Once upon a time, not so very long ago or far away, lived a White Rabbit who was nervous and some Hares who were mad - not mad as Hatters sometimes are, but mad as in angry. They were mad because the Rabbit and his sizable family had everything, while the Hares had litte.

That was very odd, for the wonderful land they shared was a 24-carrot dream come true. Wide waters on both sides kept Rabbits and Hares alike safe from Weasels and Wildcats and the fertile earth could yield plenty of tasty treats for both types of bunnies.

The Rabbits ruled the land, and prospered. Naturally, they multiplied. Generations worked their teeth to the bones carving out the good life, and their burrows spread. Rabbit transit systems linked even the farthest burrow to the center of things, "things" being a series of thriving, growing gardens. Even the Beavers far across the waters were eager to praise the Rabbit's industry.

The Hares, on the other hand, had it considerably rougher. They tried to grow gardens, of course, but the Rabbits owned the best land. And the Hares lacked decent homes because without plenty of lettuce they had little energy to burrow. Their coats were in tatters; indeed, the Hare shirt became a symbol of suffering.

But though the Hares were still out in the cold, some of the Rabbits began to worry more about guarding their own little patches than about keeping all the gardens growing. "I'm all right, Jackrabbit," they faddishly chattered to one another, "so now let's stop building. Time to protect what we have." They wrinkled their noses in refined distaste at the Hares.

"Oh, too messy," these elitist Rabbits said of sprawling growth that nibbled at the wilderness. "Ick, too crowded," they sniffed at older areas in the center of the warren. "Too noisy, too dusty, too busy," they sighed at activity everywhere. They began to preach the most unrabbitlike notion of zero growth.

Were these Rabbits just putting on Hares? The Hares, for sure, were bitter. "No growth?" they asked. "Stagnation's for mosquitoes. What about us out in the fields and our kids still in their salad days. We need gardens a chance to grow."

Some older Rabbits who weren't bother to mask how they felt about Hares. "They're used to it. It's their nature to live that way. Tsk, tsk," they said righteously.

Some younger Rabbits who thought they were with it complimented the Hares in a left-handed way. "Hey, you're really together," they said to the Hares. "Here we are, uptight about limited resources and you're already doing without almost everything. That's really far out!"

As time passed, the issue was splitting Hares into two camps. Some appealed to good sense. "It's all very well for Rabbits to talk about aesthetics and scarcities and making do," they said, "but they've already got it made. We don't." Others followed the path of the Protest March Hare and shouted slogans, voiced threats, and dug up an occassional Rabbit garden.

And the White Rabbit grew more and more nervous. "It's late, it's late," he thought, glancing anxiously at his pocketwatch. "Here we can't simply sit around drinking camomile tea and hoping for things to get better. The Hares can't wait forever. Oh, my fur and whiskers, what shall we do?"

"Wise up," said a voice, followed by the appearance of a grin, and then the entire Cheshire Cat. "No growth' makes no sense," he purred. "If folks don't have enough in the first place, less isn't more; it's nonsense." Already fading he continued without paws: "There's room enough for plenty of new gardens, and there ought to be enough work in planting them to keep everybody hopping." And then the Cat disappeared entirely.

The White Rabbit realized how silly his folks had been. Rabbits and Hares could work together to make the gardens bigger and better for both while still protecting their habitat. And that was all it took for them to live happily ever after.

Moral: To give everybody a share of the pie, the pie has to keep growing so it's bigenough to go around. And that's no fable.