One of my all-time favorites…extremely enjoyable as a simple read for a 12 year-old. Decidedly more enjoyable to read again as an adult, understanding the allegories, the symbolism, the subtle nuances…an appreciation for the nobility and “animality” of our leader Hazel-rah and his warren.
“Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”
“El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
“There’s terrible evil in the world.”
It comes from men,” said Holly. “All other elil do what they have to do and Frith moves them as he moves us. They live on the earth and they need food. Men will never rest till they’ve spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals.”
“With a kind of wry envy, Hazel realized that Bigwig was actually looking forward to meeting the Efrafan assault. He knew he could fight and he meant to show it. He was not thinking of anything else. The hopelessness of their chances had no important place in his thoughts. Even the sound of the digging, clearer already, only set him thinking of the best way to sell his life as dearly as he could.”