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Tales from Watership Down

by Richard Adams
332 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Lady Meriwen

Enjoyable and entertaining--a worthy sequel to Watership Down.

Plot

Rather than being a self-contained novel, this book is a collection of stories related to Watership Down. Part 1 is comprised of traditional tales, mostly about the rabbit-hero El-ahrairah; part 2 expands on one of El-ahrairah's journeys mentioned in Watership Down; part 3 offers stories of Hazel's warren after the battle of Efrafa.

Morality

All of the rabbits - even their hero, El-ahrairah - seem to feel comfortable with telling lies and using violence when necessary. But they're also loyal to each other and compassionate to the downtrodden. One of the stories deals excellently with the problem of rebellion and disrespect for authority.

Spiritual Content

A doe taps into some kind of psychic energy which she describes as "a stream of knowledge". El-ahrairah confronts a fox using hypnotism transferred to him by a snake. As in Watership Down, the rabbits believe in a sun-god called Frith, who has created the world and is extremely wise, if not omniscient. They do not worship him, but they do pray to him.

Violence

A cat is graphically attacked and killed by several rabbits. A rabbit has a disturbing vision of a giant wound. There's also mention of "ants burrowing into the brains of stoats".

Drug and Alcohol Content

The men in the story smoke "little white sticks" - cigarettes.

Sexual Content

El-ahrairah's favorite doe is stolen, implying he had more than one. A passerby mates with a doe without warning and leaves almost immediately afterward; this could be construed as rape.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None besides the occasional mention of passing hraka (excrement).

Conclusion

Fans of Watership Down will greatly enjoy this book. There's something there for everyone, from comedy to drama to sheer mythology.

"Tell us a story, Dandelion!"

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 13+

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