by Richard Adams
Watership Down Chapters 39-41 Summary
- Welcome to Part IV, called "Hazel-rah," where "rah" mean "leader" or "boss."
- This short chapter begins with a quotation from an American folk song about boatmen working on the Ohio River. Again, this song will fit better if you substitute the word "rabbit," as in "boat-rabbits working on the Ohio River."
- Unfortunately, these boat-rabbits don't really understand the river. Luckily, they have Kehaar with them to help explain things like boats and rivers and bridges
- Eventually, the boat stops by a bridge. The rabbits take a short swim (ech) and reach dry land.
The Way Back
- This chapter begins with a quote from a Walter de la Mare poem about a wolf at the door. But everything's cool now and we don't have to worry about wolves, right?
- The way home to Watership Down isn't a picnic (though a rabbit picnic would be totes adorbs).
- In fact, on the way back, a fox grabs one of the does. So, after all that work, they have one less doe. But that's as bad as it's going to get, right?
- No, in fact, it gets worse: they run into Captain Campion who is on patrol looking for them. Blackavar suggests killing all the Efrafans, but Hazel is tired of rabbits hurting each other.
- Which makes sense, but is still kind of unfortunate since Campion follows them home and now knows where they live.
The Story of Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog
- Here's a quote from Psalm 59 about not being nice to evil people, who are like dogs in some way. Which is like a big neon warning sign: this chapter contains some anti-dog propaganda.
- Watership Down is pretty peaceful right now, with some good hopes for the future. There are sixteen male rabbits and ten female rabbits and some cubs on the way.
- So, on a lazy summer day, Dandelion tells a story he's never told before about El-ahrairah called, well, the title of the chapter.
- This story is about how El-ahrairah tricked a dog named Rowsby Woof.
- Rowsby's owner has a nice garden (even though it's winter), so El-ahrairah pretends to be the Fairy Wogdog, a messenger from the "great dog spirit of the East, Queen Dripslobber" (50).
- El-ahrairah tricks Rowsby into going out to wait for the Queen. While he's waiting, El-ahrairah and his friend Rabscuttle break into the house and eat some nice, warm vegetables.
- But then the rabbits get trapped in the house when the owner and Rowsby Woof come home. But El-ahrairah comes up with another trick: he convinces Rowsby Woof to bark like mad in order to drive away a curse.
- And while Rowsby is barking and running around, the rabbits escape. But what's best about this story—or worst, maybe?—is that Rowsby Woof feels that he acted like a hero by saving his master from the curse.
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