The photos that are appearing on blogs everywhere have been Photoshopped absurdly (see the one near the end of this post, especially); however, the actual rabbit, prior to its attack of foreshortening, was 22 pounds with eight-inch long ears...a massive rabbit. Their breeder in Germany is now selling them to North Korea, where rabbit breeders want to help the long-eared giants become fruitful and multiply to supplement the North Korean food supply. You can read the story here. NPR quotes Karl Smolinsky, the breeder, as saying:
"During Hitler's time and afterward, I remember how hard it was on everyone. I lived it as a child and wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I hope through the rabbits I can help a little bit, and that Korea might wake up and start caring more for its people than for the bomb."
Certainly this gives pause for thought. It is almost the foundation of a fairy tale or a bit of folklore - where presidents and princes fail, an altruistic and hard-working farmer sets out to appease the evil dictator of a starving land with the gift of a host of giant rabbits to feed the people. No doubt NPR meant it that way, as well.
We tend to think of "folklore" (or, for that matter, fairy tales) as something that either got told a while back, maybe by our grandparents' grandparents or their ancestors, or else as something indigenous to our earth's few remnants of hunter-gatherer peoples. This allows us to ignore the way that in our movie-downloading, iPod generation we are developing folklore and we are being developed by our folklore all the time. We live in uncertain times - even the most sheltered of us feels this. What stories are we telling to make sense of that uncertainty? What folk heroes are we adopting? What tricksters?
P.S. Here is a film clip with both farmer and rabbit; the real rabbit is perhaps less imposing than his Photoshopped cousins. What is more remarkable is the stories and conversation already springing up about him: