Quotes from work
The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Scottish novelist Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow-moving and fast-paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of Edwardian England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie, and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames Valley.


Kenneth Grahame photo

„The world has held great Heroes,
As history books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared with that of Toad!“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908), Ch. 10, "The Further Adventures Of Toad"

Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo

„Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908), Ch. 3

Kenneth Grahame photo

„All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908), Ch. 7
Context: Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.

Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo

„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.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Opening lines, Ch. 1, "The River Bank"
Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908)
Context: 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.

Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo

„Good, bad, and indifferent - It takes all sorts to make a world.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Variant: It takes all sorts to make a world.
Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908), Ch. 4
Context: The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent — I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world.

Kenneth Grahame photo

„I'm such a clever Toad.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo

„There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Rat, Ch. 1
Variant: There’s nothing––absolutely nothing––half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.
Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908)
Context: There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of ‘em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do.

Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo
Kenneth Grahame photo

„It's not the sort of night for bed, anyhow.“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame photo

„All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!“

—  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Source: The Wind in the Willows (1908), Ch. 2, "The Open Road"

Kenneth Grahame photo

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