THE WILD WOOD
Mole wants to meet Badger.
«Could you ask him here for dinner?» he asks Rat.
«He wouldn’t come,» replies Rat, «He hates company.»
«Well, can we go and call on him?» suggests Mole.
«Oh no,» says Rat, «He’s very shy. And also he lives in the middle of the Wild Wood.»
It is clear that Rat doesn’t want to visit Badger.
It is winter time and Rat sleeps a lot. One afternoon he is sleeping in his armchair in front of the fire, so Mole decides to go and explore the Wild Wood and meet Badger. He goes outside. It is very cold and the sky is grey. He is happy, and when he arrives at the Wild Wood he is not frightened.
Then he starts to see faces — hundreds of faces; little faces with hard eyes. Mole is frightened and leaves the path. In a panic Mole starts to run — he doesn’t know where. Finally he hides inside the hollow of an old tree.
Rat wakes up and looks for Mole, but Mole is not there. Mole’s hat and boots are gone. Rat goes outside and sees footprints. They are going in the direction of the Wild Wood. Rat is worried. He goes back into the house, takes two pistols and a big stick and sets off for the Wild Wood.
He also sees little faces with hard eyes, but they disappear immediately when they see his pistols and stick. Rat hunts for an hour, «Moly, Moly! Where are you? It’s me — Rat!»
Finally he hears a cry, «Ratty! Is that really you? I’m so frightened!»
Rat sees Mole under the tree. «Mole, you mustn’t come into the Wild Wood alone. We animals from the river bank always come in couples.»
«But brave Mr Toad isn’t frightened of the wood,» says Mole.
Rat laughs, «Toad!? He wouldn’t come here for a hat full of gold. But now we must leave for home before night comes.»
Rat looks around. «It’s snowing! And everything looks so different in the snow.»
They set off bravely but after two hours they stop for a rest. The snow is very deep and they are very tired and wet.
«We’re very tired,» says Rat, «Let’s find a dry cave or hole. Then we can rest before trying again.»
They look for shelter. Suddenly Mole falls down. «Oh, my leg!» he cries.
«Poor Mole!» says Rat. He looks at the cut on Mole’s leg. «This is a cut from metal not a branch,» he says. He starts to dig in the snow.
«Hooray! Hooray!» he shouts.
«What is it?!» asks Mole.
They see a little green door. A bell is hanging next to it. Under the bell is written «Mr Badger». Rat hits the door with his stick and Mole rings the bell.