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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 13 - Hospitality
The rabbits make their way to Cowslipís warren where they meet Strawberry and his doe Nildro-hain. They find a spacious warren with a large central room and many burrows-a lot of them empty to which they are invited to help themselves. They find many strange constructions, one of them a curved wall which Strawberry explains is made of bricks and is part of an old, dried up well that once belonged to men. Whenever Hazel tries to question the origin of things or seeks to investigate further, Strawberry interrupts him by changing the subject or pretending to look for a rabbit that isnít there and hasnít been there.
This chapter creates a lot of questions about the evasiveness of the rabbits in this new warren. The rabbits are quite talkative- for rabbits anyway-but actually provide no real information. The chapter primarily serves as foreshadowing of coming difficulties and suggests unnatural situations. The rabbits, for example, have incorporated an old well and other elements that are not characteristic of rabbits.
CHAPTER 14 - Like Trees in November
Blackberry, Pipkin and Hazel go out alone into the rain under the pretense of wanting to feed in the rain. Actually they want to discuss the strange rabbits. The rabbits make strange noises such as laughing and the does make a noise that seems like a strange singing to put their young to sleep. Pipkin notes that although they are very nice and kind they also seem very sad for reasons they will not divulge. They finally decide that the place is safe enough but that they just have to get use to the other rabbits. They return to the burrows to sleep.
In the morning Strawberry wakes them early, telling them that the rain has passed and they want to feed in the meadow. Also, the man has already gone by, so they want to "get it" before the rats and rooks do. Strawberry is referring to a trail of old carrots, and other vegetable scraps that have been scattered across the field for them to find. The rabbits stuff themselves without questioning the source. Hawkbit proclaims that he "would follow [Hazel] anywhere now." Cowslip explains that sometimes the food consists of green stuff or old apples, depending on the weather. They eat what they can and then drag quantities into the burrow for provision in rainy weather.
Fiver does not join in the feasting. They find him hidden under the branches of a yew tree, staring at the field. He refuses to help carry any of the food. He blames Hazel because Hazel knows that Fiver is right about his insights but is not listening. He does not believe the man tosses the vegetables out through the kindness of his heart. He refuses to eat the cultivated scraps or enter the burrow.
Later Bigwig and Hazel go together to try to persuade Fiver to think differently. They come across an area where the ground is all torn up but can make nothing of it. They note that Cowslip still has not answered any of their questions. They finally bully Fiver into going down into the great burrow (central meeting place) with them. That evening Cowslip asks them to tell a story, but the new rabbits seem uncomfortable at the notion of hearing about the adventures of the Sandleford rabbits. Dandelion, the group story teller, offers to tell the story of "The Kingís Lettuce." His offer is readily accepted.
The rabbits appear to be close minded to any knowledge beyond their own warren, and even there things are obviously hidden or denied. A myth is fine, but real adventures seem threatening to them. The "great burrow," as the rabbits call their central meeting room is supported by the interlaced tree roots, but Fiver says the roof is held up with "bones."