And beyond this region the heaven of the beasts stretched on to infinity.
As for Rabbit, he had prudently taken flight at sight of the heavenly pack of hounds. While Francis had remained near him he had trusted in Francis. But now, even though he was in the abode of the Blessed, his distrust which was as natural to him as to the suspicious peasant gained the upper hand again. And since he did not yet feel himself entirely at home in this Paradise, tasting neither perfect security, nor the thrill of familiar danger against which he could battle, Long-Ear became bewildered.
Accordingly he strayed hither and thither, ill at ease, not knowing where he was, nor finding his way. He sought in vain for that from which he fled and that which fled from him. But what was the reason for this? Was not Heaven happiness? Was there any stillness that could be more still? In what other resting-place could Cleft-Lip have dreamed a sleep more undisturbed than on these beds of wool that the breeze spread beneath the flower-covered bushes of the stars?
But he did not sleep here, because he missed his constant uneasiness and other things. Crouching in the ditches of Heaven he no longer had the feeling beneath the whiteness of his short tail of the chilly dampness penetrating through and through him. The mosquitoes, who had withdrawn to their own Paradise of shallow pools, no longer filled his always open eyelids with the sharp burning sensation of summer. He longed regretfully for this fever. His heart no longer beat as powerfully as it had beaten when on knolls in the flame-colored heath a shot scattered the earth like rain about him. Under the smooth caress of the lawn-like grass hair grew again on the callous parts of his paws where it had been so sparse. And he began to deplore the over-abundance of heaven. He was like the gardener who, having become king, was forced to put on sandals of purple, and longed regretfully for his wooden shoes heavy with clay and with poverty.
* * * * *
And Francis in his Paradise heard of Rabbit’s troubles and of his bewilderment. And the heart of Francis was grieved that one of his old companions was not happy. From that moment the streets of the celestial hamlet where he dwelled seemed less peaceful to him, the shadows of the evening less soft, less white the breath of the lilies, less hallowed the gleams of the carpenter’s plane within the sheds, less bright the singing pitchers whose water radiated like fresh sheaves and fell cooling upon the flesh of the angels seated on the curb-stones of the wells.
Therefore Francis set out on his way to find God, and He received him in His Garden at the close of day. This garden of God was the most humble but also the most beautiful. No one knew whence came the miracle of its beauty. Perhaps because there was nothing in it but love. Over the walls which the ages had filled with chinks dark lilacs spread. The stones were joyous to support the smiling mosses whose golden mouths were drinking at the shadowy heart of the violets.