Hazel lives well past the life expectancy of a wild rabbit, which is two or three years. He sees many summers, fathers countless kits, and oversees a prosperous warren at Watership Down. The new warren halfway between Watership Down and Efrafa flourishes, too, and Groundsel is the first Chief. He does not Mark any rabbits or order Wide Patrols. Campion and Avens even deliver some Efrafan rabbits to the new warren without incident.
Hazel’s influence is made clear as democracy and openness thrive throughout the rabbit communities of the countryside, and old nemeses become allies in the long, ongoing pursuit of freedom and prosperity.
General Woundwort is never seen again—but his body is never found. He becomes a legend, rumored to be the cousin to the Black Rabbit himself, and a bogeyman used in stories to scare young rabbits into behaving themselves.
General Woundwort is never forgotten, but though tales of his terror spread throughout the land, he is ultimately reduced to something of a ghost story—he has no power over the rabbits any longer.
One chilly March morning, Hazel is dozing in his burrow when he wakes to realize another rabbit is lying beside him. The other rabbit asks Hazel if he recognizes him, and Hazel says he does, addressing the new rabbit as “my lord.” The strange rabbit asks Hazel—who he knows has lately been feeling very tired—if he would like to come and join the rabbit’s Owsla. Hazel follows the rabbit from his warren, and leaves his body lying in the burrow. As Hazel takes one last look at Watership Down, his companion assures him all of the rabbits there will be all right. Together, they slip away into the woods.
In this passage, Hazel is approached by a rabbit spirit—likely the spirit of his idol and hero, El-ahrairah. Hazel has lived a long life and served his people well, and now it is time for him to rest, and take up an honored position defending and guarding the memory of the hero he has held so dear in life.