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One chilly, blustery morning in March, I cannot tell exactly how many springs later, Hazel was dozing and waking in his burrow. He had spent a good deal of time there lately, for he felt the cold and could not seem to smell or run so well as in days gone by. He had been dreaming in a confused way -- something about rain and elder bloom -- when he woke to realize that there was a rabbit lying quietly beside him -- no doubt some young buck who had come to ask his advice. The sentry in the run outside should not really have let him in without asking first. Never mind, thought Hazel. He raised his head and said, "Do you want to talk to me?"
"Yes, that's what I've come for," replied the other. "You know me, don't you?"
"Yes, of course," said Hazel, hoping he would be able to remember his name in a moment. Then he saw that in the darkness of the burrow the stranger's ears were shining with a faint silver light. "Yes, my lord," he said. "Yes, I know you."
"You've been feeling tired," said the stranger, "but I can do something about that. I've come to ask whether you're care to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you'll enjoy it. If you're ready, we might go along now."
[From \_Watership Down\_, by Richard Adams]
The History: Life has been good to Watership Down ever since its founding. The Downs produce good grass, and protect us from our predators. Between our birth rate and immigration from other warrens we've even grown crowded. Hazel, our Chief Rabbit, was going to organize the building of new runs -- he's a wonderful leader and would be sure to work out the best arrangement.
But just this month, so many things went wrong. Fiver's children started having visions, and none of them seemed good. Humans have come near, and that's never welcome news. And there was a lot of snow for this time of year, making it hard to get food. Then Hazel got sick -- and that's the worst of all, because they say he'll die, and already everybody's clamoring about who'll be the next Chief Rabbit. Hopefully, our new Chief Rabbit will be as good as Hazel, and then everything will be fine.
Life has been good to Watership Down. The Downs produce good grass, and protect us from our predators. The original runs started to get a little crowded, and Hazel-rah, our Chief Rabbit, was to organize the building of new ones. He's a wonderful leader, the best we could hope for. But so many things started going wrong.
Fiver's children have had visions, of foxes and murderous men. The winter frosts haven't thawed, so food is scarce. Humans have visited, repeatedly and over several days. Worst of all, Hazel just stopped running. Without an obvious choice, everybody's clamoring over who'll be Chief Rabbit.
|Intercon XIII (1998)|
|♻||Intercon D (2004)|
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