Watership Down

by

Richard Adams

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Watership Down can help.

Silflay Term Analysis

To go above ground to feed. Both a noun and a verb (like “supper”).

Silflay Quotes in Watership Down

The Watership Down quotes below are all either spoken by Silflay or refer to Silflay. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Watership Down published in 1972.
Chapter 34 Quotes

As the warren grew, so Woundwort developed his system to keep it under control. Crowds of rabbits feeding at morning and evening were likely to attract attention. He devised the Marks, each controlled by its own officers and sentries, with feeding times changed regularly to give all a share of early morning and sunset—the favorite hours for silflay. All signs of rabbit life were concealed as closely as possible. The Owsla had privileges in regard to feeding, mating and freedom of movement. Any failure of duty on their part was liable to be punished by demotion and loss of privileges. For ordinary rabbits, the punishments were more severe.

Related Characters: General Woundwort
Related Symbols: Efrafa
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 35 Quotes

“Thlayli, you are very brave. Are you cunning, too? All our lives will depend on you tomorrow.”

“Well, can you see anything wrong with the plan?”

“No, but I am only a doe who has never been out of Efrafa. Suppose something unexpected happens?”

“Risk is risk. Don’t you want to get out and come and live on the high downs with us? Think of it!”

“Oh, Thlayli! Shall we mate with whom we choose and dig our own burrows and bear our litters alive?”

“You shall: and tell stories in the Honeycomb and silflay whenever you feel like it. It’s a fine life, I promise you.”

“I’ll come! I’ll run any risk.”

Related Characters: Bigwig (speaker), Hyzenthlay (speaker)
Related Symbols: Watership Down, Efrafa
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

[Hazel] raised his head and said, “Do you want to talk to me?”

“Yes, that’s what I’ve come for,” replied the other. “You know me, don’t you?”

“Yes, of course,” said Hazel, hoping he would be able to remember his name in a moment. Then he saw that in the darkness of the burrow the stranger’s ears were shining with a faint silver light. “Yes, my lord,” he said. “Yes, I know you.”

“You’ve been feeling tired,” said the stranger, “but I can do something about that. I’ve come to ask whether you’d care to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you’ll enjoy it. If you’re ready, we might go along now.”

They went out past the young sentry, who paid the visitor no attention. The sun was shining and in spite of the cold there were a few bucks and does at silflay, keeping out of the wind as they nibbled the shoots of spring grass. It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body anymore, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.

“You needn’t worry about them,” said his companion. “They’ll be all right—and thousands like them. If you’ll come along, I’ll show you what I mean.”

He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.

Related Characters: Hazel (speaker), Lord Frith, Black Rabbit of Inlé
Related Symbols: El-ahrairah
Page Number: 474
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Watership Down LitChart as a printable PDF.
Watership Down PDF

Silflay Term Timeline in Watership Down

The timeline below shows where the term Silflay appears in Watership Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14: “Like Trees in November”
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Back in the main burrow, Hazel begins gathering his group to go above ground to silflay so that they can talk privately. He remarks on how strange these rabbits are—he mentions... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
As Hazel heads up with Strawberry and several of the others to silflay, he feels a camaraderie with Strawberry. When Hazel pauses at the mouth of the burrow... (full context)
Chapter 19: Fear in the Dark
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
After the other rabbits have woken up and silflayed, Hazel leads the group to a wooded part of the down—the place he and Blackberry... (full context)
Chapter 20: A Honeycomb and a Mouse
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...bad, sleepless night, Holly is finally awake and doing better—Bluebell has taken him up to silflay. Hazel and Bigwig decide to go out and talk to them. Out on the down,... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Story of the Trial of El-ahrairah
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...successfully did something of the sort. Hazel asks for the story, but Holly suggests they silflay first. After grazing in the moonlight for a while, the rabbits listen to Bluebell’s tale. (full context)
Chapter 23: Kehaar
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
The next day, early in the morning, Hazel and his group are at silflay when Bigwig and Silver spot a creature with a white back in the grass. They... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Raid
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
The next morning, during silflay, Hazel tells all the others about the visit to the farm, and Bigwig jumps at... (full context)
Chapter 27: “You Can’t Imagine It Unless You’ve Been There”
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
That night at silflay, Holly and the others realized there was no way to escape—there were sentries stationed everywhere.... (full context)
Chapter 28: At the Foot of the Hill
Violence and Power Theme Icon
...that Frith intended for them to do so. Holly helps the hutch rabbits up to silflay, offering to show them a good patch of nice grass. (full context)
Chapter 31: The Story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...but they laid siege to the burrows and attacked any rabbit who went up to silflay. After many rabbits starved and died, El-ahrairah called out in desperation to Lord Frith and... (full context)
Chapter 34: General Woundwort
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...on Efrafa, and General Woundwort comes above ground to watch the Near Hind Mark at silflay. One of the Mark officers, Captain Chervil, subserviently greets the General—a “singular rabbit” who was... (full context)
Chapter 35: Groping
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
As Bigwig prepares to take his Mark up for evening silflay, he looks forward to being in the open air. He wonders how his friends are... (full context)
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...and rejoins Chervil, who reveals that Blackavar has been forced outside at each and every silflay for the better part of a month. (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Bigwig goes off to silflay, feeling perplexed and overwhelmed as to how he will ever accomplish his dangerous tasks. He... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
Towards the end of silflay, Captain Campion returns from a patrol and meets with Chervil. Bigwig listens to their conversation... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...to pick some does and have them ready to run at his signal during sunset silflay tomorrow. A bird will fight for them, he says, and even if the General and... (full context)
Chapter 36: Approaching Thunder
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...wakes up to find Avens standing over him. The officer tells him it’s time for silflay and asks who Fiver is. Bigwig asks what Avens is talking about, and Avens replies... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Bigwig spends the rest of the silflay looking around the yard and trying to find the best way to attack Blackavar’s escort... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...made with Kehaar. He urges them to get the does together at the start of silflay later in the evening—they will run for a stone arch in an embankment several hundred... (full context)
Chapter 37: The Thunder Builds Up
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
At silflay, Nelthilta makes a remark to Chervil about staying sharp in case of a “surprise.” Bigwig... (full context)
Chapter 38: The Thunder Breaks
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...to talk. As Chervil has to go to Council, he says, there will be no silflay, and all holes will be double-guarded. (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...a breakout. Bigwig hurries up to the sentries near the entrance and tells them that silflay is to be early tonight on account of the weather, and that they are to... (full context)
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Authoritarianism vs. Democracy Theme Icon
...the guards have brought up Blackavar. Bigwig apologizes, stating that he’s brought them up for nothing—silflay has been cancelled due to the weather. As the other rabbits go outside to look,... (full context)
Chapter 49: Hazel Comes Home
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...in Kehaar’s accent, that he has “finish Meester Voundvort,” and Hazel helps him up to silflay. Bigwig, sitting in the grass, announces that he’s done with fighting for good. He asks... (full context)