# Rabbits on the Roof — Who’s Counting? #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a rabbit on the roof. Or many rabbits. Why are they there? Explain the unexpected, go into any genre. Go where the prompt leads!

As I mentioned in my comment on Charli’s post, all I could think about was the Fibonacci Rabbit Problem.

I wrote about the Fibonacci number sequence previously in a post called Counting on Daisies.

In the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and so on.

As the sequence progresses, the numbers get exponentially larger, not unlike the numbers succumbing to the dreaded virus that engulfing our world at the moment.

The number sequence occurs naturally in many situations; for example, in bee populations, in spirals of snail shells, in leaves on plants and petals on flowers.

But who was Fibonacci, why does he have a number sequence named after him, and what is the problem with rabbits?

Fibonacci was the Italian mathematician who introduced the Arabic-Hindu system of numbers and arithmetic (the numbers we use) to the Western World in the 12th Century.

Fibonacci wasn’t his real name. He was really Leonardo Bonacci. His famous book Liber Abaci was handwritten, long before the era of the printing press (let alone computers and indie publishing).  A couple of centuries later, some students reading his tome, misread what he had written (‘filius Bonacci’ meaning ‘son of Bonacci’) as Fibonacci and that’s how he’s still known today.

Fibonacci (Leonardo Bonacci) wrote about the number sequence that now bears his name in his book Liber Abaci. He explained the sequence using an example often referred to as The Rabbit Problem. The problem involves rabbits breeding profusely. While the situation described isn’t necessarily accurate, it is entertaining and helps us get the picture.

A beautiful picture book by Emily Gravett, also named The Rabbit Problem, is a fun way of introducing the concept to children. Set on Mr Fibonacci’s farm, the rabbits multiply each month for a year according to the number sequence. However, each month, new problems for the rabbits arise.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Fibonacci’s numbers, I highly recommend this video by mathemagician Arthur Benjamin.

But now for my story in response to Charli’s challenge. Perhaps it has an underlying message suited to these troubling times. Maybe you’ll see it too. If not, I hope it’s just a fun story that you enjoy.

What Rabbits?

“Wassup?” He knew something was when she stopped rocking.

“Nothin’.” She continued rocking.

“Musta bin somethin’.”

“Nah. Thought I saw a rabbit on that roof, is all.”

“I ain’t never seen no rabbit on a roof.”

“You ain’t never seen nothin’.”

“What?”

“Thought there was two rabbits on that there roof.”

“That’s crazy.”

The rabbits multiplied, but she never stopped rockin’ and she never said nothin’.

One day, he stopped.

“Shhh. I hear somethun.”

“What?”

“Sounds like …”

A multitude of rabbits exploded from the roof, landing all around, even in their laps.

“What?”

“Nothin.”

They kept on rockin’.

## 45 thoughts on “Rabbits on the Roof — Who’s Counting? #flashfiction”

1. Hugh W. Roberts

I see that underlying message clearly in your piece of flash fiction, Norah. At least we can usually see the rabbits, and they don’t often threaten the human race, although I’ve seen a few scary rabbits in TV shows like the ‘Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales from the Darkside.’
I was never any good at maths. Always far better at English, even though I’m dyslexic.
Stay safe.

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1. Norah Post author

I don’t think I’d like to see rabbits on a rampage, though I seem to have a vague idea of that happening somewhere.
Glad to know you were always good at English, Hugh. I think your imagination must rank fairly high too. 🙂

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2. Charli Mills

I’ve never heard of a mathmagician before, Norah! Thanks for using Fibonnaci’s real name, too. So much to learn from you! The Rabbit Problem looks like a cute book for kids. Seems there was a rabbit problem on the roof in your story. I like the image of these two characters rocking on their porch. Great dialectal dialog, too! You might need to introduce them to Kid and Pal.

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1. Norah Post author

One of my son’s Childcraft annuals (40 or so years ago) was called ‘Mathemagic’, but Arthur Benjamin is the only one I’ve heard call himself a mathemagician; and he really deserves the label. He is amazing.
I think there was a big rabbit problem on the roof, but there might have been a bigger one opposite. 🙂
Thanks for your lovely comment about the dialectal dialog. Maybe they have been eavesdropping on Kid and Pal. 😂

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3. CarolCooks2

I am definitely not a Maths nerd and never will be…I can count, multiply and do percentages in my head which is all I need…Love your story and yes I saw the reference to today’s troubled times very good….Stay safe and well, Norah 🙂 x

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4. petespringerauthor

You nailed this challenge, Norah. I loved your story. I also like the reference to Fibonacci and the coronavirus. That’s an excellent way to illustrate the effect. I’m kind of a math nerd, so I knew about Fibonacci already.

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1. Norah Post author

Thanks, Pete. The Fibonacci sequence is fun, isn’t it. I was amazed when I first learned about it. I wouldn’t say I am a maths nerd, but I’m passionate about ensuring children learn to love it rather than be turned off it (like I was at school).

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1. Norah Post author

Thank you, Debby. I can’t think of rabbits or Fibonacci without the other since reading Emily Gravett’s beautiful book. It might be a picture book, but if you get a chance, read it. It’s very clever.

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1. Norah Post author

Thanks, Jacqui. I agree. We need to show children the beauty and fun in mathematics. I don’t know why schools have to make it so dry. Let’s enjoy it. It’s a tool to help us find out information. Pages of algorithms to complete doesn’t do anything positive for anybody.

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5. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

Beautifully articulated, Norah, both in your intro and your excellent flash. So many are still rocking while the virus breeds. Didn’t know that about Fibonacci – another lesson for our times about how misinformation/misunderstandings are so easily spread around. I love that there’s a children’s book on this so the little tiddlers will know more about exponential growth than their parents.

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1. Norah Post author

Thank you for your lovely comment, Anne. Yeah, too many just keep on rocking like nothing’s happening. Crazy. It is interesting about Fibonacci being from misinformation, isn’t it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it does. Truth, that is. Stay well.

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6. thecontentedcrafter

Great story Norah – we can keep on rockin’ and not seein’ nor sayin’ nothin’ about those pesky rabbits for quite a while, but eventually, gosh durn it, the roof will cave in… 🙂
A fitting fable for our times.

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7. robbiesinspiration

A lovely story with food for thought, Norah. Crazy times at the moment, but that is the nature of the world. Many times in history, people have lived through difficult times like this. It will end eventually, as all things do and we will come out changed on the other side. We need this change as people have become very selfish and “me” orientated in recent times.

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1. Norah Post author

You’re right, Robbie. There have been bad times that people have come through. I hope that is true of this as well, as I’m sure it will be. Whether we change or not remains to be seen. I’m still observing a lot of selfishness as many decide they’ll go about having fun as normal as that’s what they like to do. Sad. It concerns me. Why make it more difficult for everyone else?

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8. calmkate

yes the denial is strong … very well written Norah!

I used to live in Deniliquin aka Deni where multiplying rabbits were their town logo … often wondered if it meant we had nothing else to do but breed like rabbits 😉

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