Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Becoming Real

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "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. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"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 Velveteen Rabbit

image source


Beth said...

ahhhhhhh! i FORGOT about this book. i think it would be even more profound as an adult.

how do you come up with these things all the time?

nadine said...

I want to find my old copy and read it. You have no idea.

I came across the quote in Jane Fonda's autobiography (My Life So Far).

I'm addicted to biographies and memoirs, apparently.

mike said...

it's a great book:
here it is available on-line with the original illustrations.