I’ll tell you one for El-ahrairah to cry at.
For his purpose they had to become accustomed to going about in the fields and the wood. And then he snared them – not too many: as many as he wanted and not as many as would frighten them all away or destroy the warren. They grew big and strong and healthy, for he saw to it that they had all of the best, particularly in winter, and nothing to fear – except the running knot in the hedge-gap and the wood-path. So they lived as he wanted them to live and all the time there were a few who disappeared.
The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah, for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy’s warren and paying his price? They found out other marvelous arts to take the place of tricks and old stories. They danced in ceremonious greeting. They sand songs like birds and made shapes on the walls; and though these could help them not at all, yet they passed the time and enabled them to tell themselves that they were splendid fellows, the very flower of Rabbitry, cleverer than magpies.
They had no Chief Rabbit – no, how could they? – for a Chief Rabbit must be El-ahrairah to his warren and keep them from death: and here there was no death but one, and what Chief Rabbit could have an answer to that?
Instead, Frith sent them strange singers, beautiful and sick like oak-apples, like robins’ pin-cushions on the wild rose. And since they could not bear the truth, these singers, who might in some other place have been wise, were squeezed under the terrible weight of the warren’s secret until they gulped out fine folly – about dignity and acquiescence, and anything else that could make believe that the rabbit loved the shining wire.
But one strict rule they had; oh yes, the strictest. No one must ever ask where another rabbit was and anyone who asked, “Where?” – except in a song or poem – must be silenced. To say “Where?” was bad enough, but to speak openly of the wires – that was intolerable. For that they would scratch and kill.
/Watership Down, Richard Adams
- Elil: Refers to the natural enemies of rabbits (foxes, stoats, badgers, etc) and also to humans, who are regarded as one of the Thousand Enemies.
- Frith: The sun, personified as a god by rabbits. Frithrah! is used as an exclamation and translates to "the lord Sun".
- Hlao: Any dimple or depression in the grass, such as that formed by a daisy plant or thistle, which can hold moisture. Also, the name of a rabbit.
- Hrair: A great many; an uncountable number; any number greater than four.
- Hraka: Droppings, feces
- Hrududu: An onomatopoeic term that refers to any motor vehicle. A tractor, car or any motorvehicle.
- Inlé: The moon; also the idea of darkness, fear or death (as in the "Black Rabbit of Inlé"). Fu Inlé is used to refer to "after moonrise". Literally, the moon; also moonrise. But a second meaning carries the idea of darkness, fear and death.
- Flay: Food, e.g. grass or other green fodder.; particularly good food is called flayrah, using the suffix -rah, which literally means "food of princes".
- Silflay: A term used for both grass used for grazing and the act of grazing itself. To go above ground to feed. Literally, to feed outside. Also used as a noun.
- Silf: Outside, outdoors
- Vair: To excrete, to pass droppings.
- Narn: An adjective denoting nice or pleasant, often in terms of food. Pleasant to eat.
- Zorn: Destruction or murder; can also denote catastrophe, suffered a catastrophe.
- Roo: Used as a suffix to denote a dimunitive, e.g. Hrairoo. A diminutive, usually affectionate. Suffixed.
- Tharn: Petrified with fear, deer in headlights.
- Ni-Frith: Noon
- Embleer: An adjective translated to stinking, specifically referring to the smell of a fox. Stinking, as in the smell of a predator, esp. a fox.