Leelo Tungal. “Julius the Bunny’s Computer”

Reading sample

It took a fair amount of time, but one fine day, his long-expected victory arrived! A swarm of countless little predators filled the tiger cage, their long tails jerking back and forth and their fangs glinting in their wide jaws. Trumpets blew, the screen rippled, and big red letters appeared.

“Hooray!” Julius cried out. “At last, I won! Dad, what’s this say?”

“Hold on, let me get my glasses!” the bunny’s father said in a rather gravelly voice.

“Glasses?” Julius asked wide-eyed. “Since when do you wear glasses?”

“Oh, the optometrist recommended them even before I retired!” the bunny-dad replied as he shuffled over to the computer.

“Retired?! When did you retire?” Julius couldn’t believe his ears. “Your mother and I are quite elderly bunnies now, you know,” Julius’s father said. “Luckily, we’re still in good shape – Mom even went to the pensioners’ exercise club today!”

“Julia! Juhan! Are you hearing all this weird stuff Dad is saying?” Julius called out. However, both his brother and sister had vanished.

“Where is everybody?” he asked.

“Oh, Julia has been living abroad for a long time already – she married a Finnish skier-bunny,” Julius’s dad told him.

“Juhan became a famous cabbage breeder. He and his wife Angora live right nearby. All their five kids are fantastic little rabbits! Every time they come to visit, the kids have learned some new song or other . . . Have you really never noticed them here before?”

Julius didn’t reply. He glumly eyed the letters on the screen in front of him. Looking even gloomier, he peered at the mirror next to the computer table – staring back at him was a scrawny, red-eyed bunny with droopy whiskers. It couldn’t be true! That limp-eared reflection in the mirror was him, the clever bunny-boy Julius!

Translated by Adam Cullen