September 29, 2021

#08-141: The Wind in the Willows

"The Badger said, 'Now then, follow me!'"
(l to r, Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger)

Note: Read the adventures of four animal friends who enjoy "messing about in boats"--when they're not trying to get their friend Mr. Toad out the predicaments he keeps getting himself into!

Get Ready: What can you do with a friend who is "too much," always getting himself (and sometimes others) in trouble?

A favorite book of many children is Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. It features a quartet of animal friends: Moley, a timid, home-loving creature; Ratty, a charming and affable water vole who writes poetry in his spare time; the irrepressible (and irresponsible) Mr. Toad, wealthy owner of Toad Hall whose foolish behavior provides the main impetus of the stories; and wise, relaxed, but fearless Mr. Badger, a friend of Toad's late father who does what he can to keep Toady in line.

One morning, Mole tires of his spring cleaning and decides to do something new: visit the riverbank. He finds his friend Ratty there, and they spend a great deal of the spring and summer "messing about in boats."

Looking for something else to do, they visit their friend Toad, whose latest fad is camping in his horse-drawn caravan. When a reckless car goes by, frightening the horse and ruining the caravan, Toady is entranced, and must have one for himself. He buys one car after another--and wrecks them all.

Mr. Badger is famously reclusive, but Mole determines he is the only one who can make Toad behave. Despite Ratty's protests, Mole sets off alone into the Wild Wood to find Badger--and gets lost in the snow. When Ratty discovers him gone, he tracks him into the Wood and finds him, and together they stumble across Badger's den.

Badger welcomes them in, and together they agree to deal with Toady's behavior. He comes to the two friends in springtime, and they try to keep Toad under house arrest until he agrees to change his ways.

But after Toad escapes, his friends stay on at Toad Hall hoping for his return. Meanwhile, Toad is arrested for stealing another car, and reckless driving. He is sentenced to 20 years in prison. But the jailer's daughter helps him escape (again!) and while fleeing from the police he accidentally falls into Ratty's hole.

Ratty tells Toady that Toad Hall has been taken over by weasels and stoats from the Wild Wood. The four friends battle the interlopers and drive them out. A notably subdued Toad holds a celebration to celebrate his return and thank his friends. He makes amends to the people he has harmed, and the friends live out their days in harmony.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. affable
  2. make amends
  3. caravan
  4. entranced
  5. fad
  6. impetus
  7. interlopers
  8. messing
  9. quartet
  10. subdued

  1. fascinated; extremely interested
  2. a stimulus; a moving force
  3. intruders; trespassers
  4. a temporary fashion or "craze"
  5. a vehicle with beds, a kitchen, etc.; in America called a "camper"
  6. fooling; playing
  7. quiet; controlled
  8. a group of four people or things
  9. provide compensation; make up for
  10. friendly; agreeable

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for September 29, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. i; 3. e; 4. a; 5. d; 6. b; 7. c; 8. f; 9. h; 10. g