Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
A conversation between Rabbit and the Skin Horse-
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long , long time, not just to play with , but really loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" "Sometimes." For he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen to people who break to easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.".... The rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.