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Toad's Reckoning

from The Wind in the Willows by GreenMatthews

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When they arrived at Toad Hall their worst fears soon awoke.
A large, expensive motor car stood belching acrid smoke
And at the wheel an apparition dressed in mask and scarf.
The Toad hopped down and hailed the three friends with a merry laugh.

“My dear chaps, what a nice surprise! You’re just in time!” said Toad.
“I’ll introduce you to the pleasures of the open road!”
But one look at the faces of the Badger, Rat and Mole
Showed clearly they’d no interest in the pleasures he extolled.

The Rat and Mole both seized him and dragged him through the door.
They took him to the salon and then flung him to the floor.
“Take off those hideous clothes!” said Badger with imperious voice.
“I shan’t!” said Toad, but Rat and Mole left him with little choice.

When they had stripped him of his cap and goggles, gloves and scarf
He looked far less impressive - not as debonair by half.
The Badger took him by the paw and said, “Toad, come with me.
I’ve one or two things which I won’t say in this company.”

He took him to the drawing room while Rat and Mole stood by
And through the door they heard him talk and Toad begin to cry.
After a spell, the Badger brought him back to where they waited.
And Badger seemed quite satisfied while Toad seemed quite deflated.

“I’m pleased to tell you Toad has seen the error of his ways.
He swears he’ll never touch another car for all his days.”
“That’s marvellous!” cried Mole but he had not convinced the Rat
“Call me a cynic, Badger, but can Toad attest to that?”

Toad looked up at Badger, then at Ratty, then at Mole.
His eyes burned with a fire bright from deep within his soul.
“Poop-poop! Poop-poop! Why Badger, despite what you allege,
I’ll never make such a foolish pledge as long as I’m alive!
Poop-poop! Poop-poop! I swear the very next time I see
A Daimler, Dodge or Model T- Poop-poop! - away I’ll drive!”

The Badger turned to Mole and Rat. “There is no other way.
We’ll have to stand guard over him at all times, night and day,
Until this fad has run its course and once again
He’s fit to call himself our friend and can hold up his head once more.”
And so the Toad became a prisoner in his hall,
Denied his freedom and parole 'til he forswore motor-cars.

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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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