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Toad cantered easily onward for a hour, maybe two
And all the while inside a mighty hunger grew and grew.
He realised it was hours since he’d eaten any meal
And it was getting harder to ignore his stomach’s appeal.

Just then he caught an odour which filled him with great desire -
The smell of game stew bubbling upon an open fire.
He turned the bend and sitting there before him was a man
Next to some blazing pine logs and a gipsy caravan.

Toad’s eyes lit up on seeing such a culinary treat
And he was on the verge of begging for a bite to eat
When he was interrupted by the gipsy asking him
“How would you like to sell that horse on which you’ve ridden in?"

Toad thought fast for he didn’t have a penny in his purse
To walk was bad but destitution certainly was worse
“How much, kind sir, are you inclined to give me for this nag?”
The gipsy thought a while and then replied “A shilling a leg.”

Toad cried “But that makes only four and he’s at least worth seven!”
The gipsy sneered and curled his lip and raised his eyes to heaven.
“I’ll give you five and that’s far more than this old screw is worth.
I’m always looking for horses but I can’t afford the earth.”

“But he’s a full-blood Andalusian!” protested Toad
“The finest, fastest, strongest horse a jockey ever rode!
However, since I find myself in something of a fix
If you give me a bowl of stew, I’ll sell you him for six.”

The gipsy grumbled but hauled out a grubby shovel purse
And counted out six shiny shillings with a muttered curse
And then Toad ate his fill of stew until he overflowed
And made his merry way onward feeling quite a different Toad.

There’s bankers and there’s stockbrokers
Who’ve made themselves a pile,
But none of them are quite as sharp or quite as mercantile
As one upon whom such a gift for business is bestowed
The Silver-Tongued, Persuasive, Glib and Charming Mr Toad!

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from The Wind in the Willows, released June 28, 2021

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GreenMatthews Coventry, UK

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews play English traditional songs and tunes in a thoroughly 21st-century kick-ass style. Using a blend of ancient instruments such as cittern, English bagpipes and shawm as well as modern folk instruments such as guitar, flute and piano accordion, they breathe new life into material from hundreds of years ago, making it fresh and relevant for a modern audience. ... more

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