It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.



It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

Never stop learning because life never stop Teaching

Never stop learning because life never stop Teaching

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Makes the history

If  You can't help others
Don't demotivate them
They are better than you
Makes the History

Thursday, 5 October 2017

John Keats "Ode To Autumn"

John Keats "Ode To Autumn"

The Composition of "To Autumn"
Keats wrote "To Autumn" after enjoying a lovely autumn day; he described his experience in a letter to his friend Reynolds:

"How beautiful the season is now--How fine the air. A temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather--Dian skies--I never lik'd stubble fields so much as now--Aye better than the chilly green of the spring. Somehow a stubble plain looks warm--in the same way that some pictures look warm--this struck me so much in my Sunday's walk that I composed upon it."

General Comments
This ode is a favorite with critics and poetry lovers alike. Harold Bloom calls it "one of the subtlest and most beautiful of all Keats's odes, and as close to perfect as any shorter poem in the English Language." Allen Tate agrees that it "is a very nearly perfect piece of style"; however, he goes on to comment, "it has little to say."
This ode deals with the some of the concerns presented in his other odes, but there are also significant differences. (1) There is no visionary dreamer or attempted flight from reality in this poem; in fact, there is no narrative voice or persona at all. The poem is grounded in the real world; the vivid, concrete imagery immerses the reader in the sights, feel, and sounds of autumn and its progression. (2) With its depiction of the progression of autumn, the poem is an unqualified celebration of process. (I am using the words process, flux, and change interchangeably in my discussion of Keats's poems.) Keats totally accepts the natural world, with its mixture of ripening, fulfillment, dying, and death. Each stanza integrates suggestions of its opposite or its predecessors, for they are inherent in autumn also.

Because this ode describes the process of fruition and decay in autumn, keep in mind the passage of time as you read it.

Stanza I:
Keats describes autumn with a series of specific, concrete, vivid visual images. The stanza begins with autumn at the peak of fulfillment and continues the ripening to an almost unbearable intensity. Initially autumn and the sun "load and bless" by ripening the fruit. But the apples become so numerous that their weight bends the trees; the gourds "swell," and the hazel nuts "plump." The danger of being overwhelmed by fertility that has no end is suggested in the flower and bee images in the last four lines of the stanza. Keats refers to "more" later flowers "budding" (the -ing form of the word suggests activity that is ongoing or continuing); the potentially overwhelming number of flowers is suggested by the repetition "And still more" flowers. The bees cannot handle this abundance, for their cells are "o'er-brimm'd." In other words, their cells are not just full, but are over-full or brimming over with honey.

Process or change is also suggested by the reference to Summer in line 11; the bees have been gathering and storing honey since summer. "Clammy" describes moisture; its unpleasant connotations are accepted as natural, without judgment.

Certain sounds recur in the beginning lines--s, m, l. Find the words that contain these letters; read them aloud and listen. What is the effect of these sounds--harsh, explosive, or soft? How do they contribute to the effect of the stanza, if they do?

The final point I wish to make about this stanza is subtle and sophisticated and will probably interest you only if you like grammar and enjoy studying English:

The first stanza is punctuated as one sentence, and clearly it is one unit. It is not, however, a complete sentence; it has no verb. By omitting the verb, Keats focuses on the details of ripening. In the first two and a half lines, the sun and autumn conspire (suggesting a close working relationship and intention). From lines 3 to 9, Keats constructs the details using parallelism; the details take the infinitive form (to plus a verb): "to load and bless," "To bend...and fill," "To swell...and plump," and "to set." In the last two lines, he uses a subordinate clause, also called a dependent clause (note the subordinating conjunction "until"); the subordinate or dependent clause is appropriate because the oversupply of honey is the result of--or dependent upon--the seemingly unending supply of flowers.

Stanza II
The ongoing ripening of stanza I, which if continued would become unbearable, has neared completion; this stanza slows down and contains almost no movement. Autumn, personified as a reaper or a harvester crosses a brook and watches a cider press. Otherwise, Autumn is listless and even falls asleep. Some work remains; the furrow is "half-reap'd," the winnowed hair refers to ripe grain still standing, and apple cider is still being pressed. However, the end of the cycle is near. The press is squeezing out "the last oozings." Find other words that indicate slowing down. Notice that Keats describes a reaper who is not harvesting and who is not turning the press.
Is the personification successful, that is, does nature become a person with a personality, or does nature remain an abstraction? Is there a sense of depletion, of things coming to an end? Does the slowing down of the process suggest a stopping, a dying or dead? Does the personification of autumn as a reaper with a scythe suggest another kind of reaper--the Grim Reaper?

Speak the last line of this stanza aloud, and listen to the pace (how quickly or slowly you say the words). Is Keats using the sound of words to reinforce and/or to parallel the meaning of the line?

Stanza III
Spring inline 1 has the same function as Summer in stanza I; they represent a process, the flux of time. In addition, spring is a time of a rebirth of life, an association which contrasts with the explicitly dying autumn of this stanza. Furthermore, autumn spells death for the now "full-grown" lambs which were born in spring; they are slaughtered in autumn. And the answer to the question of line 1, where is Spring's songs, is that they are past or dead. The auditory details that follow are autumn's songs.
The day, like the season, is dying. The dying of day is presented favorably, "soft-dying." Its dying also creates beauty; the setting sun casts a "bloom" of "rosy hue" over the dried stubble or stalks left after the harvest. Keats accepts all aspects of autumn; this includes the dying, and so he introduces sadness; the gnats "mourn" in a "wailful choir" and the doomed lambs bleat (Why does Keats use "lambs," rather than "sheep" here? would the words have a different effect on the reader?). It is a "light" or enjoyable wind that "lives or dies," and the treble of the robin is pleasantly "soft." The swallows are gathering for their winter migration.

Keats blends living and dying, the pleasant and the unpleasant because they are inextricably one; he accepts the reality of the mixed nature of the world.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sylvia Plath Life and Works

Sylvia Plath Life and Works

Sylvia Plath was born on 27 October 1932, at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, in the Jennie M Robinson Memorial maternity building in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents were Otto Emil Plath 1885-1940) and Aurelia Schober Plath (1906-1994). She would be an only child for two and a half years when her brother Warren was born, 27 April 1935. Her first home was on 24 Prince Street in Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston. After Warren Plath's birth, the family moved to 92 Johnson Avenue in Winthrop, Massachusetts just east of Boston. This is where Plath became familiar and intimate with the sea. From an early age, she enjoyed the sea and could recognize its beauty & power.

Otto Plath taught at Boston University (BU). To get there, he took a bus, boat, and trolley to get to work each day from Winthrop. At that time BU's site was on Boylston Street just off Copley Square. This site is now New England Financial. Otto Plath's health began to fail shortly after the birth of his son Warren in 1935. He thought he had cancer as a friend of his, with similar symptoms, had recently lost a battle with lung cancer. Otto Plath was an expert on bees. He wrote a book called Bumblebees and Their Ways, published in 1934. Sylvia Plath was impressed with her father's handling of bees. He could catch them and they would not sting! (He caught only the males; the males do not have stingers.) Otto Plath died on 5 November 1940, only a week and a half after his daughters eighth birthday. He died of diabetes mellitus, which at the time was a very curable disease. Upon his death, a friend only asked, "How could such a brilliant man have been so stupid?"

In 1942, Aurelia Plath moved the family to 26 Elmwood Road, in Wellesley. This was Sylvia Plath's home until she began college. She repeated the fifth grade so that she would be in class with children her same age, and she aced her courses. From then on, Plath was a star student, making straight A's the whole way through high school. She excelled in English, particularly creative writing. Her first poem appeared when she was eight in the Boston Herald (10 August 1941, page B-8).

Plath won a scholarship to attend Smith College, an all-girls' school in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was ecstatic in the fall of 1950 to be a 'Smith girl.' She immediately felt the pressures of College life, from the academic rigor to the social scenes. Sylvia Plath received a scholarship to attend Smith College. The benefactress of this scholarship was Olive Higgins Prouty, a famous author. Olive Higgins Prouty lived at 393 Walnut Street in Brookline, a suburb of Boston near to Wellesley. Once at Smith, Plath started a correspondence with Olive that lasted the rest of her life. Plath wanted to be both brilliant and friendly, and she achieved both.

From around 1944 on, Plath kept a journal. The journals gained in importance to her in college. She would come to rely heavily on her journals for inspiration and documentation. She had a very quick, sharp eye, noting details that most people miss and take for granted. Her journal became her most trusted friend and confidant, telling it secrets and presenting a completely different and real self on those pages. Sometimes she was blunt, other times candid. She captured ideas for poems and stories and detailed her ambitions. One of the more memorable passages she writes about the joy of picking her nose. (January 1953)

At this point in her life, the early Smith years, she was writing very measured, pretty poems. She had the craft of poem-making down, but she did not have the voice. She was working hard on syllabics, paying close attention to line lengths, stanza lengths and a myriad of other poetic styles that any apprentice should know. Plath was different, though, as she worked herself to perfection. She relied on her thesaurus to push her way through poem after poem. She emulated Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens, and W.H. Auden. She read Richard Wilbur, Marianne Moore, and John Crowe Ransom. She also wanted to write short stories for women's magazines such as the Ladies Home Journal and other influential 1950s magazines. She was also sending poems and stories out regularly, facing rejection most of the time. She did, however, receive some success.

Beginning in 1950, Plath began publishing in national periodicals. Her article "Youth's Appeal for World Peace" was published in the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) on 16 March. Her short story "And Summer Will Not Come Again" appeared in the August issue of Seventeen & the poem "Bitter Strawberries" appeared in the 11 August CSM. Throughout 1951, Plath was collecting rejection slips at a fast pace, but she was also published quite a bit.

In 1953, Plath wrote articles for local newspapers like the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Springfield Union as their Smith College correspondent. Her short story, "Sunday at the Mintons" won first prize in a Mademoiselle contest. From this story, she also won a Guest Editorship at Mademoiselle at 575 Madison Avenue in New York City during June 1953. (The offices have since moved & the magazine recently ceased publication.) She and several other young women stayed at the women-only Barbizon Hotel, at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. The events of this very important month are well covered in her novel, The Bell Jar. (In The Bell Jar she calls the hotel, The Amazon.) Her published journals for these months are thin and do not reveal too much about the breakdown that followed. She returned from the New York exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. She was banking on being admitted to a Harvard summer class on writing. When she received word she had not been accepted, Sylvia Plath's fate was also secured. Her journals end abruptly in July. For details of the summer of 1953, readers must rely on information Plath put down in a few letters to friends and in her novel, The Bell Jar.

Throughout July and early August, Plath tells us in The Bell Jar that she could neither read nor sleep nor write. In an interview given to the Voices & Visions audio/video series, Aurelia Plath tells us that her daughter could in fact read and that she meticulously read Freud's Abnormal Psychology. Plath, however, felt despondent. On 24 August 1953, she left a note saying, "Have gone for a long walk. Will be home tomorrow." She took a blanket, a bottle of sleeping pills, a glass of water with her down the stairs to the cellar. There she crept into a two and a half-foot entrance to the crawl space underneath the screened-in porch. She began swallowing the pills in gulps of water and fell unconscious.

Aurelia Plath gave a good fight into finding her missing daughter, barely waiting a few hours to phone the police. An exhaustive search started in the Great Boston area to try and find the missing Smith beauty. Boy scouts and local police and neighbors combed Wellesley thoroughly through small parks as well as in and around Morse's Pond. Headlines in the papers the next day, 25 August 1953, alerted many of Plath's friends. Headlines were less favorable the next day, Wednesday 26 August 1953. However, around lunchtime, Plath was found with eight sleeping pills still in the bottle. Sylvia was treated at McLean Hospital in Belmont with the help of her Smith benefactress Olive Higgins Prouty. Her doctor was Ruth Barnhouse Beuscher, and Dr. Beuscher would go on to be a great help to Plath in the years to come. Her recovery was not easy, but Plath pulled through and was readmitted to Smith for the spring 1954 semester. This is really the beginning of Sylvia Plath, poet.

1954 was a remarkable year. She met Richard Sassoon, who would later play a significant role as lover. Plath also continued where she left off at Smith, doing excellent work in spite of the breakdown. That summer she studied at Harvard Summer School, living with Nancy Hunter-Steiner in apartment 4 at the Bay State Apartments, located at 1572 Massachusetts Avenue.

The next school year at Smith, Plath worked hard, continuing her excellence. In the spring 1955 semester, Plath turned in her English honors thesis, The Magic Mirror: The Double in Dostoevsky. She graduated summa cum laude and also won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Newnham College, Cambridge University.

Before Plath left for England, however, she needed to get through a summer of living at 26 Elmwood Road where her first suicide attempt, two years earlier, occurred. She spent much of her time dating young men like Richard Sassoon, Gordon Lameyer and toward the end of the summer, an editor named Peter Davison. However, before setting sail, Plath ended these attachments, preferring to take on what England had to offer. As Plath sailed to England, she spent her time "flirting and then making love" (Wagner-Martin). Plath was excited about Cambridge for many reasons, two of which were its possible for the best education and to find a man to marry (at that time men outnumbered women at Cambridge by the astonishing ten to one).

As an American in England, Plath was shocked and overwhelmed by Cambridge. Coming to England in mid-September, Plath spent her first ten days in London, sightseeing, and shopping. When she arrived at 4 Barton Road and Whitstead she was at first disappointed as it is at the back of the college. She loved Cambridge though and immediately became familiar with its old streets and customs. British schooling is very different than in America so Plath had major adjustments ahead of her. She had to choose her courses for two years and at the end of the second year were the exams. This meant many studies on her own, though she was responsible for writing essays weekly on topics, attending lectures and meeting one hour a week with her tutors. Plath's tutor, Dorothea Krook, would become a very important female role model in the coming years, much as Dr. Ruth Beuscher was to her. Krook taught Plath in a course on Henry James and the Moralists. Her academic course load was much lighter than it was at Smith, so that autumn Plath joined the Amateur Dramatics Club (ADC) and had a small role as an insane poetess. Initially, she tried to steer clear of dating as she grew accustomed to life in a foreign country. She still maintained relations with Richard Sassoon, who was living in Paris at the time. Plath spent her winter holiday with Sassoon in and around Paris and Europe. However romantic this holiday was, Sassoon soon wrote to Plath asking for a break, telling Plath that he would contact her when he was ready.

Plath, back at Cambridge and not too happy with the English winter, began falling ill and sinking into a depression. She suffered from a splinter in her eye which became the subject of the poem "The Eye-Mote", and along with a cold & flu, began to think she would not conquer Cambridge after all. On 25 February Plath met with a psychiatrist named Dr. Davy and in her journal entry for that day-expressed anger at Sassoon. At the ripe age of 23, Plath really needed someone to love and to love her. To be 23 and single in 1953 was considered to be passed her prime.

That afternoon after the meeting with Dr. Davy, Plath bought a copy of the Saint Botolph's Review and read impressive poems by E Lucas Myers and more impressive poems by a poet called Ted Hughes. Plath was told of a party that evening celebrating the publication of this new literary review to be held at Falcon Yard.

The meeting of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes is probably the best-known meeting of two aspiring poets in the 20th century. Plath walked into the room with a date named Hamish and quickly began enquiring as to Hughes' whereabouts. She found him, recited some of his poems, which in the few hours since first reading they had memorized. According to her journals and letters, they were dancing and stamping and yelling and drinking and then he kissed her on the neck and she bit Hughes on the cheek, and he bled. No matter what sort of hyperbole was used in the retelling of their meeting, it was dramatic and life-changing. Hughes' voice boomed like the thunder of God, and his Yorkshire accent was deep and intense. She wrote the poem "Pursuit" to him and in the poem, she calls him a panther. It is also in this poem that Plath announces with some clairvoyance that "One day I'll have my death of him." Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes both found influences in W.B Yeats, Dylan Thomas, and D. H. Lawrence, to name a few. Hughes read these poets as well and also Hopkins, Blake, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. There is no doubt that Hughes helped Plath achieve the major poetic voice she would later find. The voice might have always been in Plath, the talent and drive were certainly there.

That spring Plath suffered much heartache and confusion over her love for Richard Sassoon, who had asked Plath not to contact him until he figured out what he wanted (he was in love with at least two other women). Plath traveled to London for one night before going to Paris for her spring break and she stayed with Ted Hughes at his flat at 18 Rugby Street. They made hectic love all night long and then she traveled to Paris in search of Sassoon to find some resolution. Sassoon's decision could not have been any clearer; he was far away from Paris and did not want to be found. Plath, finding her letters unanswered at Sassoon's residence, became desperate, frequenting places she and Sassoon previously visited. Plath met several other friends from Cambridge, some strangers and finally had a bad time of traveling through Italy with her ex-flame Gordon Lameyer. Plath received at least one love letter from Hughes, which lifted her. She flew from Rome to London to be with Hughes, leaving Lameyer behind.

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes married on Bloomsday 1956 (16 June) at the Church of St. George-the-Martyr at Queen's Square, Bloomsbury, just a few paces from the offices of Faber & Faber. Aurelia Plath was there to witness. The Hughes spent the summer writing and no doubt getting to know each other better in Benidorm, Spain. The couple also spent in Paris, France, and Alicante, Spain, before visiting Yorkshire, to be with Ted's parents, who knew nothing of the wedding.

In the fall, Plath continued studying at Cambridge. Eventually, Plath moved into a flat located at 55 Eltisley Avenue with Ted Hughes. Ironically, some relatives of Richard Sassoon lived above them. The two poets would study, cook, eat, take walks and learn to live with each other. Ted Hughes took a job teaching at a local boy's school. This would be one of his most enjoyable jobs. Plath and Hughes made arrangements to go to America in the summer of 1957.

Immediately upon their meeting, Plath began typing and sending out Hughes's poems publishers in America and England. Due in part to this work, in early 1957, Ted Hughes won first prize in the New York Poetry Center contests judged by Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender for his book The Hawk in the Rain. This was a contest he was unaware he entered. His publishers would be Harper & Row and they would bring the book out that summer. Plath had been writing some very good poems this English winter, among them "Sow," "The Thin People," and "Hardcastle Crags." On 12 March 1957 Plath was offered a teaching position in Freshman English at Smith College.

Friday, 29 September 2017

best Autumn Quotes|youtube

Best Autumn Quotes ever

Thursday, 28 September 2017



By Kenneth Grahame

Author Of “The Golden Age,” “Dream Days,” Etc.


When it began to grow dark, the Rat, with an air of excitement and
mystery, summoned them back into the parlour, stood each of them up
alongside of his little heap, and proceeded to dress them up for the
coming expedition. He was very earnest and thoroughgoing about it, and
the affair took quite a long time. First, there was a belt to go round
each animal, and then a sword to be stuck into each belt, and then
a cutlass on the other side to balance it. Then a pair of pistols, a
policeman’s truncheon, several sets of handcuffs, some bandages and
sticking-plaster, and a flask and a sandwich-case. The Badger laughed
good-humouredly and said, ‘All right, Ratty! It amuses you and it
doesn’t hurt me. I’m going to do all I’ve got to do with this here
stick.’ But the Rat only said, ‘PLEASE, Badger. You know I shouldn’t
like you to blame me afterwards and say I had forgotten ANYTHING!’

When all was quite ready, the Badger took a dark lantern in one paw,
grasped his great stick with the other, and said, ‘Now then, follow me!
Mole first, ‘cos I’m very pleased with him; Rat next; Toad last. And
look here, Toady! Don’t you chatter so much as usual, or you’ll be sent
back, as sure as fate!’

The Toad was so anxious not to be left out that he took up the inferior
position assigned to him without a murmur, and the animals set off. The
Badger led them along by the river for a little way, and then suddenly
swung himself over the edge into a hole in the river-bank, a little
above the water. The Mole and the Rat followed silently, swinging
themselves successfully into the hole as they had seen the Badger do;
but when it came to Toad’s turn, of course he managed to slip and fall
into the water with a loud splash and a squeal of alarm. He was hauled
out by his friends, rubbed down and wrung out hastily, comforted, and
set on his legs; but the Badger was seriously angry, and told him that
the very next time he made a fool of himself he would most certainly be
left behind.

So at last they were in the secret passage, and the cutting-out
expedition had really begun!

It was cold, and dark, and damp, and low, and narrow, and poor Toad
began to shiver, partly from dread of what might be before him, partly
because he was wet through. The lantern was far ahead, and he could not
help lagging behind a little in the darkness. Then he heard the Rat call
out warningly, ‘COME on, Toad!’ and a terror seized him of being left
behind, alone in the darkness, and he ‘came on’ with such a rush that
he upset the Rat into the Mole and the Mole into the Badger, and for a
moment all was confusion. The Badger thought they were being attacked
from behind, and, as there was no room to use a stick or a cutlass, drew
a pistol, and was on the point of putting a bullet into Toad. When he
found out what had really happened he was very angry indeed, and said,
‘Now this time that tiresome Toad SHALL be left behind!’

But Toad whimpered, and the other two promised that they would be
answerable for his good conduct, and at last the Badger was pacified,
and the procession moved on; only this time the Rat brought up the rear,
with a firm grip on the shoulder of Toad.

So they groped and shuffled along, with their ears pricked up and their
paws on their pistols, till at last the Badger said, ‘We ought by now to
be pretty nearly under the Hall.’

Then suddenly they heard, far away as it might be, and yet apparently
nearly over their heads, a confused murmur of sound, as if people were
shouting and cheering and stamping on the floor and hammering on tables.
The Toad’s nervous terrors all returned, but the Badger only remarked
placidly, ‘They ARE going it, the Weasels!’

The passage now began to slope upwards; they groped onward a little
further, and then the noise broke out again, quite distinct this time,
and very close above them. ‘Ooo-ray-ooray-oo-ray-ooray!’ they heard, and
the stamping of little feet on the floor, and the clinking of glasses
as little fists pounded on the table. ‘WHAT a time they’re having!’ said
the Badger. ‘Come on!’ They hurried along the passage till it came to a
full stop, and they found themselves standing under the trap-door that
led up into the butler’s pantry.

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there
was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, ‘Now, boys,
all together!’ and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door
and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves
standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the
banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At
last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could
be made out saying, ‘Well, I do not propose to detain you much
longer’--(great applause)--‘but before I resume my seat’--(renewed
cheering)--‘I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad.
We all know Toad!’--(great laughter)--‘GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST
Toad!’ (shrieks of merriment).

‘Only just let me get at him!’ muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

‘Hold hard a minute!’ said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty.
‘Get ready, all of you!’

‘--Let me sing you a little song,’ went on the voice, ‘which I have
composed on the subject of Toad’--(prolonged applause).

Then the Chief Weasel--for it was he--began in a high, squeaky voice--

          ‘Toad he went a-pleasuring
          Gaily down the street--’

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both
paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried--

‘The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.


What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly
up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace
and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs
be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the
panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully
into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great
cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his
stick and shouting his awful war-cry, ‘A Mole! A Mole!’ Rat; desperate
and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every
variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to
twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops
that chilled them to the marrow! ‘Toad he went a-pleasuring!’ he yelled.
‘I’LL pleasure ‘em!’ and he went straight for the Chief Weasel. They
were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed
full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and
flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals
of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the
chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall,
strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that
showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the
broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn
were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen
or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting
handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labours, leant on his stick and
wiped his honest brow.

‘Mole,’ he said,’ ‘you’re the best of fellows! Just cut along outside
and look after those stoat-sentries of yours, and see what they’re
doing. I’ve an idea that, thanks to you, we shan’t have much trouble
from them to-night!’

The Mole vanished promptly through a window; and the Badger bade the
other two set a table on its legs again, pick up knives and forks and
plates and glasses from the debris on the floor, and see if they could
find materials for a supper. ‘I want some grub, I do,’ he said, in that
rather common way he had of speaking. ‘Stir your stumps, Toad, and look
lively! We’ve got your house back for you, and you don’t offer us so
much as a sandwich.’ Toad felt rather hurt that the Badger didn’t say
pleasant things to him, as he had to the Mole, and tell him what a
fine fellow he was, and how splendidly he had fought; for he was rather
particularly pleased with himself and the way he had gone for the Chief
Weasel and sent him flying across the table with one blow of his stick.
But he bustled about, and so did the Rat, and soon they found some guava
jelly in a glass dish, and a cold chicken, a tongue that had hardly
been touched, some trifle, and quite a lot of lobster salad; and in the
pantry they came upon a basketful of French rolls and any quantity of
cheese, butter, and celery. They were just about to sit down when the
Mole clambered in through the window, chuckling, with an armful of

‘It’s all over,’ he reported. ‘From what I can make out, as soon as the
stoats, who were very nervous and jumpy already, heard the shrieks and
the yells and the uproar inside the hall, some of them threw down their
rifles and fled. The others stood fast for a bit, but when the weasels
came rushing out upon them they thought they were betrayed; and the
stoats grappled with the weasels, and the weasels fought to get away,
and they wrestled and wriggled and punched each other, and rolled
over and over, till most of ‘em rolled into the river! They’ve all
disappeared by now, one way or another; and I’ve got their rifles. So
that’s all right!’

‘Excellent and deserving animal!’ said the Badger, his mouth full of
chicken and trifle. ‘Now, there’s just one more thing I want you to do,
Mole, before you sit down to your supper along of us; and I wouldn’t
trouble you only I know I can trust you to see a thing done, and I wish
I could say the same of every one I know. I’d send Rat, if he wasn’t a
poet. I want you to take those fellows on the floor there upstairs with
you, and have some bedrooms cleaned out and tidied up and made really
comfortable. See that they sweep UNDER the beds, and put clean sheets
and pillow-cases on, and turn down one corner of the bed-clothes, just
as you know it ought to be done; and have a can of hot water, and clean
towels, and fresh cakes of soap, put in each room. And then you can give
them a licking a-piece, if it’s any satisfaction to you, and put them
out by the back-door, and we shan’t see any more of THEM, I fancy. And
then come along and have some of this cold tongue. It’s first rate. I’m
very pleased with you, Mole!’

The goodnatured Mole picked up a stick, formed his prisoners up in a
line on the floor, gave them the order ‘Quick march!’ and led his squad
off to the upper floor. After a time, he appeared again, smiling, and
said that every room was ready, and as clean as a new pin. ‘And I didn’t
have to lick them, either,’ he added. ‘I thought, on the whole, they had
had licking enough for one night, and the weasels, when I put the point
to them, quite agreed with me, and said they wouldn’t think of troubling
me. They were very penitent, and said they were extremely sorry for
what they had done, but it was all the fault of the Chief Weasel and the
stoats, and if ever they could do anything for us at any time to make
up, we had only got to mention it. So I gave them a roll a-piece, and
let them out at the back, and off they ran, as hard as they could!’

Then the Mole pulled his chair up to the table, and pitched into the
cold tongue; and Toad, like the gentleman he was, put all his jealousy
from him, and said heartily, ‘Thank you kindly, dear Mole, for all
your pains and trouble tonight, and especially for your cleverness this
morning!’ The Badger was pleased at that, and said, ‘There spoke my
brave Toad!’ So they finished their supper in great joy and contentment,
and presently retired to rest between clean sheets, safe in Toad’s
ancestral home, won back by matchless valour, consummate strategy, and a
proper handling of sticks.

The following morning, Toad, who had overslept himself as usual, came
down to breakfast disgracefully late, and found on the table a certain
quantity of egg-shells, some fragments of cold and leathery toast, a
coffee-pot three-fourths empty, and really very little else; which did
not tend to improve his temper, considering that, after all, it was his
own house. Through the French windows of the breakfast-room he could
see the Mole and the Water Rat sitting in wicker-chairs out on the lawn,
evidently telling each other stories; roaring with laughter and kicking
their short legs up in the air. The Badger, who was in an arm-chair and
deep in the morning paper, merely looked up and nodded when Toad entered
the room. But Toad knew his man, so he sat down and made the best
breakfast he could, merely observing to himself that he would get square
with the others sooner or later. When he had nearly finished, the Badger
looked up and remarked rather shortly: ‘I’m sorry, Toad, but I’m afraid
there’s a heavy morning’s work in front of you. You see, we really ought
to have a Banquet at once, to celebrate this affair. It’s expected of
you--in fact, it’s the rule.’

‘O, all right!’ said the Toad, readily. ‘Anything to oblige. Though
why on earth you should want to have a Banquet in the morning I cannot
understand. But you know I do not live to please myself, but merely to
find out what my friends want, and then try and arrange it for ‘em, you
dear old Badger!’

‘Don’t pretend to be stupider than you really are,’ replied the Badger,
crossly; ‘and don’t chuckle and splutter in your coffee while you’re
talking; it’s not manners. What I mean is, the Banquet will be at night,
of course, but the invitations will have to be written and got off at
once, and you’ve got to write ‘em. Now, sit down at that table--there’s
stacks of letter-paper on it, with “Toad Hall” at the top in blue and
gold--and write invitations to all our friends, and if you stick to it
we shall get them out before luncheon. And I’LL bear a hand, too; and
take my share of the burden. I’LL order the Banquet.’

‘What!’ cried Toad, dismayed. ‘Me stop indoors and write a lot of
rotten letters on a jolly morning like this, when I want to go around my
property, and set everything and everybody to rights, and swagger about
and enjoy myself! Certainly not! I’ll be--I’ll see you----Stop a minute,
though! Why, of course, dear Badger! What is my pleasure or convenience
compared with that of others! You wish it done, and it shall be done.
Go, Badger, order the Banquet, order what you like; then join our young
friends outside in their innocent mirth, oblivious of me and my cares
and toils. I sacrifice this fair morning on the altar of duty and

The Badger looked at him very suspiciously, but Toad’s frank, open
countenance made it difficult to suggest any unworthy motive in this
change of attitude. He quitted the room, accordingly, in the direction
of the kitchen, and as soon as the door had closed behind him, Toad
hurried to the writing-table. A fine idea had occurred to him while he
was talking. He WOULD write the invitations; and he would take care to
mention the leading part he had taken in the fight, and how he had laid
the Chief Weasel flat; and he would hint at his adventures, and what a
career of triumph he had to tell about; and on the fly-leaf he would set
out a sort of a programme of entertainment for the evening--something
like this, as he sketched it out in his head:--

  SPEECH. . . . BY TOAD.
  (There will be other speeches by TOAD during the evening.)


  SYNOPSIS--Our Prison System--the Waterways of Old
  England--Horse-dealing, and how to deal--Property,
  its rights and its duties--Back to the Land--
  A Typical English Squire.

  SONG. . . . BY TOAD. (Composed by himself.)

  will be sung in the course of the evening
  by the. . . COMPOSER.

The idea pleased him mightily, and he worked very hard and got all the
letters finished by noon, at which hour it was reported to him that
there was a small and rather bedraggled weasel at the door, inquiring
timidly whether he could be of any service to the gentlemen. Toad
swaggered out and found it was one of the prisoners of the previous
evening, very respectful and anxious to please. He patted him on the
head, shoved the bundle of invitations into his paw, and told him to
cut along quick and deliver them as fast as he could, and if he liked
to come back again in the evening, perhaps there might be a shilling
for him, or, again, perhaps there mightn’t; and the poor weasel seemed
really quite grateful, and hurried off eagerly to do his mission.

When the other animals came back to luncheon, very boisterous and
breezy after a morning on the river, the Mole, whose conscience had been
pricking him, looked doubtfully at Toad, expecting to find him sulky or
depressed. Instead, he was so uppish and inflated that the Mole began
to suspect something; while the Rat and the Badger exchanged significant

As soon as the meal was over, Toad thrust his paws deep into his
trouser-pockets, remarked casually, ‘Well, look after yourselves, you
fellows! Ask for anything you want!’ and was swaggering off in the
direction of the garden, where he wanted to think out an idea or two for
his coming speeches, when the Rat caught him by the arm.

Toad rather suspected what he was after, and did his best to get away;
but when the Badger took him firmly by the other arm he began to see
that the game was up. The two animals conducted him between them into
the small smoking-room that opened out of the entrance-hall, shut the
door, and put him into a chair. Then they both stood in front of
him, while Toad sat silent and regarded them with much suspicion and

‘Now, look here, Toad,’ said the Rat. ‘It’s about this Banquet, and
very sorry I am to have to speak to you like this. But we want you to
understand clearly, once and for all, that there are going to be no
speeches and no songs. Try and grasp the fact that on this occasion
we’re not arguing with you; we’re just telling you.’

Toad saw that he was trapped. They understood him, they saw through him,
they had got ahead of him. His pleasant dream was shattered.

‘Mayn’t I sing them just one LITTLE song?’ he pleaded piteously.

‘No, not ONE little song,’ replied the Rat firmly, though his heart bled
as he noticed the trembling lip of the poor disappointed Toad. ‘It’s no
good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting
and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise and--and--well, and
gross exaggeration and--and----’

‘And gas,’ put in the Badger, in his common way.

‘It’s for your own good, Toady,’ went on the Rat. ‘You know you MUST
turn over a new leaf sooner or later, and now seems a splendid time to
begin; a sort of turning-point in your career. Please don’t think that
saying all this doesn’t hurt me more than it hurts you.’

Toad remained a long while plunged in thought. At last he raised his
head, and the traces of strong emotion were visible on his features.
‘You have conquered, my friends,’ he said in broken accents. ‘It was,
to be sure, but a small thing that I asked--merely leave to blossom
and expand for yet one more evening, to let myself go and hear the
tumultuous applause that always seems to me--somehow--to bring out my
best qualities. However, you are right, I know, and I am wrong. Hence
forth I will be a very different Toad. My friends, you shall never have
occasion to blush for me again. But, O dear, O dear, this is a hard

And, pressing his handkerchief to his face, he left the room, with
faltering footsteps.

‘Badger,’ said the Rat, ‘_I_ feel like a brute; I wonder what YOU feel

‘O, I know, I know,’ said the Badger gloomily. ‘But the thing had to be
done. This good fellow has got to live here, and hold his own, and be
respected. Would you have him a common laughing-stock, mocked and jeered
at by stoats and weasels?’

‘Of course not,’ said the Rat. ‘And, talking of weasels, it’s lucky we
came upon that little weasel, just as he was setting out with Toad’s
invitations. I suspected something from what you told me, and had a look
at one or two; they were simply disgraceful. I confiscated the lot,
and the good Mole is now sitting in the blue boudoir, filling up plain,
simple invitation cards.’

* * * * *

At last the hour for the banquet began to draw near, and Toad, who on
leaving the others had retired to his bedroom, was still sitting there,
melancholy and thoughtful. His brow resting on his paw, he pondered long
and deeply. Gradually his countenance cleared, and he began to smile
long, slow smiles. Then he took to giggling in a shy, self-conscious
manner. At last he got up, locked the door, drew the curtains across
the windows, collected all the chairs in the room and arranged them in a
semicircle, and took up his position in front of them, swelling visibly.
Then he bowed, coughed twice, and, letting himself go, with uplifted
voice he sang, to the enraptured audience that his imagination so
clearly saw.

                  TOAD’S LAST LITTLE SONG!

  The Toad--came--home!
  There was panic in the parlours and howling in the halls,
  There was crying in the cow-sheds and shrieking in the stalls,
  When the Toad--came--home!

  When the Toad--came--home!
  There was smashing in of window and crashing in of door,
  There was chivvying of weasels that fainted on the floor,
  When the Toad--came--home!

  Bang! go the drums!
  The trumpeters are tooting and the soldiers are saluting,
  And the cannon they are shooting and the motor-cars are hooting,
  As the--Hero--comes!

  And let each one of the crowd try and shout it very loud,
  In honour of an animal of whom you’re justly proud,
  For it’s Toad’s--great--day!

He sang this very loud, with great unction and expression; and when he
had done, he sang it all over again.

Then he heaved a deep sigh; a long, long, long sigh.

Then he dipped his hairbrush in the water-jug, parted his hair in the
middle, and plastered it down very straight and sleek on each side of
his face; and, unlocking the door, went quietly down the stairs to greet
his guests, who he knew must be assembling in the drawing-room.

All the animals cheered when he entered, and crowded round to
congratulate him and say nice things about his courage, and his
cleverness, and his fighting qualities; but Toad only smiled faintly,
and murmured, ‘Not at all!’ Or, sometimes, for a change, ‘On the
contrary!’ Otter, who was standing on the hearthrug, describing to an
admiring circle of friends exactly how he would have managed things had
he been there, came forward with a shout, threw his arm round Toad’s
neck, and tried to take him round the room in triumphal progress; but
Toad, in a mild way, was rather snubby to him, remarking gently, as he
disengaged himself, ‘Badger’s was the mastermind; the Mole and the Water
Rat bore the brunt of the fighting; I merely served in the ranks and did
little or nothing.’ The animals were evidently puzzled and taken aback
by this unexpected attitude of his; and Toad felt, as he moved from one
guest to the other, making his modest responses, that he was an object
of absorbing interest to every one.

The Badger had ordered everything of the best, and the banquet was a
great success. There was much talking and laughter and chaff among the
animals, but through it all Toad, who of course was in the chair, looked
down his nose and murmured pleasant nothings to the animals on either
side of him. At intervals he stole a glance at the Badger and the Rat,
and always when he looked they were staring at each other with their
mouths open; and this gave him the greatest satisfaction. Some of the
younger and livelier animals, as the evening wore on, got whispering
to each other that things were not so amusing as they used to be in the
good old days; and there were some knockings on the table and cries of
‘Toad! Speech! Speech from Toad! Song! Mr. Toad’s song!’ But Toad only
shook his head gently, raised one paw in mild protest, and, by pressing
delicacies on his guests, by topical small-talk, and by earnest
inquiries after members of their families not yet old enough to appear
at social functions, managed to convey to them that this dinner was
being run on strictly conventional lines.

He was indeed an altered Toad!

* * * * *

After this climax, the four animals continued to lead their lives,
so rudely broken in upon by civil war, in great joy and contentment,
undisturbed by further risings or invasions. Toad, after due
consultation with his friends, selected a handsome gold chain and locket
set with pearls, which he dispatched to the gaoler’s daughter with
a letter that even the Badger admitted to be modest, grateful, and
appreciative; and the engine-driver, in his turn, was properly thanked
and compensated for all his pains and trouble. Under severe compulsion
from the Badger, even the barge-woman was, with some trouble, sought
out and the value of her horse discreetly made good to her; though Toad
kicked terribly at this, holding himself to be an instrument of Fate,
sent to punish fat women with mottled arms who couldn’t tell a real
gentleman when they saw one. The amount involved, it was true, was not
very burdensome, the gipsy’s valuation being admitted by local assessors
to be approximately correct.

Sometimes, in the course of long summer evenings, the friends would take
a stroll together in the Wild Wood, now successfully tamed so far as
they were concerned; and it was pleasing to see how respectfully they
were greeted by the inhabitants, and how the mother-weasels would bring
their young ones to the mouths of their holes, and say, pointing, ‘Look,
baby! There goes the great Mr. Toad! And that’s the gallant Water Rat, a
terrible fighter, walking along o’ him! And yonder comes the famous Mr.
Mole, of whom you so often have heard your father tell!’ But when their
infants were fractious and quite beyond control, they would quiet them
by telling how, if they didn’t hush them and not fret them, the terrible
grey Badger would up and get them. This was a base libel on Badger, who,
though he cared little about Society, was rather fond of children; but
it never failed to have its full effect.

End of Project Gutenberg’s The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame




By Kenneth Grahame

Author Of “The Golden Age,” “Dream Days,” Etc.


The Rat put out a neat little brown paw, gripped Toad firmly by
the scruff of the neck, and gave a great hoist and a pull; and the
water-logged Toad came up slowly but surely over the edge of the hole,
till at last he stood safe and sound in the hall, streaked with mud and
weed to be sure, and with the water streaming off him, but happy and
high-spirited as of old, now that he found himself once more in the
house of a friend, and dodgings and evasions were over, and he could lay
aside a disguise that was unworthy of his position and wanted such a lot
of living up to.

‘O, Ratty!’ he cried. ‘I’ve been through such times since I saw you
last, you can’t think! Such trials, such sufferings, and all so nobly
borne! Then such escapes, such disguises such subterfuges, and all so
cleverly planned and carried out! Been in prison--got out of it, of
course! Been thrown into a canal--swam ashore! Stole a horse--sold him
for a large sum of money! Humbugged everybody--made ‘em all do exactly
what I wanted! Oh, I AM a smart Toad, and no mistake! What do you think
my last exploit was? Just hold on till I tell you----’

‘Toad,’ said the Water Rat, gravely and firmly, ‘you go off upstairs
at once, and take off that old cotton rag that looks as if it might
formerly have belonged to some washerwoman, and clean yourself
thoroughly, and put on some of my clothes, and try and come down
looking like a gentleman if you CAN; for a more shabby, bedraggled,
disreputable-looking object than you are I never set eyes on in my whole
life! Now, stop swaggering and arguing, and be off! I’ll have something
to say to you later!’

Toad was at first inclined to stop and do some talking back at him. He
had had enough of being ordered about when he was in prison, and here
was the thing being begun all over again, apparently; and by a Rat,
too! However, he caught sight of himself in the looking-glass over the
hat-stand, with the rusty black bonnet perched rakishly over one eye,
and he changed his mind and went very quickly and humbly upstairs to the
Rat’s dressing-room. There he had a thorough wash and brush-up, changed
his clothes, and stood for a long time before the glass, contemplating
himself with pride and pleasure, and thinking what utter idiots all the
people must have been to have ever mistaken him for one moment for a

By the time he came down again luncheon was on the table, and very glad
Toad was to see it, for he had been through some trying experiences and
had taken much hard exercise since the excellent breakfast provided for
him by the gipsy. While they ate Toad told the Rat all his adventures,
dwelling chiefly on his own cleverness, and presence of mind in
emergencies, and cunning in tight places; and rather making out that he
had been having a gay and highly-coloured experience. But the more he
talked and boasted, the more grave and silent the Rat became.

When at last Toad had talked himself to a standstill, there was silence
for a while; and then the Rat said, ‘Now, Toady, I don’t want to give
you pain, after all you’ve been through already; but, seriously, don’t
you see what an awful ass you’ve been making of yourself? On your
own admission you have been handcuffed, imprisoned, starved, chased,
terrified out of your life, insulted, jeered at, and ignominiously flung
into the water--by a woman, too! Where’s the amusement in that? Where
does the fun come in? And all because you must needs go and steal a
motor-car. You know that you’ve never had anything but trouble from
motor-cars from the moment you first set eyes on one. But if you WILL
be mixed up with them--as you generally are, five minutes after you’ve
started--why STEAL them? Be a cripple, if you think it’s exciting; be a
bankrupt, for a change, if you’ve set your mind on it: but why choose
to be a convict? When are you going to be sensible, and think of your
friends, and try and be a credit to them? Do you suppose it’s any
pleasure to me, for instance, to hear animals saying, as I go about,
that I’m the chap that keeps company with gaol-birds?’

Now, it was a very comforting point in Toad’s character that he was a
thoroughly good-hearted animal and never minded being jawed by those
who were his real friends. And even when most set upon a thing, he was
always able to see the other side of the question. So although, while
the Rat was talking so seriously, he kept saying to himself mutinously,
‘But it WAS fun, though! Awful fun!’ and making strange suppressed
noises inside him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and other sounds
resembling stifled snorts, or the opening of soda-water bottles, yet
when the Rat had quite finished, he heaved a deep sigh and said, very
nicely and humbly, ‘Quite right, Ratty! How SOUND you always are! Yes,
I’ve been a conceited old ass, I can quite see that; but now I’m going
to be a good Toad, and not do it any more. As for motor-cars, I’ve not
been at all so keen about them since my last ducking in that river of
yours. The fact is, while I was hanging on to the edge of your hole
and getting my breath, I had a sudden idea--a really brilliant
idea--connected with motor-boats--there, there! don’t take on so, old
chap, and stamp, and upset things; it was only an idea, and we won’t
talk any more about it now. We’ll have our coffee, AND a smoke, and a
quiet chat, and then I’m going to stroll quietly down to Toad Hall, and
get into clothes of my own, and set things going again on the old lines.
I’ve had enough of adventures. I shall lead a quiet, steady, respectable
life, pottering about my property, and improving it, and doing a little
landscape gardening at times. There will always be a bit of dinner for
my friends when they come to see me; and I shall keep a pony-chaise to
jog about the country in, just as I used to in the good old days, before
I got restless, and wanted to DO things.’

‘Stroll quietly down to Toad Hall?’ cried the Rat, greatly excited.
‘What are you talking about? Do you mean to say you haven’t HEARD?’

‘Heard what?’ said Toad, turning rather pale. ‘Go on, Ratty! Quick!
Don’t spare me! What haven’t I heard?’

‘Do you mean to tell me,’ shouted the Rat, thumping with his little
fist upon the table, ‘that you’ve heard nothing about the Stoats and

What, the Wild Wooders?’ cried Toad, trembling in every limb. ‘No, not a
word! What have they been doing?’

‘--And how they’ve been and taken Toad Hall?’ continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a
large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the
table, plop! plop!

‘Go on, Ratty,’ he murmured presently; ‘tell me all. The worst is over.
I am an animal again. I can bear it.’

‘When you--got--into that--that--trouble of yours,’ said the Rat, slowly
and impressively; ‘I mean, when you--disappeared from society for a
time, over that misunderstanding about a--a machine, you know--’

Toad merely nodded.

‘Well, it was a good deal talked about down here, naturally,’ continued
the Rat, ‘not only along the river-side, but even in the Wild Wood.
Animals took sides, as always happens. The River-bankers stuck up for
you, and said you had been infamously treated, and there was no justice
to be had in the land nowadays. But the Wild Wood animals said hard
things, and served you right, and it was time this sort of thing was
stopped. And they got very cocky, and went about saying you were done
for this time! You would never come back again, never, never!’

Toad nodded once more, keeping silence.

‘That’s the sort of little beasts they are,’ the Rat went on. ‘But Mole
and Badger, they stuck out, through thick and thin, that you would come
back again soon, somehow. They didn’t know exactly how, but somehow!’

Toad began to sit up in his chair again, and to smirk a little.

‘They argued from history,’ continued the Rat. ‘They said that
no criminal laws had ever been known to prevail against cheek and
plausibility such as yours, combined with the power of a long purse. So
they arranged to move their things in to Toad Hall, and sleep there, and
keep it aired, and have it all ready for you when you turned up. They
didn’t guess what was going to happen, of course; still, they had their
suspicions of the Wild Wood animals. Now I come to the most painful and
tragic part of my story. One dark night--it was a VERY dark night, and
blowing hard, too, and raining simply cats and dogs--a band of weasels,
armed to the teeth, crept silently up the carriage-drive to the front
entrance. Simultaneously, a body of desperate ferrets, advancing through
the kitchen-garden, possessed themselves of the backyard and offices;
while a company of skirmishing stoats who stuck at nothing occupied the
conservatory and the billiard-room, and held the French windows opening
on to the lawn.

‘The Mole and the Badger were sitting by the fire in the smoking-room,
telling stories and suspecting nothing, for it wasn’t a night for any
animals to be out in, when those bloodthirsty villains broke down the
doors and rushed in upon them from every side. They made the best fight
they could, but what was the good? They were unarmed, and taken by
surprise, and what can two animals do against hundreds? They took and
beat them severely with sticks, those two poor faithful creatures,
and turned them out into the cold and the wet, with many insulting and
uncalled-for remarks!’

Here the unfeeling Toad broke into a snigger, and then pulled himself
together and tried to look particularly solemn.

‘And the Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since,’
continued the Rat; ‘and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the
day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I’m told)
it’s not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and
making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about--well, about
prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no
humour in them. And they’re telling the tradespeople and everybody that
they’ve come to stay for good.’

‘O, have they!’ said Toad getting up and seizing a stick. ‘I’ll jolly
soon see about that!’

‘It’s no good, Toad!’ called the Rat after him. ‘You’d better come back
and sit down; you’ll only get into trouble.’

But the Toad was off, and there was no holding him. He marched rapidly
down the road, his stick over his shoulder, fuming and muttering to
himself in his anger, till he got near his front gate, when suddenly
there popped up from behind the palings a long yellow ferret with a gun.

‘Who comes there?’ said the ferret sharply.

‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Toad, very angrily. ‘What do you mean by
talking like that to me? Come out of that at once, or I’ll----’

The ferret said never a word, but he brought his gun up to his shoulder.
Toad prudently dropped flat in the road, and BANG! a bullet whistled
over his head.

The startled Toad scrambled to his feet and scampered off down the road
as hard as he could; and as he ran he heard the ferret laughing and
other horrid thin little laughs taking it up and carrying on the sound.

He went back, very crestfallen, and told the Water Rat.

‘What did I tell you?’ said the Rat. ‘It’s no good. They’ve got sentries
posted, and they are all armed. You must just wait.’

Still, Toad was not inclined to give in all at once. So he got out the
boat, and set off rowing up the river to where the garden front of Toad
Hall came down to the waterside.

Arriving within sight of his old home, he rested on his oars and
surveyed the land cautiously. All seemed very peaceful and deserted and
quiet. He could see the whole front of Toad Hall, glowing in the evening
sunshine, the pigeons settling by twos and threes along the straight
line of the roof; the garden, a blaze of flowers; the creek that led
up to the boat-house, the little wooden bridge that crossed it; all
tranquil, uninhabited, apparently waiting for his return. He would try
the boat-house first, he thought. Very warily he paddled up to the mouth
of the creek, and was just passing under the bridge, when ... CRASH!

A great stone, dropped from above, smashed through the bottom of the
boat. It filled and sank, and Toad found himself struggling in deep
water. Looking up, he saw two stoats leaning over the parapet of the
bridge and watching him with great glee. ‘It will be your head next
time, Toady!’ they called out to him. The indignant Toad swam to shore,
while the stoats laughed and laughed, supporting each other, and laughed
again, till they nearly had two fits--that is, one fit each, of course.

The Toad retraced his weary way on foot, and related his disappointing
experiences to the Water Rat once more.

‘Well, WHAT did I tell you?’ said the Rat very crossly. ‘And, now, look
here! See what you’ve been and done! Lost me my boat that I was so fond
of, that’s what you’ve done! And simply ruined that nice suit of clothes
that I lent you! Really, Toad, of all the trying animals--I wonder you
manage to keep any friends at all!’

The Toad saw at once how wrongly and foolishly he had acted. He admitted
his errors and wrong-headedness and made a full apology to Rat for
losing his boat and spoiling his clothes. And he wound up by saying,
with that frank self-surrender which always disarmed his friend’s
criticism and won them back to his side, ‘Ratty! I see that I have been
a headstrong and a wilful Toad! Henceforth, believe me, I will be humble
and submissive, and will take no action without your kind advice and
full approval!’

‘If that is really so,’ said the good-natured Rat, already appeased,
‘then my advice to you is, considering the lateness of the hour, to sit
down and have your supper, which will be on the table in a minute, and
be very patient. For I am convinced that we can do nothing until we
have seen the Mole and the Badger, and heard their latest news, and held
conference and taken their advice in this difficult matter.’

‘Oh, ah, yes, of course, the Mole and the Badger,’ said Toad, lightly.
‘What’s become of them, the dear fellows? I had forgotten all about

‘Well may you ask!’ said the Rat reproachfully. ‘While you were riding
about the country in expensive motor-cars, and galloping proudly on
blood-horses, and breakfasting on the fat of the land, those two poor
devoted animals have been camping out in the open, in every sort of
weather, living very rough by day and lying very hard by night; watching
over your house, patrolling your boundaries, keeping a constant eye on
the stoats and the weasels, scheming and planning and contriving how to
get your property back for you. You don’t deserve to have such true and
loyal friends, Toad, you don’t, really. Some day, when it’s too late,
you’ll be sorry you didn’t value them more while you had them!’

‘I’m an ungrateful beast, I know,’ sobbed Toad, shedding bitter tears.
‘Let me go out and find them, out into the cold, dark night, and share
their hardships, and try and prove by----Hold on a bit! Surely I heard
the chink of dishes on a tray! Supper’s here at last, hooray! Come on,

The Rat remembered that poor Toad had been on prison fare for a
considerable time, and that large allowances had therefore to be made.
He followed him to the table accordingly, and hospitably encouraged him
in his gallant efforts to make up for past privations.

They had just finished their meal and resumed their arm-chairs, when
there came a heavy knock at the door.

Toad was nervous, but the Rat, nodding mysteriously at him, went
straight up to the door and opened it, and in walked Mr. Badger.

He had all the appearance of one who for some nights had been kept away
from home and all its little comforts and conveniences. His shoes were
covered with mud, and he was looking very rough and touzled; but then
he had never been a very smart man, the Badger, at the best of times. He
came solemnly up to Toad, shook him by the paw, and said, ‘Welcome home,
Toad! Alas! what am I saying? Home, indeed! This is a poor home-coming.
Unhappy Toad!’ Then he turned his back on him, sat down to the table,
drew his chair up, and helped himself to a large slice of cold pie.

Toad was quite alarmed at this very serious and portentous style of
greeting; but the Rat whispered to him, ‘Never mind; don’t take any
notice; and don’t say anything to him just yet. He’s always rather low
and despondent when he’s wanting his victuals. In half an hour’s time
he’ll be quite a different animal.’

So they waited in silence, and presently there came another and a
lighter knock. The Rat, with a nod to Toad, went to the door and ushered
in the Mole, very shabby and unwashed, with bits of hay and straw
sticking in his fur.

‘Hooray! Here’s old Toad!’ cried the Mole, his face beaming. ‘Fancy
having you back again!’ And he began to dance round him. ‘We never
dreamt you would turn up so soon! Why, you must have managed to escape,
you clever, ingenious, intelligent Toad!’

The Rat, alarmed, pulled him by the elbow; but it was too late. Toad was
puffing and swelling already.

‘Clever? O, no!’ he said. ‘I’m not really clever, according to my
friends. I’ve only broken out of the strongest prison in England, that’s
all! And captured a railway train and escaped on it, that’s all! And
disguised myself and gone about the country humbugging everybody, that’s
all! O, no! I’m a stupid ass, I am! I’ll tell you one or two of my
little adventures, Mole, and you shall judge for yourself!’

‘Well, well,’ said the Mole, moving towards the supper-table; ‘supposing
you talk while I eat. Not a bite since breakfast! O my! O my!’ And he
sat down and helped himself liberally to cold beef and pickles.

Toad straddled on the hearth-rug, thrust his paw into his trouser-pocket
and pulled out a handful of silver. ‘Look at that!’ he cried, displaying
it. ‘That’s not so bad, is it, for a few minutes’ work? And how do you
think I done it, Mole? Horse-dealing! That’s how I done it!’

‘Go on, Toad,’ said the Mole, immensely interested.

‘Toad, do be quiet, please!’ said the Rat. ‘And don’t you egg him on,
Mole, when you know what he is; but please tell us as soon as possible
what the position is, and what’s best to be done, now that Toad is back
at last.’

‘The position’s about as bad as it can be,’ replied the Mole grumpily;
‘and as for what’s to be done, why, blest if I know! The Badger and I
have been round and round the place, by night and by day; always the
same thing. Sentries posted everywhere, guns poked out at us, stones
thrown at us; always an animal on the look-out, and when they see us,
my! how they do laugh! That’s what annoys me most!’

‘It’s a very difficult situation,’ said the Rat, reflecting deeply. ‘But
I think I see now, in the depths of my mind, what Toad really ought to
do. I will tell you. He ought to----’

‘No, he oughtn’t!’ shouted the Mole, with his mouth full. ‘Nothing of
the sort! You don’t understand. What he ought to do is, he ought to----’

‘Well, I shan’t do it, anyway!’ cried Toad, getting excited. ‘I’m not
going to be ordered about by you fellows! It’s my house we’re talking
about, and I know exactly what to do, and I’ll tell you. I’m going

By this time they were all three talking at once, at the top of their
voices, and the noise was simply deafening, when a thin, dry voice made
itself heard, saying, ‘Be quiet at once, all of you!’ and instantly
every one was silent.

It was the Badger, who, having finished his pie, had turned round in his
chair and was looking at them severely. When he saw that he had secured
their attention, and that they were evidently waiting for him to address
them, he turned back to the table again and reached out for the cheese.
And so great was the respect commanded by the solid qualities of that
admirable animal, that not another word was uttered until he had quite
finished his repast and brushed the crumbs from his knees. The Toad
fidgeted a good deal, but the Rat held him firmly down.

When the Badger had quite done, he got up from his seat and stood before
the fireplace, reflecting deeply. At last he spoke.

‘Toad!’ he said severely. ‘You bad, troublesome little animal! Aren’t
you ashamed of yourself? What do you think your father, my old friend,
would have said if he had been here to-night, and had known of all your
goings on?’

Toad, who was on the sofa by this time, with his legs up, rolled over on
his face, shaken by sobs of contrition.

‘There, there!’ went on the Badger, more kindly. ‘Never mind. Stop
crying. We’re going to let bygones be bygones, and try and turn over a
new leaf. But what the Mole says is quite true. The stoats are on guard,
at every point, and they make the best sentinels in the world. It’s
quite useless to think of attacking the place. They’re too strong for

‘Then it’s all over,’ sobbed the Toad, crying into the sofa cushions. ‘I
shall go and enlist for a soldier, and never see my dear Toad Hall any

‘Come, cheer up, Toady!’ said the Badger. ‘There are more ways of
getting back a place than taking it by storm. I haven’t said my last
word yet. Now I’m going to tell you a great secret.’

Toad sat up slowly and dried his eyes. Secrets had an immense attraction
for him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of
unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal,
after having faithfully promised not to.

‘There--is--an--underground--passage,’ said the Badger, impressively,
‘that leads from the river-bank, quite near here, right up into the
middle of Toad Hall.’

‘O, nonsense! Badger,’ said Toad, rather airily. ‘You’ve been listening
to some of the yarns they spin in the public-houses about here. I know
every inch of Toad Hall, inside and out. Nothing of the sort, I do
assure you!’

‘My young friend,’ said the Badger, with great severity, ‘your father,
who was a worthy animal--a lot worthier than some others I know--was
a particular friend of mine, and told me a great deal he wouldn’t have
dreamt of telling you. He discovered that passage--he didn’t make it,
of course; that was done hundreds of years before he ever came to live
there--and he repaired it and cleaned it out, because he thought it
might come in useful some day, in case of trouble or danger; and he
showed it to me. “Don’t let my son know about it,” he said. “He’s a good
boy, but very light and volatile in character, and simply cannot hold
his tongue. If he’s ever in a real fix, and it would be of use to him,
you may tell him about the secret passage; but not before.”’

The other animals looked hard at Toad to see how he would take it. Toad
was inclined to be sulky at first; but he brightened up immediately,
like the good fellow he was.

‘Well, well,’ he said; ‘perhaps I am a bit of a talker. A popular fellow
such as I am--my friends get round me--we chaff, we sparkle, we tell
witty stories--and somehow my tongue gets wagging. I have the gift of
conversation. I’ve been told I ought to have a salon, whatever that may
be. Never mind. Go on, Badger. How’s this passage of yours going to help

‘I’ve found out a thing or two lately,’ continued the Badger. ‘I got
Otter to disguise himself as a sweep and call at the back-door with
brushes over his shoulder, asking for a job. There’s going to be a big
banquet to-morrow night. It’s somebody’s birthday--the Chief Weasel’s,
I believe--and all the weasels will be gathered together in the
dining-hall, eating and drinking and laughing and carrying on,
suspecting nothing. No guns, no swords, no sticks, no arms of any sort

‘But the sentinels will be posted as usual,’ remarked the Rat.

‘Exactly,’ said the Badger; ‘that is my point. The weasels will trust
entirely to their excellent sentinels. And that is where the passage
comes in. That very useful tunnel leads right up under the butler’s
pantry, next to the dining-hall!’

‘Aha! that squeaky board in the butler’s pantry!’ said Toad. ‘Now I
understand it!’

‘We shall creep out quietly into the butler’s pantry--’ cried the Mole.

‘--with our pistols and swords and sticks--’ shouted the Rat.

‘--and rush in upon them,’ said the Badger.

‘--and whack ‘em, and whack ‘em, and whack ‘em!’ cried the Toad in
ecstasy, running round and round the room, and jumping over the chairs.

‘Very well, then,’ said the Badger, resuming his usual dry manner, ‘our
plan is settled, and there’s nothing more for you to argue and squabble
about. So, as it’s getting very late, all of you go right off to bed at
once. We will make all the necessary arrangements in the course of the
morning to-morrow.’

Toad, of course, went off to bed dutifully with the rest--he knew better
than to refuse--though he was feeling much too excited to sleep. But
he had had a long day, with many events crowded into it; and sheets and
blankets were very friendly and comforting things, after plain straw,
and not too much of it, spread on the stone floor of a draughty cell;
and his head had not been many seconds on his pillow before he was
snoring happily. Naturally, he dreamt a good deal; about roads that ran
away from him just when he wanted them, and canals that chased him and
caught him, and a barge that sailed into the banqueting-hall with his
week’s washing, just as he was giving a dinner-party; and he was alone
in the secret passage, pushing onwards, but it twisted and turned round
and shook itself, and sat up on its end; yet somehow, at the last,
he found himself back in Toad Hall, safe and triumphant, with all his
friends gathered round about him, earnestly assuring him that he really
was a clever Toad.

He slept till a late hour next morning, and by the time he got down
he found that the other animals had finished their breakfast some time
before. The Mole had slipped off somewhere by himself, without telling
any one where he was going to. The Badger sat in the arm-chair, reading
the paper, and not concerning himself in the slightest about what was
going to happen that very evening. The Rat, on the other hand, was
running round the room busily, with his arms full of weapons of every
kind, distributing them in four little heaps on the floor, and saying
excitedly under his breath, as he ran, ‘Here’s-a-sword-for-the-Rat,
here’s-a-sword-for-the Mole, here’s-a-sword-for-the-Toad,
here’s-a-sword-for-the-Badger! Here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Rat,
here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Mole, here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Toad,
here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Badger!’ And so on, in a regular, rhythmical
way, while the four little heaps gradually grew and grew.

‘That’s all very well, Rat,’ said the Badger presently, looking at the
busy little animal over the edge of his newspaper; ‘I’m not blaming you.
But just let us once get past the stoats, with those detestable guns of
theirs, and I assure you we shan’t want any swords or pistols. We four,
with our sticks, once we’re inside the dining-hall, why, we shall clear
the floor of all the lot of them in five minutes. I’d have done the
whole thing by myself, only I didn’t want to deprive you fellows of the

‘It’s as well to be on the safe side,’ said the Rat reflectively,
polishing a pistol-barrel on his sleeve and looking along it.

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and
swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. ‘I’ll learn ‘em to
steal my house!’ he cried. ‘I’ll learn ‘em, I’ll learn ‘em!’

‘Don’t say “learn ‘em,” Toad,’ said the Rat, greatly shocked. ‘It’s not
good English.’

‘What are you always nagging at Toad for?’ inquired the Badger, rather
peevishly. ‘What’s the matter with his English? It’s the same what I use
myself, and if it’s good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for

‘I’m very sorry,’ said the Rat humbly. ‘Only I THINK it ought to be
“teach ‘em,” not “learn ‘em.”’

‘But we don’t WANT to teach ‘em,’ replied the Badger. ‘We want to LEARN
‘em--learn ‘em, learn ‘em! And what’s more, we’re going to DO it, too!’

‘Oh, very well, have it your own way,’ said the Rat. He was getting
rather muddled about it himself, and presently he retired into a corner,
where he could be heard muttering, ‘Learn ‘em, teach ‘em, teach ‘em,
learn ‘em!’ till the Badger told him rather sharply to leave off.

Presently the Mole came tumbling into the room, evidently very pleased
with himself. ‘I’ve been having such fun!’ he began at once; ‘I’ve been
getting a rise out of the stoats!’

‘I hope you’ve been very careful, Mole?’ said the Rat anxiously.

‘I should hope so, too,’ said the Mole confidently. ‘I got the idea when
I went into the kitchen, to see about Toad’s breakfast being kept
hot for him. I found that old washerwoman-dress that he came home in
yesterday, hanging on a towel-horse before the fire. So I put it on, and
the bonnet as well, and the shawl, and off I went to Toad Hall, as bold
as you please. The sentries were on the look-out, of course, with their
guns and their “Who comes there?” and all the rest of their nonsense.
“Good morning, gentlemen!” says I, very respectful. “Want any washing
done to-day?”

‘They looked at me very proud and stiff and haughty, and said, “Go away,
washerwoman! We don’t do any washing on duty.” “Or any other time?” says
I. Ho, ho, ho! Wasn’t I FUNNY, Toad?’

‘Poor, frivolous animal!’ said Toad, very loftily. The fact is, he felt
exceedingly jealous of Mole for what he had just done. It was exactly
what he would have liked to have done himself, if only he had thought of
it first, and hadn’t gone and overslept himself.

‘Some of the stoats turned quite pink,’ continued the Mole, ‘and the
Sergeant in charge, he said to me, very short, he said, “Now run away,
my good woman, run away! Don’t keep my men idling and talking on their
posts.” “Run away?” says I; “it won’t be me that’ll be running away, in
a very short time from now!”’

‘O MOLY, how could you?’ said the Rat, dismayed.

The Badger laid down his paper.

‘I could see them pricking up their ears and looking at each other,’
went on the Mole; ‘and the Sergeant said to them, “Never mind HER; she
doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”’

‘“O! don’t I?”’ said I. ‘“Well, let me tell you this. My daughter, she
washes for Mr. Badger, and that’ll show you whether I know what I’m
talking about; and YOU’LL know pretty soon, too! A hundred bloodthirsty
badgers, armed with rifles, are going to attack Toad Hall this very
night, by way of the paddock. Six boatloads of Rats, with pistols and
cutlasses, will come up the river and effect a landing in the
garden; while a picked body of Toads, known at the Die-hards, or the
Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before
them, yelling for vengeance. There won’t be much left of you to wash, by
the time they’ve done with you, unless you clear out while you have
the chance!” Then I ran away, and when I was out of sight I hid; and
presently I came creeping back along the ditch and took a peep at them
through the hedge. They were all as nervous and flustered as could be,
running all ways at once, and falling over each other, and every one
giving orders to everybody else and not listening; and the Sergeant kept
sending off parties of stoats to distant parts of the grounds, and then
sending other fellows to fetch ‘em back again; and I heard them
saying to each other, “That’s just like the weasels; they’re to stop
comfortably in the banqueting-hall, and have feasting and toasts and
songs and all sorts of fun, while we must stay on guard in the cold and
the dark, and in the end be cut to pieces by bloodthirsty Badgers!’”

‘Oh, you silly ass, Mole!’ cried Toad, ‘You’ve been and spoilt

‘Mole,’ said the Badger, in his dry, quiet way, ‘I perceive you have
more sense in your little finger than some other animals have in the
whole of their fat bodies. You have managed excellently, and I begin to
have great hopes of you. Good Mole! Clever Mole!’

The Toad was simply wild with jealousy, more especially as he couldn’t
make out for the life of him what the Mole had done that was so
particularly clever; but, fortunately for him, before he could show
temper or expose himself to the Badger’s sarcasm, the bell rang for

It was a simple but sustaining meal--bacon and broad beans, and a
macaroni pudding; and when they had quite done, the Badger settled
himself into an arm-chair, and said, ‘Well, we’ve got our work cut out
for us to-night, and it will probably be pretty late before we’re quite
through with it; so I’m just going to take forty winks, while I can.’
And he drew a handkerchief over his face and was soon snoring.

The anxious and laborious Rat at once resumed his preparations,
and started running between his four little heaps, muttering,
‘Here’s-a-belt-for-the-Rat, here’s-a-belt-for-the-Mole,
here’s-a-belt-for-the-Toad, here’s-a-belt-for-the-Badger!’ and so on,
with every fresh accoutrement he produced, to which there seemed really
no end; so the Mole drew his arm through Toad’s, led him out into the
open air, shoved him into a wicker chair, and made him tell him all his
adventures from beginning to end, which Toad was only too willing to
do. The Mole was a good listener, and Toad, with no one to check his
statements or to criticise in an unfriendly spirit, rather let himself
go. Indeed, much that he related belonged more properly to the category
of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of
ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and the raciest
adventures; and why should they not be truly ours, as much as the
somewhat inadequate things that really come off?



By Kenneth Grahame

Author Of “The Golden Age,” “Dream Days,” Etc.


The front door of the hollow tree faced eastwards, so Toad was called at
an early hour; partly by the bright sunlight streaming in on him, partly
by the exceeding coldness of his toes, which made him dream that he was
at home in bed in his own handsome room with the Tudor window, on a cold
winter’s night, and his bedclothes had got up, grumbling and protesting
they couldn’t stand the cold any longer, and had run downstairs to the
kitchen fire to warm themselves; and he had followed, on bare feet,
along miles and miles of icy stone-paved passages, arguing and
beseeching them to be reasonable. He would probably have been aroused
much earlier, had he not slept for some weeks on straw over stone flags,
and almost forgotten the friendly feeling of thick blankets pulled well
up round the chin.

Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes first and his complaining toes next,
wondered for a moment where he was, looking round for familiar
stone wall and little barred window; then, with a leap of the heart,
remembered everything--his escape, his flight, his pursuit; remembered,
first and best thing of all, that he was free!

Free! The word and the thought alone were worth fifty blankets. He was
warm from end to end as he thought of the jolly world outside, waiting
eagerly for him to make his triumphal entrance, ready to serve him
and play up to him, anxious to help him and to keep him company, as it
always had been in days of old before misfortune fell upon him. He shook
himself and combed the dry leaves out of his hair with his fingers; and,
his toilet complete, marched forth into the comfortable morning sun,
cold but confident, hungry but hopeful, all nervous terrors of yesterday
dispelled by rest and sleep and frank and heartening sunshine.

He had the world all to himself, that early summer morning. The dewy
woodland, as he threaded it, was solitary and still: the green fields
that succeeded the trees were his own to do as he liked with; the road
itself, when he reached it, in that loneliness that was everywhere,
seemed, like a stray dog, to be looking anxiously for company. Toad,
however, was looking for something that could talk, and tell him clearly
which way he ought to go. It is all very well, when you have a light
heart, and a clear conscience, and money in your pocket, and nobody
scouring the country for you to drag you off to prison again, to follow
where the road beckons and points, not caring whither. The practical
Toad cared very much indeed, and he could have kicked the road for its
helpless silence when every minute was of importance to him.

The reserved rustic road was presently joined by a shy little brother in
the shape of a canal, which took its hand and ambled along by its side
in perfect confidence, but with the same tongue-tied, uncommunicative
attitude towards strangers. ‘Bother them!’ said Toad to himself. ‘But,
anyhow, one thing’s clear. They must both be coming FROM somewhere,
and going TO somewhere. You can’t get over that. Toad, my boy!’ So he
marched on patiently by the water’s edge.

Round a bend in the canal came plodding a solitary horse, stooping
forward as if in anxious thought. From rope traces attached to his
collar stretched a long line, taut, but dipping with his stride, the
further part of it dripping pearly drops. Toad let the horse pass, and
stood waiting for what the fates were sending him.

With a pleasant swirl of quiet water at its blunt bow the barge slid up
alongside of him, its gaily painted gunwale level with the towing-path,
its sole occupant a big stout woman wearing a linen sun-bonnet, one
brawny arm laid along the tiller.

‘A nice morning, ma’am!’ she remarked to Toad, as she drew up level with

‘I dare say it is, ma’am!’ responded Toad politely, as he walked along
the tow-path abreast of her. ‘I dare it IS a nice morning to them that’s
not in sore trouble, like what I am. Here’s my married daughter, she
sends off to me post-haste to come to her at once; so off I comes, not
knowing what may be happening or going to happen, but fearing the worst,
as you will understand, ma’am, if you’re a mother, too. And I’ve left my
business to look after itself--I’m in the washing and laundering line,
you must know, ma’am--and I’ve left my young children to look after
themselves, and a more mischievous and troublesome set of young imps
doesn’t exist, ma’am; and I’ve lost all my money, and lost my way, and
as for what may be happening to my married daughter, why, I don’t like
to think of it, ma’am!’

‘Where might your married daughter be living, ma’am?’ asked the

‘She lives near to the river, ma’am,’ replied Toad. ‘Close to a fine
house called Toad Hall, that’s somewheres hereabouts in these parts.
Perhaps you may have heard of it.’

‘Toad Hall? Why, I’m going that way myself,’ replied the barge-woman.
‘This canal joins the river some miles further on, a little above Toad
Hall; and then it’s an easy walk. You come along in the barge with me,
and I’ll give you a lift.’

She steered the barge close to the bank, and Toad, with many humble and
grateful acknowledgments, stepped lightly on board and sat down with
great satisfaction. ‘Toad’s luck again!’ thought he. ‘I always come out
on top!’

‘So you’re in the washing business, ma’am?’ said the barge-woman
politely, as they glided along. ‘And a very good business you’ve got
too, I dare say, if I’m not making too free in saying so.’

‘Finest business in the whole country,’ said Toad airily. ‘All the
gentry come to me--wouldn’t go to any one else if they were paid, they
know me so well. You see, I understand my work thoroughly, and attend to
it all myself. Washing, ironing, clear-starching, making up gents’ fine
shirts for evening wear--everything’s done under my own eye!’

‘But surely you don’t DO all that work yourself, ma’am?’ asked the
barge-woman respectfully.

‘O, I have girls,’ said Toad lightly: ‘twenty girls or thereabouts,
always at work. But you know what GIRLS are, ma’am! Nasty little
hussies, that’s what _I_ call ‘em!’

‘So do I, too,’ said the barge-woman with great heartiness. ‘But I dare
say you set yours to rights, the idle trollops! And are you very fond of

‘I love it,’ said Toad. ‘I simply dote on it. Never so happy as when
I’ve got both arms in the wash-tub. But, then, it comes so easy to me!
No trouble at all! A real pleasure, I assure you, ma’am!’

‘What a bit of luck, meeting you!’ observed the barge-woman,
thoughtfully. ‘A regular piece of good fortune for both of us!’

‘Why, what do you mean?’ asked Toad, nervously.

‘Well, look at me, now,’ replied the barge-woman. ‘_I_ like washing,
too, just the same as you do; and for that matter, whether I like it or
not I have got to do all my own, naturally, moving about as I do. Now my
husband, he’s such a fellow for shirking his work and leaving the barge
to me, that never a moment do I get for seeing to my own affairs. By
rights he ought to be here now, either steering or attending to the
horse, though luckily the horse has sense enough to attend to himself.
Instead of which, he’s gone off with the dog, to see if they can’t pick
up a rabbit for dinner somewhere. Says he’ll catch me up at the next
lock. Well, that’s as may be--I don’t trust him, once he gets off with
that dog, who’s worse than he is. But meantime, how am I to get on with
my washing?’

‘O, never mind about the washing,’ said Toad, not liking the subject.
‘Try and fix your mind on that rabbit. A nice fat young rabbit, I’ll be
bound. Got any onions?’

‘I can’t fix my mind on anything but my washing,’ said the barge-woman,
‘and I wonder you can be talking of rabbits, with such a joyful prospect
before you. There’s a heap of things of mine that you’ll find in
a corner of the cabin. If you’ll just take one or two of the most
necessary sort--I won’t venture to describe them to a lady like you, but
you’ll recognise them at a glance--and put them through the wash-tub as
we go along, why, it’ll be a pleasure to you, as you rightly say, and a
real help to me. You’ll find a tub handy, and soap, and a kettle on the
stove, and a bucket to haul up water from the canal with. Then I shall
know you’re enjoying yourself, instead of sitting here idle, looking at
the scenery and yawning your head off.’

‘Here, you let me steer!’ said Toad, now thoroughly frightened, ‘and
then you can get on with your washing your own way. I might spoil your
things, or not do ‘em as you like. I’m more used to gentlemen’s things
myself. It’s my special line.’

‘Let you steer?’ replied the barge-woman, laughing. ‘It takes some
practice to steer a barge properly. Besides, it’s dull work, and I want
you to be happy. No, you shall do the washing you are so fond of, and
I’ll stick to the steering that I understand. Don’t try and deprive me
of the pleasure of giving you a treat!’

Toad was fairly cornered. He looked for escape this way and that,
saw that he was too far from the bank for a flying leap, and sullenly
resigned himself to his fate. ‘If it comes to that,’ he thought in
desperation, ‘I suppose any fool can WASH!’

He fetched tub, soap, and other necessaries from the cabin, selected a
few garments at random, tried to recollect what he had seen in casual
glances through laundry windows, and set to.

A long half-hour passed, and every minute of it saw Toad getting crosser
and crosser. Nothing that he could do to the things seemed to please
them or do them good. He tried coaxing, he tried slapping, he tried
punching; they smiled back at him out of the tub unconverted, happy in
their original sin. Once or twice he looked nervously over his shoulder
at the barge-woman, but she appeared to be gazing out in front of her,
absorbed in her steering. His back ached badly, and he noticed with
dismay that his paws were beginning to get all crinkly. Now Toad was
very proud of his paws. He muttered under his breath words that should
never pass the lips of either washerwomen or Toads; and lost the soap,
for the fiftieth time.

A burst of laughter made him straighten himself and look round. The
barge-woman was leaning back and laughing unrestrainedly, till the tears
ran down her cheeks.

‘I’ve been watching you all the time,’ she gasped. ‘I thought you
must be a humbug all along, from the conceited way you talked. Pretty
washerwoman you are! Never washed so much as a dish-clout in your life,
I’ll lay!’

Toad’s temper which had been simmering viciously for some time, now
fairly boiled over, and he lost all control of himself.

‘You common, low, FAT barge-woman!’ he shouted; ‘don’t you dare to talk
to your betters like that! Washerwoman indeed! I would have you to know
that I am a Toad, a very well-known, respected, distinguished Toad! I
may be under a bit of a cloud at present, but I will NOT be laughed at
by a bargewoman!’

The woman moved nearer to him and peered under his bonnet keenly and
closely. ‘Why, so you are!’ she cried. ‘Well, I never! A horrid, nasty,
crawly Toad! And in my nice clean barge, too! Now that is a thing that I
will NOT have.’

She relinquished the tiller for a moment. One big mottled arm shot out
and caught Toad by a fore-leg, while the other-gripped him fast by a
hind-leg. Then the world turned suddenly upside down, the barge seemed
to flit lightly across the sky, the wind whistled in his ears, and Toad
found himself flying through the air, revolving rapidly as he went.

The water, when he eventually reached it with a loud splash, proved
quite cold enough for his taste, though its chill was not sufficient to
quell his proud spirit, or slake the heat of his furious temper. He rose
to the surface spluttering, and when he had wiped the duck-weed out of
his eyes the first thing he saw was the fat barge-woman looking back at
him over the stern of the retreating barge and laughing; and he vowed,
as he coughed and choked, to be even with her.

He struck out for the shore, but the cotton gown greatly impeded his
efforts, and when at length he touched land he found it hard to climb
up the steep bank unassisted. He had to take a minute or two’s rest to
recover his breath; then, gathering his wet skirts well over his arms,
he started to run after the barge as fast as his legs would carry him,
wild with indignation, thirsting for revenge.

The barge-woman was still laughing when he drew up level with her. ‘Put
yourself through your mangle, washerwoman,’ she called out, ‘and iron
your face and crimp it, and you’ll pass for quite a decent-looking

Toad never paused to reply. Solid revenge was what he wanted, not cheap,
windy, verbal triumphs, though he had a thing or two in his mind that
he would have liked to say. He saw what he wanted ahead of him. Running
swiftly on he overtook the horse, unfastened the towrope and cast off,
jumped lightly on the horse’s back, and urged it to a gallop by kicking
it vigorously in the sides. He steered for the open country, abandoning
the tow-path, and swinging his steed down a rutty lane. Once he looked
back, and saw that the barge had run aground on the other side of the
canal, and the barge-woman was gesticulating wildly and shouting, ‘Stop,
stop, stop!’ ‘I’ve heard that song before,’ said Toad, laughing, as he
continued to spur his steed onward in its wild career.

The barge-horse was not capable of any very sustained effort, and its
gallop soon subsided into a trot, and its trot into an easy walk; but
Toad was quite contented with this, knowing that he, at any rate, was
moving, and the barge was not. He had quite recovered his temper,
now that he had done something he thought really clever; and he was
satisfied to jog along quietly in the sun, steering his horse along
by-ways and bridle-paths, and trying to forget how very long it was
since he had had a square meal, till the canal had been left very far
behind him.

He had travelled some miles, his horse and he, and he was feeling drowsy
in the hot sunshine, when the horse stopped, lowered his head, and
began to nibble the grass; and Toad, waking up, just saved himself from
falling off by an effort. He looked about him and found he was on a wide
common, dotted with patches of gorse and bramble as far as he could see.
Near him stood a dingy gipsy caravan, and beside it a man was sitting on
a bucket turned upside down, very busy smoking and staring into the wide
world. A fire of sticks was burning near by, and over the fire hung an
iron pot, and out of that pot came forth bubblings and gurglings, and
a vague suggestive steaminess. Also smells--warm, rich, and varied
smells--that twined and twisted and wreathed themselves at last into one
complete, voluptuous, perfect smell that seemed like the very soul of
Nature taking form and appearing to her children, a true Goddess, a
mother of solace and comfort. Toad now knew well that he had not been
really hungry before. What he had felt earlier in the day had been a
mere trifling qualm. This was the real thing at last, and no mistake;
and it would have to be dealt with speedily, too, or there would be
trouble for somebody or something. He looked the gipsy over carefully,
wondering vaguely whether it would be easier to fight him or cajole him.
So there he sat, and sniffed and sniffed, and looked at the gipsy; and
the gipsy sat and smoked, and looked at him.

Presently the gipsy took his pipe out of his mouth and remarked in a
careless way, ‘Want to sell that there horse of yours?’

Toad was completely taken aback. He did not know that gipsies were very
fond of horse-dealing, and never missed an opportunity, and he had
not reflected that caravans were always on the move and took a deal of
drawing. It had not occurred to him to turn the horse into cash, but the
gipsy’s suggestion seemed to smooth the way towards the two things he
wanted so badly--ready money, and a solid breakfast.

‘What?’ he said, ‘me sell this beautiful young horse of mine? O, no;
it’s out of the question. Who’s going to take the washing home to my
customers every week? Besides, I’m too fond of him, and he simply dotes
on me.’

‘Try and love a donkey,’ suggested the gipsy. ‘Some people do.’

‘You don’t seem to see,’ continued Toad, ‘that this fine horse of mine
is a cut above you altogether. He’s a blood horse, he is, partly;
not the part you see, of course--another part. And he’s been a Prize
Hackney, too, in his time--that was the time before you knew him, but
you can still tell it on him at a glance, if you understand anything
about horses. No, it’s not to be thought of for a moment. All the same,
how much might you be disposed to offer me for this beautiful young
horse of mine?’

The gipsy looked the horse over, and then he looked Toad over with equal
care, and looked at the horse again. ‘Shillin’ a leg,’ he said briefly,
and turned away, continuing to smoke and try to stare the wide world out
of countenance.

‘A shilling a leg?’ cried Toad. ‘If you please, I must take a little
time to work that out, and see just what it comes to.’

He climbed down off his horse, and left it to graze, and sat down by the
gipsy, and did sums on his fingers, and at last he said, ‘A shilling a
leg? Why, that comes to exactly four shillings, and no more. O, no; I
could not think of accepting four shillings for this beautiful young
horse of mine.’

‘Well,’ said the gipsy, ‘I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll make it five
shillings, and that’s three-and-sixpence more than the animal’s worth.
And that’s my last word.’

Then Toad sat and pondered long and deeply. For he was hungry and quite
penniless, and still some way--he knew not how far--from home, and
enemies might still be looking for him. To one in such a situation, five
shillings may very well appear a large sum of money. On the other hand,
it did not seem very much to get for a horse. But then, again, the horse
hadn’t cost him anything; so whatever he got was all clear profit. At
last he said firmly, ‘Look here, gipsy! I tell you what we will do; and
this is MY last word. You shall hand me over six shillings and sixpence,
cash down; and further, in addition thereto, you shall give me as much
breakfast as I can possibly eat, at one sitting of course, out of that
iron pot of yours that keeps sending forth such delicious and exciting
smells. In return, I will make over to you my spirited young horse, with
all the beautiful harness and trappings that are on him, freely thrown
in. If that’s not good enough for you, say so, and I’ll be getting on. I
know a man near here who’s wanted this horse of mine for years.’

The gipsy grumbled frightfully, and declared if he did a few more deals
of that sort he’d be ruined. But in the end he lugged a dirty canvas bag
out of the depths of his trouser pocket, and counted out six shillings
and sixpence into Toad’s paw. Then he disappeared into the caravan for
an instant, and returned with a large iron plate and a knife, fork,
and spoon. He tilted up the pot, and a glorious stream of hot rich stew
gurgled into the plate. It was, indeed, the most beautiful stew in the
world, being made of partridges, and pheasants, and chickens, and
hares, and rabbits, and pea-hens, and guinea-fowls, and one or two other
things. Toad took the plate on his lap, almost crying, and stuffed,
and stuffed, and stuffed, and kept asking for more, and the gipsy never
grudged it him. He thought that he had never eaten so good a breakfast
in all his life.

When Toad had taken as much stew on board as he thought he could
possibly hold, he got up and said good-bye to the gipsy, and took
an affectionate farewell of the horse; and the gipsy, who knew the
riverside well, gave him directions which way to go, and he set forth on
his travels again in the best possible spirits. He was, indeed, a very
different Toad from the animal of an hour ago. The sun was shining
brightly, his wet clothes were quite dry again, he had money in his
pocket once more, he was nearing home and friends and safety, and, most
and best of all, he had had a substantial meal, hot and nourishing, and
felt big, and strong, and careless, and self-confident.

As he tramped along gaily, he thought of his adventures and escapes, and
how when things seemed at their worst he had always managed to find a
way out; and his pride and conceit began to swell within him. ‘Ho, ho!’
he said to himself as he marched along with his chin in the air, ‘what
a clever Toad I am! There is surely no animal equal to me for cleverness
in the whole world! My enemies shut me up in prison, encircled by
sentries, watched night and day by warders; I walk out through them all,
by sheer ability coupled with courage. They pursue me with engines,
and policemen, and revolvers; I snap my fingers at them, and vanish,
laughing, into space. I am, unfortunately, thrown into a canal by a
woman fat of body and very evil-minded. What of it? I swim ashore, I
seize her horse, I ride off in triumph, and I sell the horse for a whole
pocketful of money and an excellent breakfast! Ho, ho! I am The Toad,
the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad!’ He got so puffed up
with conceit that he made up a song as he walked in praise of himself,
and sang it at the top of his voice, though there was no one to hear
it but him. It was perhaps the most conceited song that any animal ever

          ‘The world has held great Heroes,
            As history-books have showed;
          But never a name to go down to fame
            Compared with that of Toad!

          ‘The clever men at Oxford
            Know all that there is to be knowed.
          But they none of them know one half as much
            As intelligent Mr. Toad!

          ‘The animals sat in the Ark and cried,
            Their tears in torrents flowed.
          Who was it said, “There’s land ahead?”
             Encouraging Mr. Toad!

          ‘The army all saluted
            As they marched along the road.
          Was it the King? Or Kitchener?
            No. It was Mr. Toad.

          ‘The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting
            Sat at the window and sewed.
          She cried, “Look! who’s that _handsome_ man?”
             They answered, “Mr. Toad.”’

There was a great deal more of the same sort, but too dreadfully
conceited to be written down. These are some of the milder verses.

He sang as he walked, and he walked as he sang, and got more inflated
every minute. But his pride was shortly to have a severe fall.

After some miles of country lanes he reached the high road, and as he
turned into it and glanced along its white length, he saw approaching
him a speck that turned into a dot and then into a blob, and then into
something very familiar; and a double note of warning, only too well
known, fell on his delighted ear.

‘This is something like!’ said the excited Toad. ‘This is real life
again, this is once more the great world from which I have been missed
so long! I will hail them, my brothers of the wheel, and pitch them a
yarn, of the sort that has been so successful hitherto; and they will
give me a lift, of course, and then I will talk to them some more; and,
perhaps, with luck, it may even end in my driving up to Toad Hall in a
motor-car! That will be one in the eye for Badger!’

He stepped confidently out into the road to hail the motor-car, which
came along at an easy pace, slowing down as it neared the lane; when
suddenly he became very pale, his heart turned to water, his knees shook
and yielded under him, and he doubled up and collapsed with a sickening
pain in his interior. And well he might, the unhappy animal; for the
approaching car was the very one he had stolen out of the yard of the
Red Lion Hotel on that fatal day when all his troubles began! And
the people in it were the very same people he had sat and watched at
luncheon in the coffee-room!

He sank down in a shabby, miserable heap in the road, murmuring to
himself in his despair, ‘It’s all up! It’s all over now! Chains and
policemen again! Prison again! Dry bread and water again! O, what a
fool I have been! What did I want to go strutting about the country for,
singing conceited songs, and hailing people in broad day on the high
road, instead of hiding till nightfall and slipping home quietly by back
ways! O hapless Toad! O ill-fated animal!’

The terrible motor-car drew slowly nearer and nearer, till at last he
heard it stop just short of him. Two gentlemen got out and walked round
the trembling heap of crumpled misery lying in the road, and one of them
said, ‘O dear! this is very sad! Here is a poor old thing--a washerwoman
apparently--who has fainted in the road! Perhaps she is overcome by the
heat, poor creature; or possibly she has not had any food to-day. Let
us lift her into the car and take her to the nearest village, where
doubtless she has friends.’

They tenderly lifted Toad into the motor-car and propped him up with
soft cushions, and proceeded on their way.

When Toad heard them talk in so kind and sympathetic a way, and
knew that he was not recognised, his courage began to revive, and he
cautiously opened first one eye and then the other.

‘Look!’ said one of the gentlemen, ‘she is better already. The fresh air
is doing her good. How do you feel now, ma’am?’

‘Thank you kindly, Sir,’ said Toad in a feeble voice, ‘I’m feeling a
great deal better!’ ‘That’s right,’ said the gentleman. ‘Now keep quite
still, and, above all, don’t try to talk.’

‘I won’t,’ said Toad. ‘I was only thinking, if I might sit on the front
seat there, beside the driver, where I could get the fresh air full in
my face, I should soon be all right again.’

‘What a very sensible woman!’ said the gentleman. ‘Of course you shall.’
So they carefully helped Toad into the front seat beside the driver, and
on they went again.

Toad was almost himself again by now. He sat up, looked about him, and
tried to beat down the tremors, the yearnings, the old cravings that
rose up and beset him and took possession of him entirely.

‘It is fate!’ he said to himself. ‘Why strive? why struggle?’ and he
turned to the driver at his side.

‘Please, Sir,’ he said, ‘I wish you would kindly let me try and drive
the car for a little. I’ve been watching you carefully, and it looks so
easy and so interesting, and I should like to be able to tell my friends
that once I had driven a motor-car!’

The driver laughed at the proposal, so heartily that the gentleman
inquired what the matter was. When he heard, he said, to Toad’s delight,
‘Bravo, ma’am! I like your spirit. Let her have a try, and look after
her. She won’t do any harm.’

Toad eagerly scrambled into the seat vacated by the driver, took the
steering-wheel in his hands, listened with affected humility to the
instructions given him, and set the car in motion, but very slowly and
carefully at first, for he was determined to be prudent.

The gentlemen behind clapped their hands and applauded, and Toad heard
them saying, ‘How well she does it! Fancy a washerwoman driving a car as
well as that, the first time!’

Toad went a little faster; then faster still, and faster.

He heard the gentlemen call out warningly, ‘Be careful, washerwoman!’
And this annoyed him, and he began to lose his head.

The driver tried to interfere, but he pinned him down in his seat with
one elbow, and put on full speed. The rush of air in his face, the hum
of the engines, and the light jump of the car beneath him intoxicated
his weak brain. ‘Washerwoman, indeed!’ he shouted recklessly. ‘Ho! ho!
I am the Toad, the motor-car snatcher, the prison-breaker, the Toad who
always escapes! Sit still, and you shall know what driving really
is, for you are in the hands of the famous, the skilful, the entirely
fearless Toad!’

With a cry of horror the whole party rose and flung themselves on him.
‘Seize him!’ they cried, ‘seize the Toad, the wicked animal who
stole our motor-car! Bind him, chain him, drag him to the nearest
police-station! Down with the desperate and dangerous Toad!’

Alas! they should have thought, they ought to have been more prudent,
they should have remembered to stop the motor-car somehow before playing
any pranks of that sort. With a half-turn of the wheel the Toad sent
the car crashing through the low hedge that ran along the roadside. One
mighty bound, a violent shock, and the wheels of the car were churning
up the thick mud of a horse-pond.

Toad found himself flying through the air with the strong upward rush
and delicate curve of a swallow. He liked the motion, and was just
beginning to wonder whether it would go on until he developed wings and
turned into a Toad-bird, when he landed on his back with a thump, in the
soft rich grass of a meadow. Sitting up, he could just see the motor-car
in the pond, nearly submerged; the gentlemen and the driver, encumbered
by their long coats, were floundering helplessly in the water.

He picked himself up rapidly, and set off running across country as hard
as he could, scrambling through hedges, jumping ditches, pounding across
fields, till he was breathless and weary, and had to settle down into
an easy walk. When he had recovered his breath somewhat, and was able to
think calmly, he began to giggle, and from giggling he took to laughing,
and he laughed till he had to sit down under a hedge. ‘Ho, ho!’ he
cried, in ecstasies of self-admiration, ‘Toad again! Toad, as usual,
comes out on the top! Who was it got them to give him a lift? Who
managed to get on the front seat for the sake of fresh air? Who
persuaded them into letting him see if he could drive? Who landed them
all in a horse-pond? Who escaped, flying gaily and unscathed through the
air, leaving the narrow-minded, grudging, timid excursionists in the mud
where they should rightly be? Why, Toad, of course; clever Toad, great
Toad, GOOD Toad!’

Then he burst into song again, and chanted with uplifted voice--

          ‘The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop,
            As it raced along the road.
          Who was it steered it into a pond?
            Ingenious Mr. Toad!

O, how clever I am! How clever, how clever, how very clev----’

A slight noise at a distance behind him made him turn his head and look.
O horror! O misery! O despair!

About two fields off, a chauffeur in his leather gaiters and two large
rural policemen were visible, running towards him as hard as they could

Poor Toad sprang to his feet and pelted away again, his heart in his
mouth. O, my!’ he gasped, as he panted along, ‘what an ASS I am! What a
CONCEITED and heedless ass! Swaggering again! Shouting and singing songs
again! Sitting still and gassing again! O my! O my! O my!’

He glanced back, and saw to his dismay that they were gaining on him.
On he ran desperately, but kept looking back, and saw that they still
gained steadily. He did his best, but he was a fat animal, and his legs
were short, and still they gained. He could hear them close behind him
now. Ceasing to heed where he was going, he struggled on blindly and
wildly, looking back over his shoulder at the now triumphant enemy, when
suddenly the earth failed under his feet, he grasped at the air, and,
splash! he found himself head over ears in deep water, rapid water,
water that bore him along with a force he could not contend with; and he
knew that in his blind panic he had run straight into the river!

He rose to the surface and tried to grasp the reeds and the rushes that
grew along the water’s edge close under the bank, but the stream was so
strong that it tore them out of his hands. ‘O my!’ gasped poor Toad,
‘if ever I steal a motor-car again! If ever I sing another conceited
song’--then down he went, and came up breathless and spluttering.
Presently he saw that he was approaching a big dark hole in the bank,
just above his head, and as the stream bore him past he reached up with
a paw and caught hold of the edge and held on. Then slowly and with
difficulty he drew himself up out of the water, till at last he was able
to rest his elbows on the edge of the hole. There he remained for some
minutes, puffing and panting, for he was quite exhausted.

As he sighed and blew and stared before him into the dark hole, some
bright small thing shone and twinkled in its depths, moving towards
him. As it approached, a face grew up gradually around it, and it was a
familiar face!

Brown and small, with whiskers.

Grave and round, with neat ears and silky hair.

It was the Water Rat!

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