Toad is very unhappy. «This is the end of everything,» he thinks, «the end of the career of Toad, the popular and handsome Toad, the rich and kind Toad.»

He starts crying. «Now I must stay in this dark prison. Oh clever Rat and sensible Mole. Oh intelligent Badger!»

Poor Toad! The days and weeks pass and he refuses to eat.

The gaoler has got a daughter and she helps her father in the prison. She is very fond of animals and is sorry for Toad. One day she asks, «Father, please let me look after Toad. He’s so unhappy and so thin.»

She knocks on the door of Toad’s cell.

«Now, Toad,» she says, «sit up and stop crying. Be sensible and eat some dinner.»

The dinner smells very good and Toad starts to think that life is not so bad. He sits up and starts to eat. The gaolers daughter asks him about Toad Hall. He talks about his home. Then she asks him about his animal friends. When the girl leaves Toad is himself again — the same arrogant animal.

The days pass and they have a lot of interesting talks together. The gaolers daughter is very sorry for Toad and thinks it is wrong that Toad is in prison. Vain Toad believes that she is in love with him and is a little sorry that the social gap between them is so big.

One morning she says, «Listen Toad, I’ve got an aunt. She’s a washerwoman and does the washing for all the prisoners here. Now, you’re very rich and she’s very poor. I think that if you pay her she can give you her dress and bonnet and you can escape. You are very similar.»

«We are not!» says Toad, «I’m very elegant, considering I’m a toad.»

«My aunt’s also elegant, considering she’s a washerwoman,» says the girl, «I’m trying to help you and you are proud and ungrateful!»

«Please introduce me to your aunt,» says Toad.

The next evening the girl’s aunt comes into the cell. She is carrying Toad’s washing. On the table is a pile of gold coins. The washerwoman gives Toad a cotton dress, an apron and a bonnet. Then Toad takes off his coat and waistcoat and puts on the dress, apron and bonnet.

«Goodbye, Toad,» says the girl.

Toad is nervous, but he goes out. No one stops him. When he is outside he walks towards the town. Soon he sees some red and green lights and the noise of a train. «Aha!» he thinks, «A railway station. I can catch a train home!»

He goes to the ticket office and asks for a ticket to the village near Toad Hall. But he has no money! It is all in his waistcoat pocket in the prison. He cannot get home!

Toad is very sad. He walks down the platform. He starts to cry. «Hello, what’s the matter?» asks the train driver.

«Oh, sir!» cries Toad, «I’m a poor washerwoman. I have no money. I can’t pay for a ticket and I must get home tonight.»

«Very well,» says the kind train driver, «You’re a washerwoman. I can give you a ride if you wash some shirts for me.»

Toad climbs up. The guard waves his flag and the train moves out of the station. Now Toad is very happy. He thinks about Toad Hall, his friends and good things to eat.

After some time the train driver says, «It’s very strange. We’re the last train tonight but I’m sure there’s another train behind us.»

Toad immediately becomes serious and depressed.

«And the train is full of policemen with truncheons. They’re shouting ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!'» continues the train driver.

Toad falls to his knees. «Save me, Mr train driver. I’m not a washerwoman. I’m Toad — the well-known and popular Mr Toad. They want me. I’m a car thief and I’m running away from prison.»

The train driver looks very serious. «I must stop and give you to the police. But you’re obviously very sorry. Soon there’s a tunnel. At the other end there’s a wood. You must jump out and hide in the wood.» After the tunnel Toad jumps. He runs into the wood and hides.

The police train comes out of the tunnel and continues following the other train.

Toad laughs. But soon he stops laughing. It is very late and dark and cold. He is in a strange wood with no money and far away from friends and home. Cold, hungry and tired, he makes a bed with dead leaves and branches under a tree and goes to sleep.


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