THE OPEN ROAD
One summer morning Mole and Rat decide to visit Mr Toad, They get in the boat and go up the river.
«Toad’s rich, you know,» says Rat.
«Is Toad very nice?» asks Mole.
«Oh yes!» replies Rat, «He’s very nice. He isn’t very intelligent — but we can’t all be clever. And sometimes he’s boastful and arrogant. But he’s got some good qualities.»
Soon they arrive at Toad Hall. They pass by a boating house. It is full of boats. They are all out of the water.
«It seems that Toad isn’t interested in boating anymore. I wonder what his new hobby is,» says Rat.
Rat and Mole get out of the boat and walk across the gardens of Toad Hall. They see Toad in the garden. He is looking at a big map. He is very pleased to see Rat and Mole.
«Hello, Toad,» says Rat, «This is my friend Mole.»
«Oh, splendid!» cries Toad, «Pleased to meet you. Come and see my new hobby.»
He shows them a gypsy caravan. It is yellow and green with red wheels.
«There’s real life!» cries Toad, «The open road: travel, change, interest, excitement! Look inside — everything’s there. We’ve got everything for our journey this afternoon.»
«Excuse me — you say ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘this afternoon’?» asks Rat.
«Yes, Ratty. I can’t go without you,» says Toad.
«Oh, Rat — it’s so exciting!» says Mole.
«Very well,» says Rat, «Let’s go!»
After lunch, they go to the paddock and catch the old grey horse. Then they set off on the road. It is a lovely afternoon and the birds whistle at them and passers-by say, «good afternoon». In the evening they stop and eat a simple meal. Then they go to bed. The next morning Toad sleeps until very late, so Mole walks to the nearest village. He buys milk and eggs for breakfast, and Rat lights a fire and washes the dinner plates from the night before. They are very tired after this hard work. Finally Toad gets up.
«Life on the road is very easy,» he says.
After breakfast they set off. They are walking along the road when suddenly a magnificent motorcar drives past. The horse is frightened and pulls the caravan off the road into a ditch. The caravan is ruined!
Rat is furious. «You villains! Police! Help!» he shouts.
But Toad is sitting in the middle of the road. He is staring in the direction of the motorcar. «Poop poop!» he says, «Poop poop!»
Rat and Mole try to pull the caravan out of the ditch but they can’t.
Rat asks, «Can you help us, Toad?»
«Poop poop!» replies Toad, «Now that’s the real way to travel — the only way.»
The caravan is ruined and they must return home by train. The next day Toad buys a big and very expensive motorcar.