In the mythical land of Trigiorria there is the legend of The Spirit Festival of the Rabbits.
At the end of the month of Octobré, when the veil between the worlds of the spirit and the real would thin, those who had lost family during the previous year would make a journey to the Spirit Woods. The recently departed would inhabit this forest during the year, awaiting the veil to be thin enough to cross over and thereby give their loved ones one last chance to say goodbye.
The family would sit and camp outside of the woods, sometimes as long as a week, awaiting for a messenger to arrive. That messenger - a white rabbit. As it approached, the family would gather and sit, patiently and quietly. The rabbit would find a spot near the family and sit down, regarding them with its ruby eyes and large ears turned towards them. At that point, the family would tell the rabbit the name of their recently deceased and give a final message to their loved one. Upon finishing, the family would offer the rabbit a token of their thanks, usually in the form of some sweet greens such as the tops of carrots or radishes. The rabbit would stand on its hind legs, taking the offering and, at the same time, folding its ears back, thereby trapping the family's message within them.
Turning around, the rabbit would sprint back into the forest, carrying the message for the spirit. Their ruby eyes able to see the other worldly spirits and their twitching noses able to find the scent of the family even upon the ghosts. Once they found the family member, they'd open their ears once again, imparting the whispers of the message still resounding within them and allow the family member to pass over with their family's love.
However, not all ghosts within the Spirit Woods are benevolent. As the noises that come from the forest are often eerie and vicious, it is the reason the families remain outside of the woods and uses the messengers. On a few occasions, dark shadows were seen lumbering forth from the tree line, but they never made it far for nipping at their heels were the guardians - the black rabbits of the forest. Whereas the inky claws of the spirits could rake furrows into the ground, they would simply meld into the rabbit's own obsidian fur. Wherever the black rabbits touched these creatures, there would be nothing but emptiness left behind. And when dozens of the guardians attacked a shadow, it dissolves so quickly that many people weren't sure they saw a shadow at all - only the frolicking of the rabbits was left behind.
Today, many families keep such rabbits in their homes as family members themselves. In fact, adopting one after the passing of their loved ones is seen as a blessing upon the house. When a white rabbit would stand on its hind legs and stare towards nothing, it is often thought that the animal is welcoming a friendly spirit into the house. The black rabbit would keep the family safe from any spirits that were not welcomed.
[Mark Mensch is a published author and volunteer at SaveABunny rabbit rescue - www.saveabunny.org]