Friday, 6 January 2012

Run Rabbit Run - Sepia Saturday

 The song Run Rabbit Run written for the show “The Little Dog Laughed” and originally sung by Flanagan and Allen was very popular during WWII especially after they changed the lyrics to ‘Run Adolf, Run Adolf, Run, Run, Run.

The lyrics were a dig at the German Luftwaffe whose first raid on Britain had been on flying boats at Sullom Voe in Scotland. Supposedly, only two rabbits were killed by the bombs, although they may have actually come from a butcher’s shop.

As today is Friday perhaps I should remind you of the words:

On the farm, every Friday
On the farm, it's rabbit pie day.
So, every Friday that ever comes along,
I get up early and sing this little song
Run rabbit - run rabbit - Run! Run! Run!

Run rabbit - run rabbit - Run! Run! Run!
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Goes the farmer's gun.
Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run.

Run rabbit - run rabbit - Run! Run! Run!
Don't give the farmer his fun! Fun! Fun!
He'll get by
Without his rabbit pie
So run rabbit - run rabbit - Run! Run! Run!

However these rabbits in Australia obviously didn’t run fast enough.

The Rabbiter - ex The Powerhouse Museum- Tyrell Collection
(ex flickr)

I wonder why the Australians decided to call their national rugby union team ‘The Rabbits’ in 1907.

In cricket tail-enders not likely to score runs are also called rabbits. Still on a sporting theme my golf club used to have a Rabbits section for golfers with handicaps 18 and above.

Sticking with Australia I found an idyllic scene,
Rabbits around a waterhole at the myxomatosis trial enclosure on Warbang Island 1938
 National Archives of Australia

Myxomatosis was the disease introduced by man to try and contain the numbers of rabbits. It was a highly infectious and caused by a virus that leads to swelling of the mucous membranes and the formation of tumours leading to blindness and death. I can vouch for the horrific nature of the symptoms as during the 1950s, as a holiday job, I worked on cleaning out a stretch of the River Guash for a fishing syndicate. We spent our lunch breaks putting dozens a day out of their misery.
1950s 'portrait'
Prior to myxomatosis rabbits had been part of our regular meals, especially during WWII when those caught by our dogs supplemented the meat ration.
Polychronis Lembesis (1848-1913) - Child with Rabbits
 (Oil on canvas - National Gallery of Greece)

Rabbits appear in art, many films and literature; the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit stories and in a favourite of mine, Watership Down by Richard Adams. In American popular culture there’s Brer Rabbit and Bugs Bunny that have fascinated us for years. Everyone knows who it is when you hear, “What’s up Doc?”
Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Br'er Tarrypin, and some dream women from Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings: The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation by Joel Chandler Harris. Illustrations by Frederick S Church and James H Moser

The "Encyclopedia of Superstitions" by E. and M.A. Radford, edited and revised by Christina Hole, Barnes and Noble Books, 1996. First published in 1948 has a lot to say about rabbits, "In some parts of Lancashire and the adjacent counties, it is unwise to shoot a black rabbit. This is because they were once believed to be ancestral spirits returning in that form. In Somerset, white rabbits are said to be witches. That anyone really believes this now is improbable; nevertheless, white rabbits are not popular as children's pets, and they are usually left severely alone, and are not shot. A luck-bringing custom found all over Great Britain is to say 'Rabbits' or 'White Rabbits' once or three times on the first day of the month. It must be said early in the morning, before any other word has been uttered, otherwise the charm loses its force. In some districts it is considered necessary to say 'Hares' or 'Black Rabbits' when going to bed on the night before, as well as 'Rabbits' or White Rabbits' in the morning. If, however, the speaker becomes muddled and says 'Black Rabbits' on rising, bad luck will follow. The looked-for result of all this is variously given as general good luck during the ensuing four weeks, or the receipt of a gift within a few days."

Many people believe that carrying a rabbit’s foot in your pocket will bring you good luck. Because of the rabbit's ability to reproduce, the rabbit's foot also became a symbol of fertility. Now we find that rabbits are often used as a symbol of fertility and they have long been associated with spring and Easter as the Easter Bunny. Additionally they have become Playboy symbols.
Playboy Bunnies
 Attribution :  © Glenn Francis, - CC-BY-SA 3.0

After that I have probably rabbited on too long. All I can suggest now is that you visit others at Sepia saturday


Karen S. said...

Oh Bob you are up to your funny tricks again, silly rabbit! What a wide and enjoyable ride this was, so very, extremely sad about the poor bunnies at should learn to leave well enough alone if you ask me..... This was such a treat! Even the last happy bunnies!

Little Nell said...

Wonderful Bob! A thoroughly enjoyable rabbit-themed post. You managed to give us a good balance of serious and thought-provoking, along with humour and a wee bit of naughtiness! The last picture made me think of Jessica Rabbit in the film 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ All probably surgically enhanced of course, which is a bit of a sore point (or two) at the moment.

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness ~ (heehee) You have really RUN with this theme -- certainly to my benefit, anyway. Gosh, but I've learned so much here today. Glad I stopped by (from Sepia Saturday)!

Postcardy said...

I never realized there were so many things associated with rabbits. I mainly associate them with children's stories and Easter.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I learned a lot reading here, and had some smiles too. I had not known about myxomatosis before. But I suppose rabbits with their expertise in multiplication had to be contained. We have had some show up around our back yard now that our dens of fox have disappeared for the last two years. And I loved the white rabbit sketch...the Run, run Adolph was a new song to me too.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Indeed an entertaining post today. I remember when my dad did hunt back in the 40's when he would use rubber gloves and taught us the proper way to clean them so as not to contract Rabbit Fever, he called it. I never in my life ever cleaned a rabbit. I have eaten it however and enjoy it.
Great post.

Kristin said...

so many dead rabbits today! The plan to get rid of rabbits sounds diabolical. I guess importing foxes or wolves would not have worked out either though.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I've just been reading about the rabbits in Australia, and how there were originally only 24 of them, released to provide sport. What a disaster unravelled!

Anonymous said...

I learned lots of interesting things about rabbits from your post. I had a rabbit's foot keyring as a child, and had been thinking about it (in a slightly disgusted way) in the last couple of days. I guess I was a superstitious child - fascinating that there are so many superstitions around rabbits. I have heard the ones about hares, but there were new to me :-) Jo

Chris Overstreet said...

I imagine that, with the speed that wild rabbits helped to decimate colonial Australia, that nothing was considered faster.

Howard said...

Great post. Myxomatosis really was a stupid thing to do.

DW96 said...

Another riveting read,Bob. Didn't know myxamitosis was manmade.

Liz Stratton said...

What an amazing rabbit themed post. I'm glad I skirted the theme as I can't imagine finding anything more interesting to say. Thanks!

Nancy said...

You've written a compendium of rabbit lore and fact. Very interesting. I feel sorry for the rabbits purposefully infected with the virus. That must have been a hard job that summer to put them out of their misery (or at least it would have been for me). Thanks for the interesting post.

Tattered and Lost said...

Once was unfortunate enough to stay at a Playboy hotel in New Jersey for several unbearable days. Dreadful place with horrid food, tacky decor, and stupid women walking around in those outfits at all hours. It was hard to take them serious. They were as tacky as the rest of the place.

Wendy said...

I always thought rabbits were cute until I saw that photo of them around a watering hole. Eew -- kinda creepy -- imagining a plague of rabbits.

Alan Burnett said...

By now, Bob, I am getting used to your splendid thematic tours and I look forward to them each week. The only down-side to your post this week is you introducing that tune into my mind : and now it won't go away.


Watership Downs,
another favorite of mine!!

You mentioned rabbits and Australia, and a movie comes to mind:
The Rabbit Fence,
which had quite another connotation...
Cool post!!
Especially at the end...

Sharkbytes said...

Well, I had no idea that song was anything other than a children's tune! Visiting from Jean's Musings

Mike Brubaker said...

Another splendid riff on a theme. It happens that I am reading a history of Australia, "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes. Importing rabbits is just another of that continent's many bad ideas.