The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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`It's like music--far away music,' said the Mole nodding drowsily.
`So I was thinking,' murmured the Rat, dreamful and languid. `Dance-music--the lilting sort that runs on without a stop--but with words in it, too--it passes into words and out of them again--I catch them at intervals--then it is dance-music once more, and then nothing but the reeds' soft thin whispering.'
`You hear better than I,' said the Mole sadly. `I cannot catch the words.'
`Let me try and give you them,' said the Rat softly, his eyes still closed. `Now it is turning into words again--faint but clear-- Lest the awe should dwell--And turn your frolic to fret--You shall look on my power at the helping hour--But then you shall forget! Now the reeds take it up--forget, forget, they sigh, and it dies away in a rustle and a whisper. Then the voice returns--
`Lest limbs be reddened and rent--I spring the trap that is set--As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there--For surely you shall forget! Row nearer, Mole, nearer to the reeds! It is hard to catch, and grows each minute fainter.
`Helper and healer, I cheer--Small waifs in the woodland wet-- Strays I find in it, wounds I bind in it--Bidding them all forget! Nearer, Mole, nearer! No, it is no good; the song has died away into reed-talk.'
`But what do the words mean?' asked the wondering Mole.
`That I do not know,' said the Rat simply. `I passed them on to you as they reached me. Ah! now they return again, and this time full and clear! This time, at last, it is the real, the unmistakable thing, simple--passionate--perfect----'
`Well, let's have it, then,' said the Mole, after he had waited patiently for a few minutes, half-dozing in the hot sun.