People of a Thousand Enemies

Watership5“Long ago, Frith made the world. He made all the stars, too, and the world is one of the stars. He made them by scattering his droppings over the sky and this is why the grass and the trees grow so thick on the world. Frith makes the rivers flow. They follow him as he goes through the sky, and when he leaves the sky they look for him all night. Frith made all the animals and birds, but when he first made them they were all the same. The sparrow and the kestrel were friends and they both ate seeds and flies. And the fox and the rabbit were friends and they both ate grass. And there was plenty of grass and plenty of flies, because the world was new and Frith shone down bright and warm all day.

102810“Now, El-ahrairah was among the animals in those days and he has many wives. He has so many wives that there was no counting them, and the wives has so many young that even Frith could not count them, and they ate the grass and the dandelions and the lettuces and the clover, and El-ahrairah was the father of them all.”

“And after a time, the grass began to grow thin and the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplying and eating aWatership-Down-1978-ScreenShot-04s they went.”

“Then Frith said to El-ahrairah, ‘Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to control them. So mark what I say, But El-ahrairah would not listen and he said to Frith, “My people are the strongest in the world, for they breed faster and eat more than any of the other people”. And this shows how much they love Lord Frith, for of all the animals they are the most responsive to his warmth and brightness. You must realize, my lord how important they are and not hinder them in their beautiful lives”.

watership_downFrith could have killed El-ahrairah at once, but he had a mind to keep him in the world, because he needed him to sport and jest and play tricks. So he determined to get the better of him, not by means of his own great power but by means of a trick. He gave out that he would hold a great meeting and that at that meeting he would give a present to every animal and bird, to make each one different from the rest. And all the creatures set out to go to the meeting place. But they all arrived at different times, because Frith made sure that it would happen so. And when the blackbird came, he have him his beautiful song, and when the cow came, he have her sharp horns and the strength to be afraid of no other creature. And so when their turn came, the fox and the stoat and the weasel. And to each of them Frith gave the cunning and the fierceness and the desire to hunt and slay and eat the children of El-ahrairah. And so they went away from Frith full of nothing but hunger to kill the rabbits.watershipdown1

Now all this time El-ahrairah was dancing and mating and boasting that he was going to Frith’s meeting to receive a great gift. And at last he set out for the meeting place. But as he was going there, he stopped to rest on a soft, sandy hillside. And while he was resting, over the hill came flying the dark swift, screaming as he went ‘News! News! News!’ For you know, this is what he has said ever since that day. So El-ahrairah called up to him and said, ‘What news?’ ‘Why,’ said the swift, ‘I would not be you, El-ahrairah. For Frith has given the fox and the weasel cunning hearts and sharp teeth, and to the cat he has given silent feet and eyes that can see in the dark, and they are gone away from Frith’s place to kill and devour all that belongs to El-ahrairah.” And he dashed on over the hills. And at that moment El-ahrairah heard the voice of Frith calling, ‘Where is El-ahrairah? For all the others have taken their gifts and gone and I have come to look for him.’

“Then El-ahrairah knew Frith was too clever for him and was frightened. He thought that the fox and the weasel were coming with Frith and he turned to the face of the hill and began to dig. Hu dug a hole, but he has dug only a little of it when Frith came over the hill alone. And he saw El-ahrairah’s bottom sticking out of the hole and the sand flying out in showers as the digging went on. When he saw that, he called out, ‘My friend, have you seen El-ahrairah, for I am looking for him to give him my gift?’ ‘No,’ answered El-ahrairah, without coming out, ‘I have not seen him. He is far away, He could not come.’ So Frith said, ‘Then come out of that hole and I will bless you instead of him,’ ‘No, I cannot,’ said El-ahrairah, ‘I am busy. The fox and the weasel are coming. If you want to bless me you can bless my bottom, for it is sticking our of the hole.’

c4c5f32ed117f34952fe424b36556a72“Then Frith felt himself in friendship with El-ahrairah, because of his resourcefulness, and because he would not give up even when he thought the fox and the weasel were coming. And he said, ‘Very well, I will bless your bottom as it sticks out of the hole. Bottom, be strength and warning and speed forever and save the life of your master. Be it so!’ And as he spoke, El-ahrairah’s tail grew shining white and flashed like a star; and his back legs grew long and powerful and he thumped the hillside until the very beetles fell off the grass stems. He came out of the hole and tore across the hill faster than any creature in the world. And Frith called after him, ‘El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. 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, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.’ And El-ahrairah knew then that although he would not be mocked, Frith was still his friend.

And every evening, when Frith has done his day’s work and lies calm and easy in the red sky, El-ahrairah and his children and his children’s children come out of thier warren and feed and play in his sight, for they are his friends, and he had promised then that they can never be destroyed” (Quoted from Watership Down By Richard Adams, Macmillian Publishing Co., Inc c 1972(Ch. 6)).

This myth comes from the novel Watership Down. Though it was turned into a pretty disturbing cartoon in 1978, there is something deeper here which I would like to focus on. Though a fictional myth for the purpose of this book, it still has many similarities to the truth presented in the Bible. One such truth is what Frith tells to El-ahrairah, “All the world will be your enemy, Prince With A Thousand Enemies.” Jesus himself said something similar to this, to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know Him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:18-27 ESV

25221729We live in the world, why then are we surprised when the world does worldly things? Such as fight for the rights of same-sex marriage, support abortion, or want same-gender bathrooms? Instead of being surprised, we must be prepared and ready to stand firm against such things. To be salt, light, and love in this world, and to be strong and courageous, as we fight and endure the spiritual war warring around us. Contrary to the words of Illidan, we need to be prepared. Prepared to love, prepared to endure, prepared to suffer, and prepared to fight!

All the world will be your enemy, People of a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they can, they will persecute you, taunt you, kill you. But, you must love them, be in the world but not of it, lover, listener, warrior, servant with the hands of Christ and temple of the Holy Spirit. Be loving and faithful, for your people shall never be destroyed.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.

“I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything that You have given me is from You. For I have given them the words that You gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given me, for they are Yours. All mine are Yours, and Yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me. The glory that You have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that You have given me because You loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent me. I made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17 ESV

~Photos Obtained

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