The Wind In The Willows - online version

Complete text of the classic childrens book By KENNETH GRAHAME

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over the parapet of the bridge and watching him with great glee. `It will be your head next time, Toady!' they called out to him. The indignant Toad swam to shore, while the stoats laughed and laughed, supporting each other, and laughed again, till they nearly had two fits--that is, one fit each, of course.
The Toad retraced his weary way on foot, and related his disappointing experiences to the Water Rat once more.
`Well, WHAT did I tell you?' said the Rat very crossly. `And, now, look here! See what you've been and done! Lost me my boat that I was so fond of, that's what you've done! And simply ruined that nice suit of clothes that I lent you! Really, Toad, of all the trying animals--I wonder you manage to keep any friends at all!'
The Toad saw at once how wrongly and foolishly he had acted. He admitted his errors and wrong-headedness and made a full apology to Rat for losing his boat and spoiling his clothes. And he wound up by saying, with that frank self-surrender which always disarmed his friend's criticism and won them back to his side, `Ratty! I see that I have been a headstrong and a wilful Toad! Henceforth, believe me, I will be humble and submissive, and will take no action without your kind advice and full approval!'
`If that is really so,' said the good-natured Rat, already appeased, `then my advice to you is, considering the lateness of the hour, to sit down and have your supper, which will be on the table in a minute, and be very patient. For I am convinced that we can do nothing until we have seen the Mole and the Badger, and heard their latest news, and held conference and taken their advice in this difficult matter.'
`Oh, ah, yes, of course, the Mole and the Badger,' said Toad, lightly. `What's become of them, the dear fellows? I had forgotten all about them.'
`Well may you ask!' said the Rat reproachfully. `While you were riding about the country in expensive motor-cars, and galloping proudly on blood-horses, and breakfasting on the fat of the land, those two poor devoted animals have been camping out in the open, in every sort of weather, living very rough by day and lying very hard by night; watching over your house, patrolling your boundaries, keeping a constant eye on the stoats and the weasels, scheming and planning and contriving how to get your property back for you. You don't deserve to have such true and loyal friends, Toad, you don't, really. Some day, when it's too late, you'll be sorry you didn't value them more while you had them!'