948 THE TOAD
' Quack ! • said the little one, and it was just as when we mortals say ' Alack ! '
It had such a desire to get up to the edge of the well and look out; it felt such a longing after the green things up there ; and when next morning the bucket, filled with water, was being drawn up, and accidentally stopped for a moment just by the stone, on which the toad sat, the little creature quivered and sprang into the full bucket, and sank to the bottom of the water, which then came up and was emptied out.
' Ugh, confound it! ' said the man, who saw it. ' It is the ugliest thing I have seen,' and he made a kick with his wooden shoe at the toad, which came near to being crippled, but escaped by getting in amongst the high stinging-nettles. It saw stalk by stalk, and it looked upwards too. The sun shone on the leaves, they were quite transparent; it was for it, as it is for us when we come all at once into a great wood, where the sun shines through the leaves and branches.
' It is much lovelier here than down in the well! One could wish to stay here all one's life !' said the little toad. It lay there one hour, it lay there two ! ' Now, I wonder what can be outside ? As I have come so far, I may as well go farther ! ' And it crawled as fast as it could, and came out on to the road, where the sun shone on it, and the dust powdered it whilst it marched across the high road.
* Here one is really on dry land,' said the toad; ' I am getting almost too much of a good thing ; it tickles right into me !'
Now it came to the ditch ; the forget-me-nots grew here and the meadow-sweet; there was a hedge close by, with hawthorn and elder bushes ; and the white-flowered convolvulus climbed over it. Here were colours to be seen ; and yonder flew a butterfly; the toad thought it was a flower which had broken loose, the better to look about the world ; it was such a natural thing to do.
' If one could only get along like that,' said the toad. ' Ah! ah! how delightful! '
It stayed in the ditch for eight days and nights, and had no want of food. The ninth day it thought, ' Farther