Wabbit hunting

I’ve been trying to think of songs to sing with the Girl Scouts. Honestly I don’t like being a song leader, but I know the kids like it, so it’s a sacrifice I must make, I suppose. Anyway, last night I remembered this song:

Little cabin in the woods
Little man by the window stood
Little rabbit hopping by
Knocking at his door
“Help me! Help me! Help me!” cried
“Before the hunters shoot me dead.”
“Little rabbit, come inside,
Safely to abide.”

You do hand motions for each line, and then repeat it, dropping a line each time so that with the last repetition you ONLY do hand motions, not signing at all. I remember thinking this was great fun.

But – can you sing a song like this with children today? With the hunters and the shooting? In my time it didn’t matter; we’d all watched Elmer Fudd tracking Bugs Bunny with his gun (and we were none the worse for it, I think). Kids these days, though – they see Dora the Explorer “vanquishing” her enemy by repeating “Swiper no swiping!” three times. Maybe my Scouts’ parents wouldn’t want their kids singing about rabbits in danger.

Back in college, I babysat for the kids of one of my professors. The little boy’s favorite animal was the moose, so for his birthday I bought him Dr Seuss’s Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose, a story I loved when I was a kid. But I started reading it to him and his sister, and when we got to the part about the hunters, Emily said very firmly: “We’re not allowed to talk about guns in this house,” and I had to skip some pages and make up a nonsensical ending. When I came back the next day the book was nowhere to be found. I toyed with the idea of apologizing to his parents for my gaffe, but never did. For Christmas, I got him If You Give a Moose a Muffin, which is cute and all, but has nothing on Thidwick.

And that was (almost) 20 years ago. How much more sensitive are parents today?

Still, it seems a shame to jettison the song completely. I’ve tried to come up with some alternate lyrics. Instead of “Before the hunters shoot me dead,” we could sing, “I can’t find a nice warm bed!” or “Before I freeze my little head!” or…well, that’s all I can come up with.

Any ideas?

(I did find a version online that changed the last line to read: “Little rabbit, come inside/Rabbit stew tonight.” Ha! Funny, but equally unusable.)


aimee said...

I used to love that song and its funny because if it were boys, I don't think you would have a problem (or at least I was thinking this was a better song than my kids usually come with). But to be pc, I think you should change the lyrics to something. I can't find a nice warm bed is good. (Rabbit stew is hilarious!) Maybe at the end you could say, "Safe you'll sleep tonight" but now that I wrote it out, it seems a little creepy. Maybe you should change it to a little GIRL and then no more creepiness.

Karen said...

I always loved that song too. How unfortunate that you have to change the lyrics because then you will also have to change the hand motions!

Krista said...

Aimee, see? No matter what you do, there's a problem. Although I think "Safe you'll sleep tonight" is perfect, especially since no 5-year-old is going to know what "abide" means anyway.

We can do some kind of shivery motion for the "I can't find..." line, I guess. This has become altogether too complicated. Maybe I'll just stick with John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt. La la la la la la la...

aimee said...

You are right. A simple, funny song has now become a complicated, not as cute song. Stick to John Jacob and I'll try to think of some more.