Now when Peter said please that way, of course Old Mr. Toad couldn’t resist him. Nobody could.
“Here comes an ant this way. Now you watch my mouth instead of the ant and see what happens,” said Old Mr. Toad.
Peter looked and saw a big black ant coming. Then he kept his eyes on Old Mr. Toad’s mouth. Suddenly there was a little flash of red from it, so tiny and so quick that Peter couldn’t be absolutely sure that he saw it. But when he looked for the ant, it was nowhere to be seen. Peter looked at Old Mr. Toad very hard.
“Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Toad, that you’ve got a tongue long enough to reach way over to where that ant was?” he asked.
Old Mr. Toad chuckled again. With every insect swallowed he felt better natured. “You’ve guessed it, Peter,” said he. “Handy tongue, isn’t it?”
“I think it’s a very queer tongue,” retorted Peter, “and I don’t understand it at all. If it’s so long as all that, where do you keep it when it isn’t in use? I should think you’d have to swallow it to get it out of the way, or else leave it hanging out of your mouth.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” laughed Old Mr. Toad. “My tongue never is in the way, and it’s the handiest tongue in the world. I’ll show it to you.”
OLD MR. TOAD SHOWS HIS TONGUE
To show one’s tongue, as you well
Is not considered nice to do;
But if it were like Mr. Toad’s
I’d want to show it—wouldn’t you?
I’m quite sure you would. You see, if it were like Old Mr. Toad’s, it would be such a wonderful tongue that I suspect you would want everybody to see it. Old Mr. Toad thinks his tongue the most satisfactory tongue in the world. In fact, he is quite sure that without it he couldn’t get along at all, and I don’t know as he could. And yet very few of his neighbors know anything about that tongue and how different it is from most other tongues. Peter Rabbit didn’t until Old Mr. Toad showed him after Peter had puzzled and puzzled over the mysterious way in which bugs and flies disappeared whenever they happened to come within two inches or less of Old Mr. Toad.
What Peter couldn’t understand was what Old Mr. Toad did with a tongue that would reach two inches beyond his mouth. He said as much.
“I’ll show you my tongue, and then you’ll wish you had one just like it,” said Old Mr. Toad, with a twinkle in his eyes.
He opened his big mouth and slowly ran his tongue out its full length. “Why! Why-ee!” exclaimed Peter. “It’s fastened at the wrong end!”
“No such thing!” replied Old Mr. Toad indignantly. “If it was fastened at the other end, how could I run it out so far?”
“But mine and all other tongues that I ever have seen are fastened way down in the throat,” protested Peter. “Yours is fastened at the other end, way in the very front of your mouth. I never heard of such a thing.”