Disclaimer: The Watership Down characters were created by Richard Adams. I don't own them and I'm not making any money on this story.

The rabbits were assembled in the Great Burrow of what is commonly known as Cowslip's Warren. The gathering consisted of about three dozen bucks and does, all of whom were chattering eagerly. It was storytime, and they were awaiting the appearance of their favorite storyteller, Silverweed. A great cheer arose as he appeared. Silverweed, no longer the nervous youngster who had spoken before Hazel and his friends the year before, but a mature buck reaching early middle age. He was also the new appointed leader of the warren, since the recent passing of Cowslip.
Silverweed raised his paws to silence the crowd. " My fellow rabbits! We are gathered here today for a very special story. The first telling of this particular story, which pays tribute to our very unique lifestyle. I have called it- The Children of Prince Rainbow."
"Woohoo!" the rabbits cheered again, then quickly fell silent in anticipation.

"Some say that Prince Rainbow was a rabbit. Others say that he was a man. This storyteller believes that Prince Rainbow had the power to become any and all of Frith's creatures. He could fly like a bird, if he wished, or he could change into a fox and hunt the children of El-A-Hrairah. And he sometimes took the form of a rabbit, to spy on El-A-Hrairah and his kin. One day in his rabbit form Prince Rainbow chose a mate, a beautiful, golden doe named Sunrise. She produced for Prince Rainbow a litter of three sons. They were named Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig."
The crowd in the great burrow began booing when they heard these names. Silverweed raised his paws to calm them down, then continued.
"Yes, these were the three rabbit-children of Prince Rainbow. The Prince supervised their upbringing closely, and made sure they knew that they lived to serve Prince Rainbow and to keep their fellow rabbits under his control. When they were grown he would send them out on patrols to different warrens, to look for signs of wrongdoing.
"Now on one of these patrols, the three sons found a warren that was very unusual. For in this warren a friendship had formed between their leader, Cowslip, and a nearby farmer. This man was kind and generous, and loved rabbits. Whenever he had extra crops that he could not sell, he would give them to the rabbits of Cowslip's warren. All that he asked in return was for the rabbits to stay out of his garden, and to prevent any hlessil from stealing from his garden. For a long time the rabbits and man lived in peace and harmony.
"But when the sons of Prince Rainbow came upon this warren they were deeply dismayed. 'This cannot be allowed,' Hazel said, turning to his brothers. 'Man is a very powerful creature. A friendship between rabbits and man could cause the whole world to be overrun by rabbits. It would be the end for all other species.'
"'I agree,' said Fiver. 'It's not natural for rabbits to live this way. A rabbit should fear for his life every day. That is part of being a rabbit. This friendship must be stopped at all costs.'
'Yes, but how?' said Bigwig, munching on a turnip the man had brought.
'We must somehow make the man angry with these rabbits,' said Hazel.
'We'll do it after Fu Inle, when the other rabbits are asleep,' said Fiver.
'Must we do it so soon? These turnips are quite excellent,' said Bigwig with his mouth full.
"But it was decided, and at Fu Inle the three went out to do their mischief. They went into the man's garden and dug deep furrows through his field. They tore up his crops and took bites out of every ripe vegetable the man had. Then they went over to the man's hrududu and passed hraka all over it. When the hrududu was completely covered they went back to their guest burrow and waited for morning.
"The man woke up early and took a deep breath as he stepped outside. 'Ah, 'tis another fine morning,' he said to himself. But when he saw his garden his jaw dropped. 'Aaah! My vegetables! They're all ruined!' he cried out. Then he saw his new truck in the driveway, which was completely covered with rabbit droppings. 'Aaah! My new truck!' The man was bewildered. Why would his rabbit friends do this to him? He walked over to the warren in search of an explanation.
"Hazel saw the man coming, and hid in the bushes as Cowslip came out. The farmer told Cowslip about what happened, and Cowslip was equally puzzled by what happened to his garden and hrududu. 'Some hlessil, perhaps, but none of my rabbits would ever do this to you. You are a great friend to all of us.'
'I believe you, Cowslip. But I'm afraid I'll have to protect my garden better. I'm going to put up snares around the perimeter of my garden, to keep out unwanted visitors. Please let your people know. I don't want any of you to get killed.'
'I will,' said Cowslip. But Hazel heard the exchange and ran back to the warren well ahead of Cowslip. He went into the burrow of his new friend Strawberry and his doe Nildro-hain.
'Flayrah!' Hazel cried out, stamping his foot.
'There's always Flayrah, Hazel,' said Strawberry.
'Not like this,' answered Hazel. 'The man has invited us to a feast in his garden. We'd better hurry if we want to get the best stuff.'
'That doesn't sound like something the man would say. He's always told us to stay out of his garden.'
'Let's go over there and ask the farmer if it's okay. Surely there's no harm in that,' said Nildro-hain. So the two went over to the man's farm. They saw the farmer kneeling to the ground, driving something into the dirt with a hammer. Nildro-hain ran towards him excitedly but was caught in the snare that the man had just set. Strawberry frantically tried to gnaw through the wire but it was no good, and his beloved mate died right before his eyes.
"Strawberry was devastated, and returned to the warren with his news. Cowslip couldn't believe that their new friend Hazel would commit such treachery. He called the three newcomers into the great burrow and asked them to explain theirselves.
'There were snares around the garden?' Hazel asked innocently. 'I had no idea. I thought the warren rabbits were allowed to eat from the man's garden. I must have misunderstood.'
"The warren rabbits grumbled with disbelief but Cowslip restrained them. 'We told you the rules when you got here and you deliberately disobeyed them. You went into his garden last night, didn't you? You're the ones who ruined his crops. And now you've caused the death of one of our rabbits! Tell us what's going on, now!'
"The three traitors spoke amongst themselves, then Fiver stepped forward. 'We were sent by Prince Rainbow to put an end to your unnatural alliance with man. Rabbits cannot live this way. Prince Rainbow and even Frith himself will not allow it. You are to stop taking the food this man gives to you at once, and you are to have nothing more to do with him.'
"Cowslip's rabbits grumbled angrily, offended that this stranger, barely larger than a rabbit kitten, was giving them orders. Some drew their claws but again Cowslip restrained them. 'Our friendship with this man is much stronger than you think, agents of Prince Rainbow. It won't be broken by a couple acts of mischief. But I won't allow you to endanger the lives of my rabbits any longer. Leave now, and never return!' His rabbits shouted in agreement.
'Oh yes, we'll leave,' said the fat rabbit, Bigwig. 'But not before I've had my dessert!' And with that he lunged at Cowslip and bit into his ear, nearly tearing it in two. Cowslip's rabbits piled on Bigwig and pulled him away, then chased the three interlopers out of their warren."

Silverweed paused to catch his breath. "My dear listeners, they thought that was the end of the trouble brought by Prince Rainbow. But these rabbits were even more dangerous than they thought. The one called Fiver knew some of the ways of man. He could build craft out of wood that could float on water, and he knew how to set snares. The night after they were driven out, Fiver crept into the man's toolshed and stole a spool of shining wire. Then he set many snares in the fields surrounding Cowslip's warren. The next day, four more of the warren rabbits were killed by Fiver's snares. At first Cowslip thought the man might have set them, and he went over to the farm to investigate.
'Cowslip, I swear, I never set any snares out in the fields. But I did have some wire stolen last night. Could be some kids causing mischief.'
'Somehow I think Prince Rainbow has something to do with this,' said Cowslip. He told the man about the three interlopers who had visited their warren.
'Prince Rainbow, huh? This fella sounds like trouble. I'll keep an eye out for him.'
'Prince Rainbow is not easily found. For he could be in the form of any kind of elil known to rabbit, or even a rabbit himself.'
"I'll take care of any elil that I see, Cowslip. And if I'm lucky one of 'em will be this Prince fella.'
'You are a great friend to rabbits,' said Cowslip.
"So from that day forward, the man watched over Cowslip's warren and would shoot any elil that he saw, be it fox, or stoat, or hawk. And Cowslip's rabbits became ever vigilant, searching as far afield as they dared for the traitorous Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig. Any hlessil was questioned, and anyone claiming friendship to these three were immediately killed. For they too are the agents of Prince Rainbow, and so are to be feared.
"My dear listeners, I wish I had a happier ending to this story. But sadly the story is not ended. For the sons of Prince Rainbow are still at large, and the snaring at their hands continues to this day. Our vigilance must remain until they are caught. But our friendship with man remains also, and that will never be broken." And so Silverweed's story was finished.

"Woohoo! Wooo!" The rabbits cheered when Silverweed finished his story. Silverweed was showered with praise, then the crowd began to disperse.
"I hope they catch that Fiver someday. I hate him!" said a buck named Wild Mushroom to his friend, Bucktooth.
"Oh I know! But give me that fat slob Bigwig. I'll make a meal out of him!" replied Bucktooth.
"And that lying weasel Hazel! Ugh! How can they call theirselves rabbits?" said someone else.
Silverweed retired to his burrow and munched on a piece of carrot. The food supplies in the burrow were getting low. Tomorrow they would have to go out and bring some more food back to the burrow. As their newly appointed leader, he was responsible for directing his rabbits to the next food drop-off. There was a bridle path nearby that led to a drop site that was typically used this time of the month. Silverweed had scouted ahead earlier that evening. Between two oak trees and a mossy boulder, a snare had been set. Silverweed had a gift for finding snares, just like his predecessor Cowslip.
Silverweed bit into his carrot feeling depressed. He knew what he had to do but it was hard. To console himself, he thought back to the night before his mentor Cowslip stopped running. "You're going to lose a rabbit now and then, Silverweed. I know it's hard but it's our only choice. Do you think the rabbits that came here last year are really happier in the wild? They have to fight tooth and claw every day for their very existence. Here we have abundant food and complete safety from elil. The man takes one or two rabbits a month, but it's well worth the price. Believe me."
Silverweed knew that Cowslip was right. Tomorrow he would direct his rabbits to follow the path between the two oaks and the mossy boulder, where the running knot laid in wait. One of his rabbits was going to die tomorrow. But in exchange for that rabbit's life the rest of them would have peace and prosperity for a long time. Silverweed took another bite of carrot and felt a little better.

***The End***

That was my first Watership fanfic. Hope you liked it!