The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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So the good-natured Mole, having cut some slices of ham, set the hedgehogs to fry it, and returned to his own breakfast, while the Otter and the Rat, their heads together, eagerly talked river- shop, which is long shop and talk that is endless, running on like the babbling river itself.
A plate of fried ham had just been cleared and sent back for more, when the Badger entered, yawning and rubbing his eyes, and greeted them all in his quiet, simple way, with kind enquiries for every one. `It must be getting on for luncheon time,' he remarked to the Otter. `Better stop and have it with us. You must be hungry, this cold morning.'
`Rather!' replied the Otter, winking at the Mole. `The sight of these greedy young hedgehogs stuffing themselves with fried ham makes me feel positively famished.'
The hedgehogs, who were just beginning to feel hungry again after their porridge, and after working so hard at their frying, looked timidly up at Mr. Badger, but were too shy to say anything.
`Here, you two youngsters be off home to your mother,' said the Badger kindly. `I'll send some one with you to show you the way. You won't want any dinner to-day, I'll be bound.'
He gave them sixpence apiece and a pat on the head, and they went off with much respectful swinging of caps and touching of forelocks.
Presently they all sat down to luncheon together. The Mole found himself placed next to Mr. Badger, and, as the other two were still deep in river-gossip from which nothing could divert them, he took the opportunity to tell Badger how comfortable and home- like it all felt to him. `Once well underground,' he said, `you know exactly where you are. Nothing can happen to you, and nothing can get at you. You're entirely your own master, and you don't have to consult anybody or mind what they say. Things go on all the same overhead, and you let 'em, and don't bother about 'em. When you want to, up you go, and there the things are, waiting for you.'
The Badger simply beamed on him. `That's exactly what I say,' he replied. `There's no security, or peace and tranquillity, except underground. And then, if your ideas get larger and you want to expand--why, a dig and a scrape, and there you are! If you feel your house is a bit too big, you stop up a hole or two, and there you are again! No builders, no tradesmen, no remarks passed on you by fellows looking over your wall, and, above all, no WEATHER. Look at Rat, now. A couple of feet of flood water, and he's got to move into hired lodgings; uncomfortable, inconveniently situated, and horribly expensive. Take Toad. I say nothing