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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 46 pages of information about The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad.

Jimmy had laughed at Peter Rabbit for being so anxious for Summer to arrive, but he was just as glad as Peter that she had come, although he wouldn’t have said so for the world.  His sharp little eyes twinkled as he ambled along, and there wasn’t much that they missed.  As he walked he talked, quite to himself of course, because there was nobody near to hear, and this is what he was saying: 

  “Beetle, beetle, smooth and smug,
  You are nothing but a bug. 
  Bugs were made for Skunks to eat,
  So come out from your retreat.

“Hello!  There’s a nice big piece of bark over there that looks as if it ought to have a dozen fat beetles under it.  It’s great fun to pull over pieces of bark and see fat beetles run all ways at once.  I’ll just have to see what is under that piece.”

Jimmy tiptoed softly over to the big piece of bark, and then as he made ready to turn it over, he began again that foolish little verse.

  “Beetle, beetle, smooth and smug,
  You are nothing but a bug.”

As he said the last word, he suddenly pulled the piece of bark over.

“Who’s a bug?” asked a funny voice, and it sounded rather cross.  Jimmy Skunk nearly tumbled over backward in surprise, and for a minute he couldn’t find his tongue.  There, instead of the fat beetles he had been so sure of, sat Old Mr. Toad, and he didn’t look at all pleased.

“Who’s a bug?” he repeated.

Instead of answering, Jimmy Skunk began to laugh.  “Who’s a bug?” demanded Old Mr. Toad, more crossly than before.

“There isn’t any bug, Mr. Toad, and I beg your pardon,” replied Jimmy, remembering his politeness.  “I just thought there was.  You see, I didn’t know you were under that piece of bark.  I hope you will excuse me, Mr. Toad.  Have you seen any fat beetles this morning?”

“No,” said Old Mr. Toad grumpily, and yawned and rubbed his eyes.

“Why,” exclaimed Jimmy Skunk, “I believe you have just waked up!”

“What if I have?” demanded Old Mr. Toad.

“Oh, nothing, nothing at all, Mr. Toad,” replied Jimmy Skunk, “only you are the second one I’ve met this morning who had just waked up.”

“Who was the other?” asked Old Mr. Toad.

“Mr. Blacksnake,” replied Jimmy.  “He inquired for you.”

Old Mr. Toad turned quite pale.  “I—­I think I’ll be moving along,” said he.

XVII

OLD MR. TOAD’S MISTAKE

If is a very little word to look at, but the biggest word you have ever seen doesn’t begin to have so much meaning as little “if.” If Jimmy Skunk hadn’t ambled down the Crooked Little Path just when he did; if he hadn’t been looking for fat beetles; if he hadn’t seen that big piece of bark at one side and decided to pull it over; if it hadn’t been for all these “ifs,” why Old Mr. Toad wouldn’t have made the mistake he did, and you wouldn’t have had this story.  But Jimmy Skunk did amble down the Crooked Little Path, he did look for beetles, and he did pull over that big piece of bark.  And when he had pulled it over, he found Old Mr. Toad there.

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