12 thought-provoking quotes from Watership Down

In Richard Adams’ iconic novel Watership Down, a small band of rabbits leave their warren to find a new and safer home. Despite facing many challenges along the way, Hazel, Bigwig, Fiver and the others take on the vast and strange world with courage and wisdom. Here are 12 of the most thought-provoking quotes from the book.

Puffin team
An image of the 50th anniversary front cover of Watership Down on a pink spotted background

1. “You want to run – I’ll run with you.”

2. “If there’s going to be a story, don’t you think I’ve got as good a right as anyone to choose it?” 

3. “You know how you let yourself think that everything will be all right if you can only get to a certain place or do a certain thing. But when you get there you find it's not that simple.” 

4. “We all have to meet our match sometime or other.”

5. “Human beings say, "It never rains but it pours." This is not very apt, for it frequently does rain without pouring. The rabbits' proverb is better expressed. They say, "One cloud feels lonely": and indeed it is true that the sky will soon be overcast.” 

6. “Who wants to hear about brave deeds when he’s ashamed of his own, and who likes an open, honest tale from someone he’s deceiving?”

7. “You're trying to eat grass that isn't there. Why don't you give it a chance to grow?"

8. “I’d rather succeed in doing what we can than fail to do what we can’t.” 

9. “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...” 

10. “To come to the end of a time of anxiety and fear! To feel the cloud that hung over us lift and disperse—the cloud that dulled the heart and made happiness no more than a memory! This at least is one joy that must have been known by almost every living creature.”

11. “A rabbit has two ears; a rabbit has two eyes, two nostrils. Our two warrens ought to be like that. They ought to be together—not fighting.”

12. “My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.” 

Sign up to the Puffin newsletter

Stories, ideas and giveaways to help you spark young imaginations