Tell us all about it, and how you came to make it what it is. They're quite an institution in these parts. And they never pass me over--they come to Mole End last of all; and I used to give them hot drinks, and supper too sometimes, when I could afford it. It will be like old times to hear them again. It was a pretty sight, and a seasonable one, that met their eyes when they flung the door open.
In the fore-court, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little fieldmice stood in a semicircle, red worsted comforters round their throats, their fore-paws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffing and applying coat- sleeves a good deal. The voices ceased, the singers, bashful but smiling, exchanged sidelong glances, and silence succeeded--but for a moment only. Then, from up above and far away, down the tunnel they had so lately travelled was borne to their ears in a faint musical hum the sound of distant bells ringing a joyful and clangorous peal.
Shut the door after you. Pull up that settle to the fire. Now, you just wait a minute, while we--O, Ratty! We've nothing to give them!
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Come over this way. I want to talk to you. Now, tell me, are there any shops open at this hour of the night? The rest of the field-mice, perched in a row on the settle, their small legs swinging, gave themselves up to enjoyment of the fire, and toasted their chilblains till they tingled; while the Mole, failing to draw them into easy conversation, plunged into family history and made each of them recite the names of his numerous brothers, who were too young, it appeared, to be allowed to go out a-carolling this year, but looked forward very shortly to winning the parental consent.
The Rat, meanwhile, was busy examining the label on one of the beer-bottles. The very thing!
Now we shall be able to mull some ale! Get the things ready, Mole, while I draw the corks. It did not take long to prepare the brew and thrust the tin heater well into the red heart of the fire; and soon every field- mouse was sipping and coughing and choking for a little mulled ale goes a long way and wiping his eyes and laughing and forgetting he had ever been cold in all his life.
And very well they do it, too!
They gave us a capital one last year, about a field-mouse who was captured at sea by a Barbary corsair, and made to row in a galley; and when he escaped and got home again, his lady-love had gone into a convent. Here, you! You were in it, I remember. Get up and recite a bit.
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- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame!
The field-mouse addressed got up on his legs, giggled shyly, looked round the room, and remained absolutely tongue-tied. His comrades cheered him on, Mole coaxed and encouraged him, and the Rat went so far as to take him by the shoulders and shake him; but nothing could overcome his stage-fright. They were all busily engaged on him like watermen applying the Royal Humane Society's regulations to a case of long submersion, when the latch clicked, the door opened, and the field-mouse with the lantern reappeared, staggering under the weight of his basket.
There was no more talk of play-acting once the very real and solid contents of the basket had been tumbled out on the table. Under the generalship of Rat, everybody was set to do something or to fetch something. In a very few minutes supper was ready, and Mole, as he took the head of the table in a sort of a dream, saw a lately barren board set thick with savoury comforts; saw his little friends' faces brighten and beam as they fell to without delay; and then let himself loose--for he was famished indeed--on the provender so magically provided, thinking what a happy home-coming this had turned out, after all.
As they ate, they talked of old times, and the field-mice gave him the local gossip up to date, and answered as well as they could the hundred questions he had to ask them. The Rat said little or nothing, only taking care that each guest had what he wanted, and plenty of it, and that Mole had no trouble or anxiety about anything. They clattered off at last, very grateful and showering wishes of the season, with their jacket pockets stuffed with remembrances for the small brothers and sisters at home.
When the door had closed on the last of them and the chink of the lanterns had died away, Mole and Rat kicked the fire up, drew their chairs in, brewed themselves a last nightcap of mulled ale, and discussed the events of the long day. Sleepy is simply not the word. That your own bunk over on that side? Very well, then, I'll take this.
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What a ripping little house this is! Everything so handy! He clambered into his bunk and rolled himself well up in the blankets, and slumber gathered him forthwith, as a swathe of barley is folded into the arms of the reaping machine. The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour.
He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple--how narrow, even--it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage.
But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Member Tools: Member Login. The signals were coming through! CAROL Villagers all, this frosty tide, Let your doors swing open wide, Though wind may follow, and snow beside, Yet draw us in by your fire to bide; Joy shall be yours in the morning!
Here we stand in the cold and the sleet, Blowing fingers and stamping feet, Come from far away you to greet-- You by the fire and we in the street-- Bidding you joy in the morning! For ere one half of the night was gone, Sudden a star has led us on, Raining bliss and benison-- Bliss to-morrow and more anon, Joy for every morning!
Goodman Joseph toiled through the snow-- Saw the star o'er a stable low; Mary she might not further go-- Welcome thatch, and litter below!
By Kenneth Grahame
I think Mark Smith does a wonderful job. I have no idea what the problem was understanding what he said, but then, I AM from Texas! Reviewer: Lan Anh - May 22, Subject: great book. Thanks for your work.
I jenjoy a lot this audio book. I thought the reading of this book was great.
I never read this as a child, but I enjoyed it quite a bit as an adult. The narrator did a nice job of using different voices for each character, though he does not use a British accent. That seems important to many reviewers, but it didn't bother me. Very grateful to have found this! I'm elated that this was read by an American. The narrator has a very nice voice.
My kids love this. Thank you, sincerely. Reviewer: Jen - November 15, Subject: Wind in the Willows To the credit of the narrator, this recording seems perfect for young children raised in the western US. For the time being, I have to pass over many audio books read with a British accent, because my children cannot understand. Are most reviewers British?
I know this is not American lit.
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – (Free Audio Book)
I wonder how much time he spent trying learning Uncle David's very proper pre-war accent very rare to find that accent these days! All in all, it's a fairly good job, and apart from a few letters, his American doesn't really come out so heavily at all. Full marks for the effort. Reviewer: A Rabe - April 7, I think this would be a great story had a native British person read it. While the accent is appropriate, and an attempt at voices is appreciated, this reader is simply horrific at annunciating words to the point that at points it is impossible to understand if you are not reading along.
Please someone re-record this book.