Watership Down

The grand finale of my week of children’s books was to tackle this beast, run along the tunnels in its warren, nibble at its delicious bits in the sunshine, bravely fight off marauders. What a delight! I stayed up into the wee hours finishing the tale of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the rest of the rabbits who escape from their home warren to venture toward safer ground. Fiver’s mystical visions send them on their way, and the normally skittish rabbits become adept at overland travel, outrunning terrors like dogs, foxes, man along the way. Sprinkled with stories told of the olden days while they huddle together in their great hall, they create several adventure stories of their own as they scrape and pull themselves into a new warren. Safe, they find that they’ve neglected to bring any does along, thus won’t be able to maintain the population. (I would like to see this book re-written from a female rabbit’s perspective– could be very entertaining and instructive) Hazel befriends a mouse, a bird, anything that could help them. A small party ventures to a nearby warren to ask for a party of does to return with them. This is where they encounter hell, or Efrafa. The rabbits are only allowed topside twice a day, in shifts, and must loll about underground most of the time. Harsh discipline is imposed. The party escapes from Efrafa and straggles home, to find that Hazel’s exploits to a neighboring farm have netted two tame does. A larger excursion to Efrafa for does is planned, with secret plans to infiltrate the elite police squad and have the bird help them flee. They slip into a boat and float away from danger, but the Efrafa elite track them down and attack the home warren. Fiver races to free the dog on the farm nearby, which then gobbles up the leader, General Woundwort. And happily ever after, etc.