Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Name That Rabbit

My rabbit's vet appointment was postponed til Thursday, but I'll announce his name today anyway, just as promised.

Fireworks poised? Marching band at the ready? Can I have a drumroll, please?

My rabbit's name is Hansel. After a week of contemplation, a more fitting name I cannot find.

At the time of my last post, the other two candidate names were Apollo and Sparky. Apollo was considered because lately I have an obsession with ancient Greek names. If my rabbit had been a girl, he would have been named Andromeda, but since he is not, Apollo was the next best choice. A choice, however, that didn't last, since my fluffy little bunny with his liquid brown eyes just couldn't live up to the tough, manly connotations of a name like Apollo.

Sparky made it into the runnings, because for the first couple of days, every time I looked at him, that was the name that popped into my head. However, it never quite sat right, and it stopped popping into my head once I lit on Hansel.

It was shortly after I reluctantly admitted that Apollo wasn't going to cut it that I started actively trying to think of alternate names. Real people names that are slightly less common than Joe and Bob. My philosophy has always been, if you can't have ancient Greek, you might as well take German instead! So Hansel came after brief consideration of Friedrich and just plain Hans.

Originally this name was chosen simply because it was less dog-like than Sparky and more innocent than Apollo, being mainly associated with a child in a fairy tale. However, as I thought more about the name, I realized it worked on several more levels.

Hansel, brother to Gretel, is perhaps best known for demolishing a good portion of a gingerbread house (and we're talking life-size gingerbread house, here, not one you put on your mantel at Christmas) with no other weapon than his teeth. Rabbits are also well known for their teeth--specifically, their penchant for embedding them in anything and everything they can reach. One of the early names I considered for my orally fixated pet was "Boca," the Spanish word for "mouth," but I decided that word was too feminine. Hansel, then, does due credit to this trait without emasculating its named.

Rabbit eating broccoli with a backdrop of kale and lettuce
Hmmm, not as good as gingerbread, but I guess I can make do.
Hansel the fairy tale character's second claim to fame is being the originator of the "breadcrumb trail," which actually failed to get him and his sister home (so it is quite ironic that this phrase is used to denote the trail of links at the top of web pages to help you get back to where you came from). However, before Hansel was reduced to marking his path home with such fleeting markers as food, he used pebbles, which worked without a hitch. Thus Hansel is revealed to be a clever, spunky boy, as my rabbit certainly is (You should see the way he evades my efforts to herd him into his cage when he's out).

But the true genius of this name wasn't revealed until I read this Facebook comment from my father:

I think in consideration of the fate from which you have saved the rabbit, that you should name it Stew!

In case you are a little rusty on your Brothers Grimm, Hansel of the story was imprisoned by a witch, and held in a cage to fatten him up in preparation of cooking him in...what could be loosely interpreted as a stew! And just like my rabbit, Hansel was saved from this fate by a beautiful, genius female—me! OK, in the story, it was his sister's quick thinking that was responsible for his escape, not a series of changes of ownership as in the case of my Hansel, but still there are quite enough similarities to justify his name.

Next step: Teaching him to answer to it!