(ORDO NEWS) — In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte, one of history’s greatest generals and military geniuses, suffered his greatest defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.
But eight years before that, he faced another enemy that forced him to retreat in humiliation – an army of stray rabbits!
Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most famous and successful French statesmen and generals of all time. He emerged victorious from the French Revolution and became Napoleon I, Emperor of France.
He ruled from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He led bold expeditions that brought him closer to the goal of conquering Europe.
In 1807, Napoleon had just signed a peace treaty that ended the war between the French Empire.
To celebrate this event, he ordered his chief of staff, Louis-Alexandre Berthier, to organize a dinner and a rabbit hunt.
On the day of lunch, more than 1,000 rabbits were released from cages located at the edge of a grassy field.
Napoleon and his companions were armed and ready to go in pursuit of the rabbits, who were expected to panic and run to freedom. But it didn’t happen like that!
Confused, the rabbits formed a frenzied furry army and headed straight for Napoleon.
He was quickly overcome: the rabbits gathered at his feet, climbed up his legs, gnawed at his gold-embroidered jacket, jumped on his head and shoulders.
Napoleon could not position his gun to fire at them, and his attempts to beat them off with his saddle were in vain.
Eventually, his military men were able to drive enough rabbits away from him with whips and sticks to give Napoleon enough time to retreat to his velvet-seated carriage.
The rabbits followed close behind him, attacking the carriage and continuing their advance. Finally, as the carriage began to pull away, the rabbits dispersed, leaving Napoleon alive to fight another battle.
What made these rabbits go berserk? It turns out that Berthier made a critical mistake.
Instead of collecting wild rabbits that would actually run away, he purchased rabbits from farms, and farmed rabbits know that the arrival of a human means they will soon be fed.
So for them, the sight of the emperor simply meant dinner time!
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