"I just don't agree with your method of education!" Angelica exclaimed suddenly, throwing her book down. Savio stopped admiring his shiny teeth in a mirror to glance over at Angelica in surprise. Yvonne hardly moved.
"Mm-hmm?" was all Yvonne said, if you can call it that.
"How does reading and studying do me any good if there aren't any tests?" asked the exasperated Angelica. Savio's jaw dropped. The newspaper in Yvonne's paws slipped to the ground. There was a long, awkward pause.
"Tests!" bellowed Yvonne. "Tests!" She continued to repeat the word several times.
Then Angelica said, "What? What's the problem with tests?"
Savio whined and hid under the sofa.
"What do you mean by tests?" asked Yvonne.
"You know, answer questions and get a score and stuff to see how much you know," said Angelica.
"Ridiculous!" exclaimed Yvonne. Angelica gave her a funny look, but she went on, "You came here to learn to be wise, didn't you? Being wise isn't the same as having your head stuffed full of facts. I don't intend for you to learn facts. I intend for you to learn to learn and live."
"I didn't see how reading teaches you to live," said Angelica. She paused. "Unless you read a book telling you how to breathe..."
There was a loud SMACK! as Yvonne slapped herself in the face and then groaned.
"To live there's gotta be a life," said Yvonne. "I'm giving you a life..."
But Angelica interrupted her. "Why can't you just make me sit in a room at a desk while you lecture me?"
"No!" yelled Yvonne. "The LIFE! That isn't! It just... no!"
Savio crawled out from the sofa. "I think you should tell a story to explain," said Savio, who didn't actually believe that telling a story would explain anything, but he just wanted to hear a story. It would beat Yvonne yelling like an old kook, at any rate.
"Yes!" said Yvonne. "Good! I've got just the one in my head already..."
"There was a little rabbit named Horace. He lived on a small farm where his family had lived for several generations. When he was young, he heard from a rabbit professor about an ancient language which was the predecessor to that which they spoke in those days. Horace decided that he wanted to learn this ancient language, so the professor agreed to teach him.
Horace did very well in his studies of the ancient language. When some friends of his from the city came and asked him why he did so well, he said, 'It really just makes sense!' And he was right. After all, he lived on a farm and did chores and raised food and did all the sorts of things that were spoken about in that ancient language he was learning, because when that language was the common tongue, those were the sorts of things that rabbits speaking it did. It only made sense that he, speaking its modern descendant and doing things that its speakers would have done, would be so easily inclined to learn it.
There was another young rabbit who learned about this ancient dead language. Her name was Matilda. Matilda lived in a big city in a neighboring country. Her parents were very wealthy and wanted all their children to have a good education. So they decided that Matilda would learn this ancient language.
But Matilda struggled to learn it. 'It really just doesn't make any sense!' she would whine. She lived far away from the country and, even when her teacher translated a writing for her, she did not understand what they were talking about. Matilda had never even seen a tree before! When the ancient writers spoke of 'tree', she did not know what they meant. She suddenly decided she didn't want to learn that language. What good would it do her, anyway? With how little she understood of it it would never get her a good job.
So Matilda grew up and studied to become a nurse, but she could never get a job and instead she had to go into plumbing. In the meantime, Horace also went into plumbing, but he was a very happy plumber, because he could speak an ancient language."
There was a pause. Angelica opened her mouth to speak, and Yvonne knew from the blank look on her face that she was going to ask a question, so Yvonne spoke first. "Just trust me, okay, young'un? Sit down and read your Dante. Perhaps you'll understand one day."
"Just don't say the word 'test'," Savio whispered to her.
"Now," said Yvonne, "I have to go make sure that my Philosophy Bots aren't taking over the world. Philosophers can do that, you know."
"You have robots!?" asked Angelica, but Yvonne was already gone.
"Does that surprise you?" asked Savio. "Because then you should meet the velociraptors."