It is many years since I read Kenneth Grahame’s Wind In The Willows and , over time, Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mister Toad have passed into my personal folklore with the characters, with their individual charm and personality, so strongly evocative of Englishness and childhood. Recently I decided to re-visit the book and so downloaded it from you know who for the princely sum of 99 pence. I have yet to read it. However, I have blogged three episodes, written anew, both for the purpose of humour and to pay respect to Kenneth Grahame. I hope I have captured some flavour of the text. The four main characters have such individual personalities that, along with the stoats and weasels, they probably encompass most of the people we encounter in life.
Mole – kindly, conservative, ultimately a good friend.
Ratty – bright, cunning, swift of brain, not to be messed with.
Badger – a little slow witted perhaps but strong, brave and reliable in any battle.
Mister Toad – humourous, hedonistic, adventurous, selfish, with underlying kindness.
Ask of yourself, dear reader, ‘which of these characters am I most like?’.
Thanks for reading. Here are the episodes.
(By the way, Newcastle United FC play in black and white stripes – of course!)
Toad in distress
It was a windy autumnal evening in the Wild Wood. Mole sat by the fire with Ratty contemplating nothing much. There was a knock at the door. Before they had the chance to move, into the room burst Mister Toad, wisps of smoke emanating from his dishevelled clothes, his face sooty and sweaty. He was clearly distressed.
‘My goodness Toad, what’s happened? You look awful!’
Mole was very concerned.
‘Oh, my dear fellow. All is lost. I am destitute. All I own, my beautiful things. My house, it has burnt to the ground.’
‘ Goodness me, dear Toad, that is indeed disastrous.’
Mole and Mister Toad looked at Ratty for a sympathetic comment.
With deadpan expression, and no hint of humour, Ratty simply said:
‘Oh dear, that truly is a Toad Hall disaster.’
Mole and Toad raised their eyes to the heavens and shook their heads in total disbelief.
Badger, and a shock for Mole
Mole was listening to the wireless, Radio 3, Dvorak’s ‘From The New World’, when there was a knock at the door. He rose from his armchair and ambled across the room. Opening the door he was faced by Badger who was looking both angry and glum. His fur, everywhere on his body, was very damp and had clearly just been dyed bright green.
‘Good grief Badger’, said Mole, ‘what on Earth has happened to you? Who has made you green?’
‘Who made me green!’, shouted Badger. ‘I made me green. Manchester City 6 Newcastle 1. It’s a disgrace!’
‘Oh dear’, said Mole, rather concerned. ‘I’ll make a pot of tea.’
Ratty and Mole discuss Wind In The Willows
Mole sat in his armchair by the log fire, book in hand, myopically reading the final chapter of Wind in the Willows. He glanced up at Ratty who, in agitation, was warming his hands in front of the fire. He turned to face Mole.
‘Well’, said Ratty, ‘what do you think of Mister Grahame’s biography of us?’
‘I think it is marvellous. An exciting, yet charming, exposition of our lives and adventures with Badger and Toad. What do you think?’
‘Oh, I don’t know. Not my cup of tea. I don’t like humans applying anthropomorphic characteristics to us animals.’
‘Yes, point taken, Ratty, point taken.’