A Book a Day – Day 11

Watership Down A Novel - Richard Adams


There have been many, many books over the years that have had me sniffling and blinking back tears. Anne of Green Gables has me sobbing every time I read Chapter 37, and The Railway Children still makes me cry happy tears. In fact when we did a similar challenge last year I chose The Railway Children for the book that made me cry.




But my choice today is Watership Down by Richard Adams. A story about a band of rabbits trying to find a safe place to live after their warren is destroyed.

I was about nine years old when I read it, and it seemed such a grown up book to me. There were no pictures and it was over 400 pages long. This was a proper book, and the rabbits weren’t cutesy Beatrix Potter bunnies either. General Woundwort scared the crap out of me.


I loved the calm and clever Hazel who was the rabbits' leader. There was also fey Fiver, whose vision of the burrow's destruction prompted the move to find a new home. And not forgetting my favourite rabbit, Bigwig. Brave and fearless, I secretly wished he was in charge. 


They do eventually reach somewhere safe, and are able to thrive in their new home. And then a few years later while dozing in his burrow, the elderly Hazel gets a mysterious visitor...

“It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
"You needn't worry about them," said his companion. "They'll be all right—and thousands like them. If you'll come along, I'll show you what I mean."”

Oh heck! I cried and cried.

(show spoiler)