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Watership Down

Richard Adams

Chapters 25–26

Chapters 23–24

Chapters 25–26, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

Chapter 25: The Raid

The next day, Fiver finds out about Hazel's adventure to the farm, and Fiver is angry because he believes that Holly will bring back plenty of does and that Hazel is simply acting like a show-off. Hazel disagrees with his brother, and later on he and Pipkin tell the others about the visit. Bigwig is excited to go, and he and Hazel convince Blackberry to come with them to figure out how to open the rabbit hutch. Dandelion, Speedwell, and Hawkbit are also to go along. Fiver warns Hazel that he foresees danger for him, so Hazel promises he will not go into the farmyard himself.

They leave the next evening. At the end of the barn, the rabbits stumble upon a cat (different from the one Hazel and Pipkin met earlier). Dandelion scratches the cat only a moment before Bigwig hits it, rolls over it, and kicks it several times, sending the cat running. Blackberry figures out a way to rip the leather hinge, and they free the other rabbits. But the rabbits in the hutch are not certain whether to follow the others or not. Two of them, Boxwood and Clover, try to move quickly, but the other two, Haystack and Laurel, hang back. Soon the other cat arrives and the dog begins barking. The rabbits run off, leaving Haystack and Laurel behind.

They get to Hazel, who tells them to continue on. Hazel goes back with Dandelion to get the other two. Suddenly a car pulls up, blinding the rabbits with light. The men grab Laurel, and the other rabbits run off. While the men search, the rabbits get stuck in a ditch. Hazel runs out to distract the men so the others can get away, and he is shot. He crawls up the drain and hides.

The other rabbits gather together and wait for Hazel, and then Dandelion and Bigwig go down to look for him. They see the blood and the men's footsteps, and they go back to tell the others. The rabbits make the march back to the downs to meet Fiver, who already knows about Hazel's ordeal from a vision. Later that night, Holly comes back with Buckthorn, Strawberry, and Silver. Only Silver is unhurt. The rabbits have no does with them.

Chapter 26: Fiver Beyond

Fiver has a dream in which he learns that Hazel is still alive. Fiver asks Blackberry if he knows where Hazel was shot, and he tells Blackberry to take him to that spot. Even though Blackberry is sure that Hazel must be dead, Fiver convinces him to go. They return to the farm, Fiver rushing as fast as he can and telling Blackberry to hurry up. Fiver moves through the ditch and follows the trail of blood to the drain. He looks in the drain and sees that Hazel is inside, and that he is still alive.

Analysis

Just when everything seem to be running smoothly for the rabbits, the situation quickly takes a turn for the worse. Hazel is alright until he forgets Fiver's warning and rushes in to save the other two rabbits. It is an act of courage on Hazel's part, but also foolish, and he is punished for it quite severely. The rabbits might have made it out with two of the hutch rabbits and no one else hurt, but Hazel wants to get everyone out—a desire that leads him to take an unnecessary risk. Hazel always thinks for the benefit of the group, and, although foolhardy, he does indeed go back with Dandelion in an attempt to save the lives of the other two hutch rabbits. He earlier told them that he would get them out, and in this section he does indeed intend to do so. Hazel remains calm during the entire encounter, and probably the only thing that prevents him from getting all the hutch rabbits back is the men's gun—something he had not counted on. Hazel does succeed in allowing Dandelion and Haystack to get away safely, but it is doubtful that he would have taken the same risk had he known that the men had a gun.

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