The princess saw that following the rabbit could be the sort of adventure a happily spoiled princess never has--the sort she thought only happened in stories.
"Lead me to this hole!" she commanded. "I will be the noble rescuer of the animals!"
But she hadn't taken two steps before she called, "Wait! First, fetch me my cloak!" (This is how quickly she forgot she was speaking to a rabbit, and not one of the many servants she commanded.)
"I can't," protested the rabbit. "If one of your trainers sees me, all is lost!"
"Then I'll call for a maid..."
"Princess! No one must see me. I've been here too long already. Come now, or I will have to leave without you."
"Well!" huffed the princess. "In all my life, no one has ever spoken to me like that! I'm not sure I don't prefer you tamed. But I suppose we'd better do as you say. Lead on!"
The rabbit darted into a space between the rose bush and the outer wall, which was no problem for a rabbit, but a tight squeeze for a princess in a fluffy dress. As she edged along the wall, she had to keep her skirt pressed flat against it. After a few minutes of traveling in this way, the rabbit called out that they had reached the hole. He pointed his nose toward a space in the wall with two missing stones. The princess was relieved to find that here the bush cleared enough for her to crawl on all fours. But before her hands touched the dirt, her right hand passed her pocket and she noticed it was empty.
"I've dropped my bell! Go fetch it for me!"
"What do you need a bell for?"
"To call servants, of course!"
"Princess, you don't have servants where we're going. I'll look after you. Leave the bell."
The princess sighed, mainly because of the rabbit's impertinent tone. But she decided to leave the bell behind and crawled through the hole.
The first thing she noticed was an awful smell, as though a lazy servant had forgotten to clean the chamber pot. The second thing was that the rabbit had shifted the missing stones back into place, covering up the hole. The third was that a tiger and three hyenas had surrounded her.
"Good work, rabbit," panted the tiger.