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Then presently he came upon a country railway halt
And at the sight his heart skipped and turned a somersault.
“Why just the thing I need to get back to Toad Hall again
I’ll buy a first-class ticket and then hop upon the train!”

Arriving at the ticket booth he was distraught to find
His wallet was still in the clothes that he had left behind.
“Well, not to worry, my good man – I’ll send the money on.”
The clerk refused which left our hero thoroughly woebegone.

Toad sat down on the platform and began to wail and cry.
He made such a commotion that the train driver came by.
“Whatever is the matter?” he enquired tenderly
“Oh sir, I’m stranded far from home” Toad sniffled piteously.

The engine driver said “I’ll make a bargain with you, mother.
We’re both skilled at our jobs so maybe we can help each other.
An engine driver’s job’s a dirty one so I suggest
If you’ll wash all my shirts then I will take you as my guest.”

Though Toad had never washed a shirt or blouse in all his days
He happily agreed and they went swiftly on their way.
They’d not gone far when from behind the train there came a screech. Toad looked behind and what he saw turned him as white as bleach.

Behind the train, another locomotive came apace
Filled with policemen shouting “Stop!” as down the tracks it raced. The driver looked at Toad who in appeal fell to his knees.
“Oh save me from this ghastly fate, kind engine driver, please!”

The driver answered “Not unless you tell me who you are.”
Toad answered “I am Mr Toad – I stole a motor car.
And for this small infringement they incarcerated me
In the darkest, dankest dungeon and threw away the key.”

“A motor car! I hate those foul machines!” the driver spat.
“Although to steal is wrong I can’t hand you in just for that.
We’re going through a tunnel soon, jump out the other side
And they can chase me all they like around the countryside.”

And as the train came screeching through the tunnel round the bend Toad tensed himself until he saw the daylight at the end.
Then with his heart up in his mouth he sprang forth from the train He tossed and tumbled down the bank and came to rest again...

Toad picked himself up while he watched the second train go past And as he walked, he laughed to hear the whistle’s distant blast. “Who leapt to freedom from the train?” he chortled as he strode. “The Gentleman Who Knows No Fear – The Daring Mr Toad!”


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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