Free Study Guide for Watership Down by Richard Adams|
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WATERSHIP DOWN FREE BOOKNOTES
Holly and Bluebell recover very quickly. Accept for his torn ear, Holly’s problems were primarily exhaustion and terror. Hazel further discusses his idea of trying to make friends with other small animals. Silver doesn’t see what good a mouse could possibly be to them; Blackberry thinks the theory may be good, but doubts there will be much opportunity to put it to practice. Bluebell, however, knows a story when El-ahrairah did something similar once and it worked. After sundown or ni-frith (moon-rise) the rabbits gather on the bank to enjoy an evening of feeding under brilliant moonlight. Hawkbit reports that he and Speedwell had been talking to another mouse who told them that there was a place where the grass was even better just on the other side of the wood. They feed f or awhile, then return to the wood to listen to Bluebell’s story.
It was shortly after El-ahrairah and his band had been permitted to move out of the marshes. Prince Rainbow came to check on him one day, bringing with him a strange rabbit. Rainbow explained that the rabbit was named Hufsa and that he would be sleeping in the burrow with El-ahrairah. Rabscuttle who usually shared El-ahrairah’s burrow was ordered to sleep elsewhere because the two of them planned too many tricks when they were together. In the following days, Elahrairah has numerous close calls and soon suspects that the new rabbit is reporting on him somehow. He sets a trap for Hufsa and his suspicions are confirmed.
The next time Prince Rainbow checks on El-ahrairah, he comments on the trickster rabbit’s changed ways. He deliberately temps El-ahrairah by showing him a fresh field of carrots and telling him that he would be extremely angry if any creature dreamed of stealing his carrots. El-ahrairah comes up with a scheme for not only stealing the carrots, but also for getting rid of Hufsa. He talks a hedgehog and a pheasant into doing things neither of those animals ever do. The hedgehog is supposed to sit on a stump and sing for his slugs. The pheasant agrees to swim under the pretext of growing longer tail feathers. Rabscuttle is supposed to die his tail red and his ears green and carry a white man-stick (cigarette) and then jump down a well when El-ahrairah and Hufsa approach.
Each of the animals performs as agreed. El-ahrairah explains what they are
doing and adds the comment "as everyone knows." They steal all
the carrots and hide them in a hole. When they are out of sight Rabscuttle
moves the carrots to a different hole. Prince Rainbow appears and accuses
El-ahrairah of stealing the carrots but agrees to a trial with a "jury"
that will consist of animals that are natural enemies to rabbits. They
are two badgers, two foxes, two stoats, an owl and a cat. Two dogs are
also placed to guard El-ahrairah. Hufsa is called upon to testify, but
makes a fool of himself when he talks about passing a singing hedgehog,
a swimming pheasant and a rabbit with a red tail and green ears who jumped
into a well. Desperately, Hufsa tells them to never mind the testimony
and just look in the hole, but of course the carrots are not there. El-ahrairah
feigns innocence and demands that Prince Rainbow take the "mad"
rabbit out of their midst.
The story foreshadows that the rabbits will eventually not only communicate with other animals, but also that those animals will be talked into doing things out of the ordinary, and some of Hazel’s enemies will end up looking foolish because no one will believe their reports. The illustration and example of El-ahrairah suggests possibilities for the rabbits; taking advantage of such opportunities will make Hazel and company appear to have supernatural abilities.
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Ruff, Karen SC. "TheBestNotes on Watership Down".
. 09 May 2017