Bigwig Stands his Ground
Sun 27th Nov 2011 at 19:32:03
Box canvas 24x30” (60x75 cm)

At the end of chapter 46, Woundwort has made his way into the warren and into a run where he could sense rabbits in the darkness. Bigwig, hidden under the soil in a trench, strikes suddenly from beneath him, sinking his teeth in the pit of the near foreleg. With Bigwig thrusting upwards, the General loses his balance and is thrown over on his back.
This is the beginning of the fight between Bigwig and the General.

Part four: Hazel-rah
Chapter 46: Bigwig Stands his Ground.

By kind permission of Richard Adams

Woundwort waited only for Groundsel to bring back the two rabbits who had been sent to search among the tree roots at the north end of the burrow. Then, with Vervain behind him, he climbed the pile of fallen earth and thrust his way into the narrow run. In the dark he could hear and smell the rustling and crowding of rabbits - both bucks and does - ahead of him. There were two bucks directly in his path, but they fell back as he ploughed through the loose soil. He plunged forward and felt the ground suddenly turn beneath him. The next moment a rabbit started up from the earth at his feet and sank his teeth in the pit of his near foreleg, just where it joined the body.
Woundwort had won almost every fight of his life by using his weight. Other rabbits could not stop him and once they went down they seldom got up. He tried to push now, but his back legs could get no purchase in the pile of loose, yielding soil behind him. He reared up and, as he did so, realized that the enemy beneath him was crouching in a scooped-out trench the size of his own body. He struck out and felt his claws score deeply along the back and haunch. Then the other rabbit, still keeping his grip under Woundwort’s shoulder, thrust upward with his hind legs braced against the floor of the trench. Woundwort, with both forefeet off the ground, was thrown over on his back on the earth pile. He lashed out, but the enemy had already loosed his hold and was beyond his reach.
Woundwort stood up. He could feel the blood running down the inside of his near foreleg. The muscle was wounded. He could not put his full weight on it. But his own claws, too, were bloody and this blood was not his.
“Are you all right, sir? “asked Vervain, behind him.

“Of course I’m all right, you fool,“ said Woundwort. “Follow me close.“…

…The first traces of daylight were glimmering through the broken roof of the Honeycomb behind.

- Aldo Galli -