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  The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad Thornton W. Burgess

Old Mr. Toad Disappears

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    Admit your fault when you've done wrong,
    And don't postpone it over long.

Peter Rabbit didn't blame Old Mr. Toad a bit for being indignant because Peter had watched him change his suit. It wasn't a nice thing to do. Old Mr. Toad had looked very funny while he was struggling out of his old suit, and Peter just couldn't help laughing at him. But he realized that he had been very impolite, and he very meekly told Old Mr. Toad so.

"You see, it was this way," explained Peter. "I heard something under that old board, and I just naturally turned it over to find out what was there."

"Hump!" grunted Old Mr. Toad.

"I didn't have the least idea that you were there," continued Peter. "When I found who it was, and what you were doing, I couldn't help watching because it was so interesting, and I couldn't help laughing because you really did look so funny. But I'm sorry, Mr. Toad. Truly I am. I didn't mean to be so impolite. I promise never to do it again. I don't suppose, Mr. Toad, that it seems at all wonderful to you that you can change your suit that way, but it does to me. I had heard that you swallowed your old suits, but I never half believed it. Now I know it is so and just how you do it, and I feel as if I had learned something worth knowing. Do you know, I think you are one of the most interesting and wonderful of all my neighbors, and I'll never laugh at or tease you again, Mr. Toad."

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"Hump!" grunted Old Mr. Toad again, but it was very clear that he was a little flattered by Peter's interest in him and was rapidly recovering his good nature.

"There is one thing I don't understand yet," said Peter, "and that is where you go to to sleep all winter. Do you go down into the mud at the bottom of the Smiling Pool the way Grandfather Frog does?"

"Certainly not!" retorted Old Mr. Toad. "Use your common sense, Peter Rabbit. If I had spent the winter in the Smiling Pool, do you suppose I would have left it to come way up here and then have turned right around and gone back there to sing? I'm not so fond of long journeys as all that."

"That's so." Peter looked foolish. "I didn't think of that when I spoke."

"The trouble with you, and with a lot of other people, is that you speak first and do your thinking afterward, when you do any thinking at all," grunted Old Mr. Toad. "Now if I wanted to, I could disappear right here."

"You mean that you would hide under that old board just as you did before," said Peter, with a very wise look.

"Nothing of the sort!" snapped Old Mr. Toad. "I could disappear and not go near that old board, not a step nearer than I am now."

Peter looked in all directions carefully, but not a thing could he see under which Old Mr. Toad could possibly hide except the old board, and he had said he wouldn't hide under that. "I don't like to doubt your word, Mr. Toad," said he, "but you'll have to show me before I can believe that."

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The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad
Thornton W. Burgess

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