The river bank ブログトップ

The river bank (1) [The river bank]

Wind in the willow


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The Mole had been working very hard all the morning,
spring-cleaning his little home.

First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash;
till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of
whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back
and weary arms.

Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below
and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little
house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.
It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down
his brush on the floor, said 'Bother!' and 'O blow!' and
also 'Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house
without even waiting to put on his coat.
Something up above was calling him imperiously,
and he made for the steep little tunnel.

So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged
and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched
and scraped, working busily with his little paws.

He muttering to himself, 'Up we go! Up we go!' till at last,
pop ! his snout came out into the sunlight,
and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of
a great meadow. 'This is fine!' he said to himself.
'This is better than whitewashing!'

The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed
his heated brow.

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He Jumped off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living
and the delight of spring without its cleaning.

He pursued his way across the meadow till he reached
the hedge on the further side.


The river bank (2) [The river bank]

The river bank (2)

'Hold up!' said an elderly rabbit at the gap.
'Sixpence for the privilege of passing by
the private road!'

He was bowled over in an instant by the
impatient and contemptuous Mole, who trotted
along the side of the hedge chaffing the other
rabbits as they peeped hurriedly from their holes
to see what the row was about.

'Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!' he remarked
jeeringly, and was gone before they could think
of a thoroughly satisfactory reply.

Then they all started grumbling at each other.

'How STUPID you are! Why didn't you tell him----'
'Well, why didn't YOU say----'
'You might have reminded him----'
and so on, in the usual way.
But, of course, it was then much too late,
as is always the case. It all seemed too good to be true.

Through the meadows he rambled busily, along
the hedgerows, across the copses, finding
everywhere birds building, flowers budding,
leaves thrusting--everything happy,
and progressive, and occupied.

And instead of having an uneasy conscience
pricking him and whispering 'whitewash!' he
somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be
the only idle dog among all these busy citizens.

After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps
not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all
the other fellows busy working.

He thought his happiness was complete when,
as he meandered aimlessly along,
suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river.


Never in his life had he seen a river before.


The river bank (3) [The river bank]

The river bank (3)
All was a-shake and a-shiverー
glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl,
chatter and bubble.

The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.

By the side of the river he trotted as one trots.

As he sat on the grass and looked across the
river, a dark hole in the bank opposite,
just above the water's edge, caught his eye.

It was too glittering.

Then, as he looked, a small face appeared.
It winked at him.

A brown little face, with whiskers.
A grave round face, with the same twinkle in its
eye that had first attracted his notice. Small neat ears and thick silky hair. It was the Water Rat! Then the two animals stood and regarded each
other cautiously. 'Hullo, Mole!' said the Water Rat. 'Hullo, Rat!' said the Mole. 'Would you like to come over?'
enquired the Rat presently.
"Oh, its all very well to TALK,' said the Mole,
rather pettishly, he being new to a river
and riverside life and its ways.


The river bank (4) [The river bank]

The river bank (4)

The Rat said nothing, but lightly stepped into
a little boat which the Mole had not observed.

It was painted blue outside and white within,
and was just the size for two animals;
and the Mole's whole heart went out to it
at once, even though he did not yet fully
understand its uses.

The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast.

'Now then, step lively!', he said, holding up his
forepaw as the Mole stepped gingerly down.

And the Mole, to his surprise and rapture,
found himself actually seated in the stern of
a real boat. He said,'this has been a wonderful day!'
'Do you know, I've never been in a boat
before in all my life.'
'What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed.
'Never been in aーyou neverーwell, Iー
what have you been doing, then?' 'Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole
shyly, though he felt the boat sway lightly
under him. 'Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat

'Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

'Simply messing,' he went on dreamily. 'Look ahead, Rat !' cried the Mole suddenly. It was too late.

The boat struck the bank full tilt.

The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, l
lay on his back at the bottom of the boat,
his heels in the air.

The river bank (5) [The river bank]

The river bank (5)

'About in boats or WITH boats,' the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh.
'Nothing seems really to matter.'
Look here!

If you've really nothing else on hand this morning,
supposing we drop down the river together,
and have a long day of it?'

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness,
spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment,
and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions.

'WHAT a day I'm having!' he said.
'Let us start at once!'

'Hold hard a minute, then!' said the Rat.

He looped the painter through a ring in his
landing-stage, climbed up into his hole above.

And after a short interval, he reappeared with a fat,
wicker luncheon-basket.


He passed it to the Mole.

Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.

'What's inside it?' asked the Mole,
wriggling with curiosity. 'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the
Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkins
gingerbeerlemonadesodawaterー' 'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies.
'This is too much!' 'Do you really think so?' inquired the Rat
'It's only what I always take on these
little excursions.'

' And the other animals are always telling me
that I'm a mean beast and cut it VERY fine!' The Mole trailed a paw in the water and dreamed long waking dreams.

The Water Rat, like the good little fellow
he was, sculled steadily on. 'I like your clothes awfully, old chap,'
he remarked after some half an hour
or so had passed.
'I'm going to get a black velvet smoking-suit
myself some day, as soon as I can afford it.'

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'You must think me very rude, but all this is
so new to me,' said the Mole. 'SoーthisーisーaーRiver !' 'THE River,' corrected the Rat. 'Do you really live by the river?
What a jolly life!' 
said the Mole.


The river bank (6) [The river bank]

The river bank (6)

By it and with it and on it and in it, " said the Rat.

" It's brother and sister to me, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally)washing.
It's my world, and I don't want say another. What it hasn't got is not worth having,and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing.

Lord ! the time we've had together !
Whether in winter or summer, spring or autumn, it's always got its fun and its excitements."

" But isn't it a bit dull at times ? " the Mole ventures to ask.
" Just you and the river, and no one else to pass a word with ? "

" No one else to ーwell, I mustn't be hard on you, " said the Rat.
" You're new to it, and of course you don't know.
The bank is so crowed nowadays that many people are moving away altogether.
Oh, no, it isn't what it used to be, at all.
Otters, kingfishers, dabchiks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wanting you to DO somethingーas if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to ! "

"It was so very beautiful that the Mole could only hold up both fore-paws and gasp, " O my ! Oh my ! O my ! "

The Rat helped the Mole safely ashore, and swung out the luncheon-basket.

The Mole begged to be allowed to unpack it all by himself.

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The Rat was very pleased to indulge him, and to sprawl at full length on the grass and rest.

When all was ready, the Rat said, " Now, pitch in, old fellow ! "

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The Mole was very glad to, for he had started his spring-cleaning at a very early hour that morning, as people will do, and had not paused for bite or sup.


The river bank (7) [The river bank]

The river bank (7)
The land they set out their picnic things was that
leaving the main stream, passed into what seemed
like a little land-lock lake.

" That is an old water mill, with a restress drippng
-wheel, " said the Rat.
" We're already passed the wild wood."

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" I've never heard of the Wild Wood,"
Mole said, without much curiosity.

"Just as well," exclaimed the Rat.
" The weasels and ferret live there and most of
them are downright wicked...,"

And beyond the Wild Wood ? Something like the
smoke of towns, or it only clud-drift ? "
asked the Mole.

" Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World, "
said the Rat.
"And that's something that doesn't matter,
either to you or me.
I have never been there, and never
going nor you either, if you've got
any sense at all.
Don't ever refer to it again, please."

As they lay in the sun, the Rat and the Mole
talked all the things they enjoyed most
and the Mole began to feel he had known
the Rat all his life.

" What are you looking at ? " said the Rat
presently, when the edge of their hunger
was somewhat dulled.

" I'm looking , " said the Mole, " at a streak of
bubbles that I see travelling along the surface
of the water. "

" Bubbles ? Oho ! " said tha Rat. 

A broad glistening muzzle showed itself
above the edge of the bank.

He was just about to say something more,
without warning, a wet and furry head popped
out of the water.

It was the Otter.
He shooks the water from his coat and climbing
on to the bank.


" Ratty, you greedy beggars ! Why didn't you
invite me to your picnic ? " said the Otter.


The river bank (8) [The river bank]

The river bank (8)

" This was an impromptu affair, " exclaimed the Rat.

" By the wayーmy friend Mr Mole. "

"Proud, I'm sure, " said the Otter and the two animals were friends forthwith.

The Otter began helping himself to the rest of the food.
And then, " Such a rumpus everywhere ! " continued the Otter,

" All the world seems out on the river today.
I came up this backwater to try and get a moment's peace, and then stumble upon you fellows.
At least, I don't exactly mean that, you know."

There was a rustle behind them, proceeding from a hedge wherein last year's leaves still clung thick, and a stripy head, with high shoulders behind it, peered forth on them.

" Come on, old badger, "shouted the Ratty.

The badger trotted forward a pace or two.

Then he grunted, " H'm Company ! " and turned his back and disappeared from view.

" That's JUST the sort of fellow he is, observed the disappointed Rat.
" Simply hates Society. Now we shan't see any more of him today. Well, tell us, WHO'S out on the river ? "

" Toad's out, for one, " replied the Otter, " In his brand-new wager-boat; new togs, new everything ! "

new togs: wearing smart new boating clothes

The two animals looked at each other and laughed. 


The river bank (9) [The river bank]

The river bank (9)

" Once, it was nothing but sailing, " said the Rat.

" Then he tired of that and took to punting.

PUNT パント さおで動かす一種の平底の小船

ing would please him but to punt all day and every day, and a nice mess he made of it.
Last year it was house-boating, and we all had to go and stay with him in his house-boat, and pretend we like it.
He was going to spend the rest of his life in a house-boat.
It's all the same, whatever he takes up ; he gets tired of that, and starts on something fresh. "

"Such a good fellow, too, " remarked the Otter;
" But no stabilityーespecialy in a boat ! "

From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the main stream.

Just then a wager-boat flashed into view, the rowerーa short, stout figureーsplashed badly and rolling a good deal, but working his hardest.

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The Rat stood up and waved to him excitedly, but Toadーfor it was heーshook his head and settled sternly to his work.

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" He'll be out of the boat in a minute if he rolls like that, " said the Rat, sitting down again.

" Of course he will, " chuckled the Otter.

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The river bank (10) [The river bank]

The river bank (10)

" Did I ever tell you that good story about Toad and the Lock-keeper ? It happened this way. Toad... "

Just then, an errant May-fly swerved unsteadily past.

There was a swirl of water and a " cloop ! " and the May-fly disappeared.

So did the Otter.

The Mole looked down.

The voice was still in his ears, but the water he jumped in was clealy vacant.
Not an Otter to be seen, as far as the distant horizon.

But again there was a streak of bobbles on the surface of the river.

The Rat hummed a tune, and the Mole recollected that animal-etiquette on the sudden disappearance of one's friends.   

" Well, well, " said the Rat, " I Suppose we ought to be moving. I wonder which of us had better pack the lunchon-basket ? "

He did not speak as if he was frightfully eager for the treat.

" O, please let me, " said the Mole.

So, of course, the Rat let him.

Packing the basket was not quite such a pleasant work as unpack the basket. It never is.

The Mole was somehow got the basket packed and strapped up tightly.
But just then he saw a plate staring up at him from the grass and he had to be unpacked again.

And there was the fork on the grass and there was the mustard pot which he had been sitting on without knowing it, he had to be done the job again.

At least the Rat said it was time to go home.
The afternoon sun was getting low as the Rat sculled gently homewards in a dreamy mood, murmuring poetry-things over to himself.

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The river bank (11) [The river bank]

The river bank (11)

As they glided along, the Mole was full of lunch, and self-satisfaction, and pride, and already quite at home in a boat
(so he thought).

Presently he said,
"  Ratty, Ratty ! Please, I want to row now ! "

The Rat shook his head with a smile.

" Not yet, my young friend," he said.

" Wait till you've had a few lessons. It's not so easy as it looks. "

The Mole was quiet for a minute or two, but he began to feel more and more jealous of Rat, sculling so strong and so easily along.

And his pride began to whisper that he could do it as well.

Suddenly he jumped up and seized the sculls, and the Rat was taken by surprise and fell backwards off his seat with his legs in the air.

While the triumphant Mole took his palce and grabbed the sculls with entire confidence.

" Stop it, you SILLY ass ! " cried the Rat, from the bottom of the boat.
" You can't do it. You'll have us over ! "

The Mole flung his sculls back with a flourish, and made a great dig at the water.

He missed the surface altogether, his leg flew up above his head and he found himself lying on the top of the Rat.

He made a grab at the side of the boat, and the next momentー
Splash! Over went the boat,
and he found himself strugging in the river.

" O my, how cold the water was, " he said to himself, "O, how very wet it felt."

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The river bank (12) [The river bank]

The river bank (12)

How it sang in his ears as he went down, down, down !
How bright and welcome the sun looked as he rose to the surface coughing and spluttering.  

Then a firm paw gripped him by the back of his neck.

It was the Rat, and he was evidently laughing.

The Mole could FEEL him laughing, right down his arm and through his paw.

The rat got hold of a scull and shoved it under the Mole's arm.

Then he swam behind the mole, propelled the helpless Mole to shore, hauled him out the water, and set him down on the river bank.

When the Rat rubbed him down a bit and wrung some of the wet out of him, he said,
" Now , old fellow, Trot up and down the path as hard as you can, till you're warm and dry again, while I dive to the river for the lunchon-basket. "

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So the dismal Mole, wet without and shamed within, trotted about till he was fairly dry, while the Rat recovered the boat and things.

When all was ready for a start once more, the Moe took his seat in the stern of the boat.

As they set off again, the Mole said in a very low voice, broken with emotion,
" Ratty, my generous friend ! I am very sorry indeed for my foolish conduct.
My heart quite fails me when I think how I might have lost that beautiful lunchon-basket. 
Indeed I have been a complete ass. 
Will you forgive me ? , and let things go on as before ? "

" That's all right, bless you ! " responded the Rat cheerily.

" What a little wet to a Water Rat ? I'm more in the water than out of it most days.
Don't you think any more about it. 
And look here ! I really think you had better come and stop with me for a little time.
It's very plain and rough, you know, not like Toad' house at all, but you haven't seen that yet.
I can make you comfortable.
I'll teach you to row, and to swim, and you'll soon be as handy on the water as any of us. 

The Mole was so touched by his kind manner of speaking that he couldn't  answer him. 
He had to brush away a tear or two with the back of his paw.

The Rat kindly looked in another direction, pretended not to notice the tear, and presently the Mole's spirits revived again.


The river bank (13) [The river bank]

The river bank (13)

When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlour and planted the Molein an arm-chair in front of it.

Then he fetched down a dressing-gown and slippers for him and told him river stories till supper time.

Very thrilling stories they were, too, to an earth-dwelling animal like Mole.
Stories about weirs, and sudden floods, and leaping pike, and steamers that flung hard bottles, and about adventures down drains, and night-fishing with Otter, or excursions far a-field with Badger.

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Supper was a most cheerful meal.
As the Mole sat in front of the roaring fire, with a mug of warm milky tea in his hand, he felt completely at home.

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But very shortly afterwards a terribly sleepy Mole had to be escorted upstairs by his considerate host, to the best bedroom, where he soon laid his head on his pillow in great peace and contentment, knowing that his new-friend the river was lapping the sill of his wondow.

This day was only the first of many similar ones for the Mole, each of them longer and full of interest as the ripening summer moved onward.

He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water.

At intervals, the wind went whispering constantly among them.

原作の the river bank の章は、ここで終わりです。
しかし、仲間の主役級のToad の出演場面が少ないので、
The wind in the willow の中から、Toad も含めて出てきます

The river bank ブログトップ