Dawn Silflay

I rise to taste the dawn and find that love alone will shine today

-Ken Wilber

A solitary rabbit sat in the short grass of the downs, mere yards from the hole from which he had emerged.

The rabbit was young, not even a yearling yet, but even then he believed he knew more about the world than most others.

In his short life, the young buck had known more peril and adventure than many even currently living in the warren.

The rabbit hopped forward a few paces, lowering himself on all for feet and nibbling contentedly at the sweet, new grass jeweled with dew.

Suddenly the buck sat up on his hind legs, ears erect and eyes alert for signs of elil even though very few strayed onto the downs.

"It is me," a familiar voice spoke from behind the rabbit and he turned to see the Chief Rabbit himself approach.

Hazel hopped towards the younger rabbit slowly, his lame leg clearly troubling him.

"I thought I would find you out here, Walnut," the Chief Rabbit commented.

Walnut moved towards Hazel and they touched noses.

"I was enjoying the sunrise, Hazel-rah," Walnut told him.

The older rabbit smiled, "I enjoy to silflay fu Inle´myself but to each his own, no?"

Walnut smiled back at his Chief Rabbit.

"Is there anything you wanted in particular, Hazel-rah?" he asked, rubbing his paws over his nose.

The older rabbit didn't answer for a long moment; instead he stared out at the sun rising red and round on the horizon.

"The others are all gathered in the Honeycomb," the Chief Rabbit told Walnut, "Eager to hear your story."

The young rabbit's ears rose up even higher than before, "Again?"

Hazel nodded but Walnut looked uncertain.

"Why do they not want Dandelion to tell the story? Surely he's a better storyteller than I am?" Walnut asked Hazel, "Besides, I cannot tell the very beginning. I was too young at that time."

The Chief Rabbit's dark eyes crinkled.

"Safflower is there now," he told Walnut, "Waiting for you."

The youngster's body language changed at the sound of his mother's name. His muscles grew less tense and his ears lowered.

Hazel nuzzled Walnut's left ear affectionately.

"Come along," the Chief Rabbit said and led the way back into the warren.

Walnut followed down the familiar, comforting runs into the Honeycomb and he sensed at once the presence of multiple rabbits.

"Walnut," a soft voice spoke and in the darkness he felt Safflower's nose touch his.

"Marli," he murmured, speaking the Lapine word for 'mother'.

"Who is all here?" the young rabbit asked and Safflower spoke again.


Walnut sat back on his hind legs, shocked to find that most of the warren's occupants were crowded around the Honeycomb, barring only the does who were nursing very young kittens.

"Tell the story, Walnut," Threar implored.

"Yes," Dandelion, Watership Down's beloved storyteller, spoke up, "Tell us."

Walnut hesitated.

His mother's warm nose on his drew the words he needed as if by magic.

"It was after the warren's first winter and was moving into its second spring when my adventure began," Walnut started, his voice quiet and nervous as it always was when he started to tell the story.

He turned to Safflower and she continued, speaking of the parts that her son did not know of, only from what she had told him because he had been too young to remember.

"I recall it was a cold day for spring," Safflower began, "There was frost on the grass when I went aboveground to silflay the morning I had my kittens…"

Author's Note:

This is my first Watership Down fanfic so please, be kind.