Wartback's Friend.

"…and then we'd whack 'em, and whack 'em and whack 'em!" concluded Mr Toad, telling the story yet again to his young toadlings, who were still young enough to have the vestiges of a tail .

"And now it is bedtime" said Mrs Toad.


Wartback went out after breakfast strolling along the riverbank trying not to get his new knickerbockers and Norfolk jacket snagged on the many bushes; his father liked the young toads of Toad Hall to always present an immaculate appearance. He picked a bunch of flowers on the way.

He got to the secret place where he met with his special friend. She was waiting for him in the hole at the base of the weeping willow tree that dipped its slender branches into the river, making a concealing tent of green through which they might see without being seen, listening to the gentle soughing of the breeze in its branches and the pleasant music of the tinkling singing river and the gentle lap as it caressed its banks.

Wartback thrust forward the flowers to her.

"Oh, how pretty!" she said, sniffing them ecstatically "Will I be able to come to see your house soon, Wartback?"

Wartback shuffled, ashamed, and did a little hop to hide his embarrassment.

"I'm sorry, Frenzie" he said "I'm afraid my papa is still just as filled with prejudice as ever; he told that story again last night."

The little weasel's eyes filled with tears.

"Oh Wartback!" she said "It is so sad that those violent and horrid weasels of so long ago have given your papa such an aversion to all of us! Why Mama and Papa and I would not wish to harm toads at all! Though as we have relatives who were involved as part of the wild wooders I have been circumspect about mentioning you too."

Wartback took her slender clawed paw in his webbed hand.

"But it does not stop US being friends" he said.