The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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paw in the water and dreamed long waking dreams. The Water Rat, like the good little fellow he was, sculled steadily on and forebore to disturb him.
`I like your clothes awfully, old chap,' he remarked after some half an hour or so had passed. `I'm going to get a black velvet smoking-suit myself some day, as soon as I can afford it.'
`I beg your pardon,' said the Mole, pulling himself together with an effort. `You must think me very rude; but all this is so new to me. So--this--is--a--River!'
`THE River,' corrected the Rat.
`And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!'
`By it and with it and on it and in it,' said the Rat. `It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together! Whether in 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 of boats!'
`But isn't it a bit dull at times?' the Mole ventured to ask. `Just you and the river, and no one else to pass a word with?'
`No one else to--well, I mustn't be hard on you,' said the Rat with forbearance. `You're new to it, and of course you don't know. The bank is so crowded nowadays that many people are moving away altogether: O no, it isn't what it used to be, at all. Otters, kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wanting you to DO something--as if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to!'
`What lies over THERE' asked the Mole, waving a paw towards a background of woodland that darkly framed the water-meadows on one side of the river.