Tales from Watership Down

Tales from Watership Down

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Here is the enchanting sequel to the beloved classic Watership Down, which introduced millions of readers to an extraordinary world of rabbits—including Fiver, Hazel, Bigwig, Dandelion, and the legendary hero El-ahrairah. Tales From Watership Down returns to these unforgettable characters, and also presents new heroes as they struggle to survive the cruelties of nature and the shortsighted selfishness of humankind, embark on new adventures, and recount traditional stories of rabbit mythology, charming us once again with imagination, heart, and wonder. A spellbinding book of courage and survival, these tales are an exciting invitation to come home to a beloved world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307950192
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/11/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 117,471
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Richard Adams is the author of many bestselling novels, including Watership Down (1974), Shardik (1976), The Plague Dogs (1978), The Girl in a Swing (1980), Maia (1985), and Traveller (1988), as well as several works of nonfiction, including his autobiographical The Day Gone By (1991). The winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award for Children’s Literature, he currently lives in Hampshire, England.

Read an Excerpt

1. The Sense of Smell
 

 
“…noses have they, but they smell not.”
—Psalm 115
 
 
“Who dares wins.”
—Motto of the special air service
 
 
 
 
“Tell us a story, Dandelion!”
 
It was a fine May evening of the spring following the defeat of General Woundwort and the Efrafans on Watership Down. Hazel and several of his veterans—those who had been with him ever since leaving Sandalford—were lying on the warm turf, full of grass and comfortably relaxed. Nearby, Kehaar was pecking among the low tussocks, not so much feeding as using up the day’s remains of his continual, relentless energy.
 
The rabbits had been chatting together, recalling some of their grand adventures of the previous year: how they had left the Sandleford warren under fiver’s warning of imminent disaster; how they had first come to Watership Down and dug their new warren, only to realize that there was not a single doe among them. Hazel had recalled the ill-judged raid on Nuthanger Farm, in which he had nearly lost his life. This had reminded several of them of their journey to the great river, and Bigwig had told yet again of the time he had spent in Efrafa as a supposed officer of General Woundwort; and how he had persuaded Hyzenthlay to form the group of does who had broken out in the thunderstorm. Blackberry had tried but could not explain his trick with the boat, which had enabled them to escape down the river. Bigwig, however, had refused to tell of his underground fight with General Woundwort, insisting that he wanted only to forget it; so instead, Dandelion had recounted how the Nuthanger dog, let loose by Hazel, had pursued him and Blackberry into the midst of the Efrafans gathered on the Down. He had hardly finished, when there arose the well-worn cry: “Tell us a story, Dandelion! Tell us a story!”
 
Dandelion did not respond immediately, seemingly reflecting as he nibbled the grass and took a few hops to a sunnier patch before settling himself again. At length he replied, “I think I’ll tell you a new story this evening; one that you’ve never heard before. It’s about one of the greatest of all adventurers of El-ahrairah.”
 
He paused, sitting up and rubbing his front paws over his nose. No one hurried the master storyteller, who appeared, by taking him time, to be rather relishing his standing among the group. A light breeze stirred the grass, and a lark, ending its song, dropped down near them, paused for a time and then began another ascent.
 
There was a time (said Dandelion), long ago, when rabbits had no sense of smell. They lived as they do now, but to have no sense of smell was a terrible disadvantage. Half the pleasure of a summer morning was lost to them, and they couldn’t pick out their food in the grass until they actually bit into it. Worst ofall, they couldn’t smell their enemies coming, and this meant that many rabbits fell victim to stoats and foxes.
 
Now, El-ahrairah perceived that although his rabbits had no sense of smell, their enemies and other creatures—even the birds—possessed it, and he determined that he would seek out that extra sense and win it for his people, whatever the cost. He began to seek advice everywhere he could, asking where the sense of smell was to be found. But no one knew, until at last he asked a very od, wise rabbit in his warren, named Heartsease.
 
“I can only recall that when I was young, “ said Heartsease, “our warren gave shelter to a wounded swallow—one who had traveled far and wide. He pitied us because we had no sense of smell, and he told us that the way to the sense of smell lies through a land of perpetual darkness, where it is guarded, he said, by a band of fierce and dangerous creatures known as the Ilips, who live in a cave. More than this he did not know.”
 
El-ahrairah thanked Heartsea and, after deliberating for a long time, when to see Prince Rainbow. He told him that he meant to go to that land and asked him for his advice.
 
“You had much better not attempt it, El-ahrairah,” said Prince Rainbow. “How do you think you are going to find your way through a land of perpetual darkness to a place you don’t know? Even I have never been there, and what’s more, I don’t intend ever to do so. You’ll only be throwing your life away.”
 
“It’s for my people,” replied El-ahrairah. “I’m not prepared to see them hunted down day after day for want of a sense of smell. Is there no advice you can give me?”
 
“Only this,” said Prince Rainbow. “Don’t tell anyone that you meet on your journey why you are going. There are some very strange creatures in that country, and if it were to become known that you had no sense of smell. It might well be the worse for you. Invent some purpose. Wait—I’ll give you this astral collar to wear around your neck. It was a gift to me from Lord Frith. It may just possibly help you.”
 
El-ahrairah thanked Prince Rainbow, and the next day he set out. When at length he came to the border of the land of perpetual darkness, he found that it began with twilight, which deepened until all around was dark. He could not tell which wa to go, and what was worse, he could form no sense of direction, so that for all he knew, he might be going in circles. He could hear other creatures moving in the dark around him, and as far as he could tell, they seemed to know what they were doing. But were they friendly. And would it be safe to talk to any of them? At last, in sheer desperation, he sat down in the dark and waited in silence until he heard come creature moving nearby. Then he said, “I’m lost and confused. Can you help me?”
 
He heard the creature stop, and after a few moments it replied in a strange but just understandable tongue. “Why are you lost? Where have you come from and where do you want to go?”
 
“I’ve come from a land where they have daylight,” answered El-ahrairah, “and I’m lost because I can’t see and I’m not used to this darkness.”
 
“But can’t you smell your way? We all can.”
 
El-ahrairah was about to answer that he had no sense of smell, but then he remembered Prince Rainbow’s warning. So he said, “I’m afraid the smells are all different here. They only confuse me.”
 
“So you’ve no idea what sort of creature I am, for instance?”
 
“Not the least. But you don’t seem fierce, that’s one blessing.”
 
El-ahrairah heard the creature sit down. After a little, it said, “I’m a glanbrin. Are there any where you come from?”
 
“No. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of a glanbrin. I’m a rabbit.”
 
I’ve never heard of a rabbit. Let me sniff you over.”
 
El-ahrairah kept as still as he could while the creature, which was furry and seemed to be about the same size as himself, sniffed him over carefully from head to foot. At last it said, “Well, you seem to be very much the same sort of animal as I am.  You’re not a beast of pretty and you obviously have a very strong sense of hearing. What do you eat?”
 
“Grass.”
 
“There isn’t any here. Grass won’t grow in the dark. We eat roots. But I think you and I are very much alike. Don’t you want to have a sniff too?”
 
El-ahrairah pretended to sniff all over the glanbrin. In doing so, he found that it had no eyes; that is, what might have been its eyes were hard, small land sunken, almost lost in its head. But for all that, he thought, “Well, if this isn’t some sort of rabbit, then I’m a badger.” He said, “I don’t believe there’s anything much to choose between us, except that I…” He was about to say “can’t smell” but checked himself and finished, “that I’m utterly confused and lost in this darkness.”

Customer Reviews

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Tales from Watership Down 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
StefanYates More than 1 year ago
Tales from Watership Down is a collection of legends and short stories that flesh out the history of the rabbits of Watership Down and continue their story after the events of the original novel. I personally had never read any of Richard Adams works prior to this (I have seen the animated film adaptation of Watership Down however, so was fairly familiar with the events and plot.) I was very impressed with how quickly I was drawn into Adams' world. His writing style is very easy to slip into and I found this collection of tales extremely difficult to put down. Mr. Adams has created a social world amongst his rabbits that is as totally believable and feels as fleshed out as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, albeit Adams world only exists in the one novel and this compilation of short stories. I don't know why I've never read any of his works before as they have always been favorites of my step-father and accessible to me throughout my lifetime, but now that I have sampled his writing, I'm more than eager to delve into more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and the first one! I think its funny how the bunnies have thier own religion. My favorite characters are El-aharia(i probably mispelled that), bigwig, and blackberry and pimpkin. But its sooo sad how hazel dies at the end of the first book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not quite as good as the first book but still great. fans of watership down will almost certainly love it.(be sure to read 'speedwell's story'!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aside from one or two bits, I must cofess that I was extremely disappointed in this book. I felt that in an attempt to add on to an already complete story, Richard Adams got to modern and ceased to remain true to his original characters. It does however include the complete story of 'The Fox And The Water' that Bluebell tells the to rest of the rabbits when Efrafa is attacking the warren. So it's probably worth at least one read if you are a real Watership fan.
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the original, but alright as a sequel.
magst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Worthwhile Read, but Much Different than Original Novel
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was worse than I remembered it, actually. Having recently re-read Watership Down, I was really struck by how lightweight and inconsequential the stories in this book seemed. Even most of the tales of El-ahrairah lacked the mythic quality that Adams was so adept at evoking in the original book. The one that bothered me in particular was the first story in the book, which tells of how El-ahrairah gained the sense of smell for his people. What really annoyed me about it was that none of the other animals in the book were described with their Lapine names or really looked at from the viewpoint of a rabbit. When El-ahrairah journeys to the land of the King of Yesterday, he meets many extinct animals -- nearly all of which are called by their human names, including the Oregon Bison. Talk about yanking the reader out of the story! I absolutely could not believe that a warren of rabbits would be sitting around listening to Dandelion tell a story that talked about Oregon Bison and jaguars. SO aggravating. I gave this three stars for the nostalgia factor, but it's really more of a two-star book.
AngelaG86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The rabbits from the original book are laying around, telling the stories found in this book.
SuBu0820 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful little compilation of stories from the cute little bunnies from Watership Down. It was wonderful to hear more adventures of the bunnies and their own legends and folklore.
StefanY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tales from Watership Down is a collection of legends and short stories that flesh out the history of the rabbits of Watership Down and continue their story after the events of the original novel. I personally had never read any of Richard Adams works prior to this (I have seen the animated film adaptation of Watership Down however, so was fairly familiar with the events and plot.) I was very impressed with how quickly I was drawn into Adams' world. His writing style is very easy to slip into and I found this collection of tales extremely difficult to put down. Mr. Adams has created a social world amongst his rabbits that is as totally believable and feels as fleshed out as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, albeit Adams world only exists in the one novel and this compilation of short stories. I don't know why I've never read any of his works before as they have always been favorites of my step-father and accessible to me throughout my lifetime, but now that I have sampled his writing, I'm more than eager to delve into more.
comfypants on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A completely unnecessary book. It's pleasant, and a fast read, but has no focus. The first two thirds are stories from rabbit folklore. I liked those bits in Watership Down, but here, where they're standing on their own instead of telling me about the world of the characters I'm reading about, they just seem kind of pointless. The final third of the book is even worse. It's equally disconnected, without the excuse of actually being unrelated stories. The book just sort of rambles on aimlessly, then stops.
angie_ranck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
not as good as Watership Down but it's still a very enjoyable read.
Badgerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost depressing as a sequal as it barely lives up to it's original.
badgenome on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not really a sequel per se, which may be what disappoints so many readers, but Watership Down was already such a complete book that I think we're probably better served by this less conventional follow-up. The first half of the book sees the rabbits partaking in their favorite pastime of story-telling- most of these stories, of course, star the trickster El-ahrairah; the latter half tells some of the further adventures of the warren during their first year on the Down. While lacking the focus and epic scope of the original, it packs much of the same charm and serves as a welcome chance to revisit a world to which I have a deep, possibly unhealthy attachment.
banshea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of short stories based on the world of Watership Down. It didn't manage to hold my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some deatils shold show up in the first but don't
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful and thrilling book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His name is El-arairah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love rabbits and watership down, so i think that the book is great!!! It is sometimes a little boring, but i think that this is an awesome book becauz the bunnies have their own belif, just like us. This book is my third fav. BOOK. Children in third grade might not like it ( and im saying MIGHT). This book was totaly exsiteing for me, and at night i did not want to stop reading it!! Like i said, it was an awesome book and i loved it, but it was boring in some parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the people talking about reading it to thr children, this is a book mostly for adults. Kids might not want to get tjis read to them because theyre just kids! I read ths book in just two days in fourth grde and understood it perfectly. So stop complaining about how its a horrible read for children. It is the best book ever and I would suggest it to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. At times it was slightly dullish, it was well wrote. I liked part 2 the best because it contunes the first book with a new tale. So pleade read the whole book.
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