The Shining Wire
Thu 30th Jul 2009 at 22:44:26
Box canvas 36x48” (90x120cm)

When Hazel woke in the early morning, Fiver wasn’t beside him in the burrow. He woke Bigwig and they both left the warren, following Fiver’s line through the wet grass, down towards the source of the brook. Fiver’s horror for Cowslip’s warren convinced him to leave and carry on the journey alone towards the hills.
After a furious reaction to some of Fiver’s words, Bigwig ran back to the warren dashing through a gap in the hedgerow and straight into a concealed snare.

The painting catches the moment when Hazel looked towards the brook while some of the other rabbits ran towards them. Blackberry was already beside him, studying the snare peg, driven into the ground. Bigwig laid still across the wire, his lips pulled back from the front teeth in a fixed snarl.

The woodland in the background represents Frith Copse (on the left) and High Wood, with the brook that runs between them. You can see on the left the very “acute point” that Cowslip crossed after inviting our rabbits to join his warren:

From Chapter 13: Hospitality

“The corner of the opposite wood turned out to be an acute point. Beyond it, the ditch and trees curved back again in a re-entrant, so that the field formed a bay with a bank running all the way round. It was evident now why Cowslip, when he left them, had gone among the trees. He had simply run in a direct line from their holes to his own, passing on his way through the narrow strip of woodland that lay between...

Shadows are south westwards, as described in Chapter 14 “Like Trees in November”:

The sun, risen behind the copse, threw long shadows from the trees south westwards across the field…

Part 1 The Journey
From Chapter 17: The Shining Wire

By kind permission of Richard Adams

The running knot had pulled tight and was buried in the fur behind his ear. The projecting point of one strand had lacerated his neck and drops of blood, dark and red as yew berries, welled one by one down his shoulder…
...Frenzied with distress, Hazel leapt out of the gap and squatted beside him. Bigwig’s eyes were closed and his lips pulled back from the long front teeth in a fixed snarl. He had bitten his lower lip and from this, too, the blood was running. Froth covered his jaws and chest…

...“Owsla – no good – biting wire. Peg – got to – dig out”...

...Bigwig was lying across the wire, which came out under his belly and seemed to disappear into the ground.
Hazel struggled with his own incomprehension…

...As he paused, perplexed, he found Blackberry at his shoulder. “Bigwig just spoke,” he said to him, “but I don’t think he can now. He said, “Dig out the peg.” What does that mean? What have we got to do?”
“Wait a moment,” said Blackberry. “Let me think and try not to be impatient”.

Hazel turned his head and looked down the course of the brook. Far away, between the two copses, he could see the cherry tree where two days before he had sat with Blackberry and Fiver in the sunrise.
He remembered how Bigwig had chased Hawkbit through the long grass, forgetting the quarrel of the previous night in the joy of their arrival. He could see Hawkbit running towards him now and two or three of the others – Silver, Dandelion and Pipkin. Dandelion, well in front…

- Aldo Galli -