The next time the Prince bid the Duchess goodnight, he hid inside the room and waited for the Bishop. He followed the Bishop through the halls and down a long set of spiral stairs into the deepest parts of the palace. He was muttering to himself as he went. The Prince stayed at his heels until he entered a room at the end of the palace dungeons.
The Prince listened at the door. He heard little, but it was the smell that froze his heart. The Prince, a young man but, old in battle, knew that smell. Death. The Prince, being young and strong, broke through the door.
The Bishop turned to The Prince, weeping and cried “I’ve tried everything!”
He said he’d tried poison and drowning, fire and dismemberment. He’d removed its heart, its liver, its stomach, its eyes, and its brain. He boiled it into stews and cooked it into pies, eaten it’s flesh and drank its blood.
The Prince did not know what he was talking about, but he repeated it all to the Duchess as she wept for the pain the Bishop had caused. He told her then that Bishop had screamed “I simply cannot believe it!” then, threw himself into the fire.
He said he tried to save the little blue bunny, but it had been buried beneath the coals and become nothing but ash. As soon as he said this, The Duchess dashed out of the room and down into the dungeons. As The Prince reached the room, he found The Duchess sitting on the floor surrounded by years of horror holding an ashy little blue bunny, singing softly
“A gift for me
A death reprieved
Until my faith
Has been relieved”
The Duchess ordered the room to be sealed up and all of its contents burned and buried. The Prince and Duchess were married and she never spent another night away from the little blue bunny until one day she died old and wise, still believing in magic.
And, when the prince–who was now King–found her, he saw the little blue bunny buried beneath her bed sheets. He took it and brought it through the castle to the room of his young granddaughter. He woke the young duchess up even though it was very late and told her the story of the Little Blue Bunny and told her that in order to keep the bunny alive it must sleep in a special bed.
He asked if she believed him and she said she did. So, he taught her a little song.
And though the little duchess loved the little blue and sang a little song to it each day, she knew, it was only a bunny, and only a story.
And so, the little blue bunny grew into a fat and gray old rabbit and, as all things do, died.