It is spring and the Mole is cleaning his little home. He is working very hard and he is very tired. Suddenly he decides to stop. He wants to go outside. He goes up a small tunnel and arrives outside in a meadow.

«This is nice!» he thinks when he arrives in the sunlight, «This is better than cleaning!» He is very happy.

He crosses meadows and woods. He sees rabbits, birds and a lot of other animals. They are all working hard. Finally he arrives at the river. He sits down on the grass.

The Water Rat comes out of his hole in the river bank. He sees Mole.

«Hello, Mole,» he says, «Would you like to come over?»

«Hello, Rat. Yes, I would. But how?» replies Mole.

«I can come and get you in my boat.» Rat gets into a little boat and crosses the river. Mole gets into the boat.

«This is wonderful!» says Mole, «This is my first time in a boat.»

«Your first time!» says Rat, «There’s nothing better than boats! Let’s go for a picnic.»

«Oh, yes please!» says Mole.

Rat goes into his house and returns with a big basket full of food. They go down the river in the boat. Rat tells Mole about life on the river and about his neighbours — the otters, kingfishers and moorhens.

Mole sees a wood in the distance.

«What’s over there?» he asks.

«That’s the Wild Wood,» says Rat, «We don’t go there often.»

«Are they nice people there?» asks Mole.

«Well,» replies Rat, «the squirrels and rabbits are alright. And there’s Badger. He’s nice. But the weasels, stoats and foxes… you must be careful with them.»

They stop for their picnic and Mole unpacks the basket. Soon the Otter arrives.

«Hello, Otter,» says Rat, «This is my friend Mr Mole.»

«Pleased to meet you,» says Otter to Mole.

Suddenly the Badger appears and Rat invites him to the picnic. But Badger turns around and goes away.

«Badger hates company!» says Rat, «We don’t see him often. But look! There’s Toad on the river in his new boat.»

«It’s Toad’s new hobby,» says Otter.

«Yes,» says Rat, «First it was sailing. Then it was houseboating. He changes hobby all the time.»

Rat waves to Toad but Toad doesn’t stop.

Rat and Mole return to Rat’s house in the boat. Rat invites Mole to stay with him and Mole is very happy.


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