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.”
Old Mr. Toad’s eyes twinkled. Here was a chance to get even with Peter for watching him change his suit. “If you’ll turn your back to me and look straight down the Crooked Little Path for five minutes, I’ll disappear,” said he. “More than that, I give you my word of honor that I will not hop three feet from where I am sitting.”
“All right,” replied Peter promptly, turning his back to Old Mr. Toad. “I’ll look down the Crooked Little Path for five minutes and promise not to peek.”
So Peter sat and gazed straight down the Crooked Little Path. It was a great temptation to roll his eyes back and peep behind him, but he had given his word that he wouldn’t, and he didn’t. When he thought the five minutes were up, he turned around. Old Mr. Toad was nowhere to be seen. Peter looked hastily this way and that way, but there was not a sign of Old Mr. Toad. He had disappeared as completely as if he never had been there.
OLD MR. TOAD GIVES PETER A SCARE
If you play pranks on other folks
You may be sure that they
Will take the first chance that they get
A joke on you to play.
Old Mr. Toad was getting even with Peter for laughing at him. While Peter’s back had been turned, Old Mr. Toad had disappeared.
It was too much for Peter. Look as he would, he couldn’t see so much as a chip under which Old Mr. Toad might have hidden, excepting the old board, and Old Mr. Toad had given his word of honor that he wouldn’t hide under that. Nevertheless, Peter hopped over to it and turned it over again, because he couldn’t think of any other place to look. Of course, Old Mr. Toad wasn’t there. Of course not. He had given his word that he wouldn’t hide there, and he always lives up to his word. Peter should have known better than to have looked there.
Old Mr. Toad had also said that he would not go three feet from the spot where he was sitting at the time, so Peter should have known better than to have raced up the Crooked Little Path as he did. But if Old Mr. Toad had nothing to hide under, of course he must have hopped away, reasoned Peter. He couldn’t hop far in five minutes, that was sure, and so Peter ran this way and that way a great deal farther than it would have been possible for Old Mr. Toad to have gone. But it was a wholly useless search, and presently Peter returned and sat down on the very spot where he had last seen Old Mr. Toad. Peter never had felt more foolish in all his life. He began to think that Old Mr. Toad must be bewitched and had some strange power of making himself invisible.