  The terrified Ko-mander didn’t know what to do.  Then Joe, still naked, screamed ‘At last,—Corn Pop, you popcorn you, you bad dude, I’m going to finish you off!’ and I was horrified to witness that he began to sniff Ko-mander’s fur all over and then started biting him, sinking his teeth in.”

“My Goodness!” exclaimed Flopsy.

“You said it!  Poor Ko-mander suffered a complete mental breakdown, and soon he began biting everyone in sight.  So they took him away too.  After that, I was for a time attached to a villain named Hut-her, but I will not bother you with that story, except to say that on one occasion I almost died of a drug overdose after eating a little of his blood.  Since then I have wandered across the country, alone and despondent, until I arrived at your door.”

Flopsy eyed the flea—although he could not actually see him—and he had to admit to himself that he was deeply moved by the tragic details of the flea’s life.  Chewing his lower lip a little bit, he at last asked, “So, Mr. Flea, what is it exactly that you propose?”

“All, I want is peace,” the flea proclaimed.  “It is true I have had many companions, but I insist that I am not a fickle flea.  I only want my flea-dom, a place to live out my days in peace.”

Flopsy, who was truly possessed of a big heart and compassion toward his fellow creatures, considered, scratched his ear and finally said, “OK, flea, I will let you stay, but there are ground rules.  No biting except when I am in deep sleep, and then only in moderate amounts, so as not to awaken me.  Never when I am entertaining guests.  And no bothering me when I am working or eating.”

“Great!” the flea squeaked, “So what do you say, Pals?”

Flopsy breathed deeply and muttered “Pals.”

“Well, flea, I feel I am somewhat sleepy, and I believe I will take a nap.  I guess you can do your stuff, but you must wait until I am asleep.”  Taking silence as assent, he laid his head down. . .  but before he drifted off, he remembered the old saying, ‘We can not always choose our friends, but it is most important that we always recognize our enemies.’”

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