The mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.
–Kenneth Grahame - The wind in the willows - c.1908, 2015
It’s fairly impossible for me to be objective about The Wind in the Willows. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read the whole book before, but I certainly remember many extracts that were part of school books over the years. The first chapter certainly has stuck with me;
“onions sauce” is such a great insult. And also his first meeting with Badger in the wild woods. A lot of the other memories could be from the tv show though. Badger was always my favourite.
The book is wonderful though. It is strange maybe to modern readers. Especially as it is marketed as a children’s book. The language might be a bit difficult for some, and the whole cosy atmosphere might not be what “the youngsters” are in to today.
I loved it.
It is more a collection of adventures and scenes rather than one story, but that allows for some great digressions such as the meeting with the sea rat, or when Rat and Mole encounter Pan. It is such a strange but wonderful scene.
I’m not quite sure how the rules of the world of The Wind in the Willows work, some animals seem to wear clothes and live in houses. Others are much more natural. And they live apart from humans, but come into contact with them1. But none of that really matters, because at the heart of the book it is about four main characters and an idyllic countryside that never really existed but still manages to make you feel utterly at home in it.
and their laws as Toad learns ↩