The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

`Well, and when they went at last, those people?' said the Mole.
`When they went,' continued the Badger, `the strong winds and persistent rains took the matter in hand, patiently, ceaselessly, year after year. Perhaps we badgers too, in our small way, helped a little--who knows? It was all down, down, down, gradually--ruin and levelling and disappearance. Then it was all up, up, up, gradually, as seeds grew to saplings, and saplings to forest trees, and bramble and fern came creeping in to help. Leaf-mould rose and obliterated, streams in their winter freshets brought sand and soil to clog and to cover, and in course of time our home was ready for us again, and we moved in. Up above us, on the surface, the same thing happened. Animals arrived, liked the look of the place, took up their quarters, settled down, spread, and flourished. They didn't bother themselves about the past--they never do; they're too busy. The place was a bit humpy and hillocky, naturally, and full of holes; but that was rather an advantage. And they don't bother about the future, either-- the future when perhaps the people will move in again--for a time--as may very well be. The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent--I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world. But I fancy you know something about them yourself by this time.'
`I do indeed,' said the Mole, with a slight shiver.
`Well, well,' said the Badger, patting him on the shoulder, `it was your first experience of them, you see. They're not so bad really; and we must all live and let live. But I'll pass the word around to-morrow, and I think you'll have no further trouble. Any friend of MINE walks where he likes in this country, or I'll know the reason why!'
When they got back to the kitchen again, they found the Rat walking up and down, very restless. The underground atmosphere was oppressing him and getting on his nerves, and he seemed really to be afraid that the river would run away if he wasn't there to look after it. So he had his overcoat on, and his pistols thrust into his belt again. `Come along, Mole,' he said anxiously, as soon as he caught sight of them. `We must get off while it's daylight. Don't want to spend another night in the Wild Wood again.'
`It'll be all right, my fine fellow,' said the Otter. `I'm coming along with you, and I know every path blindfold; and if there's a head that needs to be punched, you can confidently rely upon me to punch it.'
`You really needn't fret, Ratty,' added the Badger placidly. `My passages run further than you think, and I've bolt-holes to the edge of the wood in several directions, though I don't care for