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More to rabbits than meets the eye: Watership Down
I was very sorry to hear this author passed away six days ago (he was 96 years young). Watership Down was for me, one of my most favourite of all childhood reads. I think I must have it at least three times as a kid (miles better than Lord of the Rings!)
For those who aren't familiar with this book, first published in 1972, it sold tens of millions of copies and become one of the best selling children’s books of all time. On car journeys with his children, Adams started by telling them stories about a group of young rabbits escaping from their doomed warren. The book was later made into a cartoon in 1978 and then a year later, the film’s theme song Bright Eyes, sung by Art Garfunkel became a hit, topping the UK charts for six weeks.
While Adams insisted that there was nothing political about his story, the rabbits – like human beings – are shaped into a community by the power of the stories they tell each other. And these stories are the bearers of our moral values.
The Cowslip rabbit warren can be seen as a warning. After discovering that the warren was not interested in sharing stories, one of the rabbits got caught in a farmer’s snare. Choking and bleeding, none of the rabbits in the Cowslip warren offered to help as they had become a loose collection of individuals, concerned only with themselves, but without a shared story that might bind them to each other. ()