This Velveteen Rabbit mug is a design initially created for 20 oz tumblers. I adapted it for coffee mugs.
A young boy’s parents give a stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen for Christmas. The boy forgets the velveteen rabbit for a time, because he is distracted by other presents. The other presents are modern and mechanical. In the style of all modern toys, they look down on the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit, and make fun of him. But the Skin Horse is wise and old. The boy’s uncle previously owned him. The Skin Horse tells the rabbit about toys being made Real by love of children: “Real isn’t how you are made… 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”. The rabbit is blown away by this thought. His chances of becoming real himself, he figures, are next to nothing.
One night, the boy’s nanny gives the rabbit to the boy to sleep with, in place of a lost toy. The rabbit becomes the boy’s favorite toy, enjoying picnics with him in the spring, and the boy regards the rabbit as Real. Time passes and the rabbit becomes older and shabbier but remains happy. One summer, he meets some real rabbits. When they see that he cannot hop like they do — just as the modern toys had done — they look down on him. “He’s not real,” they say.
The boy becomes terribly sick. He has scarlet fever. The rabbit stays by his side as he recovers. The doctor says that the boy should go to the seaside. While he is gone, his room must be totally disinfected, and everything — all his books and toys, and even the velveteen rabbit — must be burnt. The rabbit is stuffed into a sack. He’s left in the garden overnight. He spends the night alone, sad, and thinking on his life with his boy. The velveteen rabbit cries. And, although he is a mere toy, a real tear drops onto the ground. A marvelous flower appears. A fairy steps out of the flower. She comforts the velveteen rabbit. She is the Nursery Magic Fairy. The fairy tells the rabbit that he has become real, through the love that the boy has for him. So she will take him away, and “turn [him] into Real” to everyone.
The fairy takes the rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and kisses the velveteen rabbit. The velveteen rabbit changes into a real rabbit and joins the other rabbits in the forest.
The following spring the rabbit goes to his old home, to look at the boy. The boy sees him, and is surprised to recognize him as his old velveteen rabbit. He is happy that he has become real, and can enjoy being out in the wild.
Believe it or not, Mr. Chafowitz, whose day job is running his own law practice, first heard about the Velveteen Rabbit while at the Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming. Lawyers went there to study the techniques of psychodrama, under the guidance of Gerry Spence, and his group of teachers, “to learn to become real.” The emphasis was on personal development, more than law.
The velveteen rabbit was a role model. When Mr. Chafowitz graduated from the initial three-week program, he bought a copy of the book from the TLC bookstore. He asked everyone to sign it, as we once did with old high school yearbooks.
To this day, the velveteen rabbit is a reminder of those times, but also of the need to “be real.”