The Wind in the Willows (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
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When Mole decides he has had enough tiresome spring-cleaning for one day, the scrappy nonesuch throws down his broom and bolts out of his house looking for fun and adventure. He quickly finds it in the form of the Water Rat, who takes the wide-eyed Mole boating and introduces him to the mysteries of life on the river and in the Wild Wood. Mole also meets Ratty’s good friends: the kindly, solid Badger and the irrepressible Toad. Soon, the quartet’s escapadesincluding car crashes, a sojourn in jail, and a battle with the weasels who try to take over Toad Hallbecome the talk of the animal kingdom.
Filled with familiar human types disguised as animals, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, like all exemplary children’s literature, has always appealed greatly to grown-ups as well. Though first published in 1908, when motor-cars” were new and rare, The Wind in the Willows presents surprisingly contemporaryand uproariously funnyportraits of speed-crazed Mr. Toad, generous Badger, poetic Ratty, and newly-emancipated Mole. And lurking all the while within the humor and good spirits, Grahame’s deeply felt commentary on courage, generosity, and above all, friendship.
once!’ ‘Hold hard a minute, then!’ said the Rat. He looped the paintere through a ring in his landing-stage, climbed up into his hole above, and after a short interval reappeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon-basket. ‘Shove that under your feet,’ he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again. ‘What’s inside it?’ asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity ‘There’s cold chicken inside it,’ replied the Rat briefly; ‘cold
winter or summer, spring or autumn, it’s always got its fun and its excitements. When the floods are on in February, and my cellars and basement are brimming with drink that’s no good to me, and the brown water runs by my best bedroom window; or again when it all drops away and shows patches of mud that smells like plum-cake, and the rushes and weed clog the channels, and I can potter about dry-shod over most of the bed of it and find fresh food to eat, and things careless people have dropped out
locks along the edge of the mirror whence its own face laughed back at it. Willow-herb, tender and wistful, like a pink sunset cloud was not slow to follow. Comfrey, the purple hand-in-hand with the white, crept forth to take its place in the line; and at last one morning the diffident and delaying dog-rose stepped delicately on the stage, and one knew, as if string music had announced it in stately chords that strayed into a gavotte,s that June at last was here. One member of the company was
reached the first fringe of trees and plunged without hesitation into the wood, looking anxiously on either side for any sign of his friend. Here and there wicked little faces popped out of holes, but vanished immediately at sight of the valorous animal, his pistols, and the great ugly cudgel in his grasp; and the whistling and pattering, which he had heard quite plainly on his first entry, died away and ceased, and all was very still. He made his way manfully through the length of the wood, to
drawing after them the long bobbing procession of casks, like a mile of porpoises. On the sands they had horses waiting, which dragged the casks up the steep street of the little town with a fine rush and clatter and scramble. When the last cask was in, we went and refreshed and rested, and sat late into the night, drinking with our friends; and next morning I was off to the great olive-woods for a spell and a rest. For now I had done with islands for the time, and ports and shipping were