“Oh,” panted Mr. Toad, “you came just in time! I couldn’t have hopped another hop.”
“I guess I did,” replied Jimmy. “Now you get your breath and come along with me.” And Old Mr. Toad did.
OLD MR. TOAD GETS HIS STOMACH FULL
Pray do not tip your nose in scorn
At things which others eat,
For things to you not good at all
To others are most sweet.
There are ants, for instance. You wouldn’t want to eat them even if you were dreadfully hungry. But Old Mr. Toad and Buster Bear think there is nothing much nicer. Now Buster Bear had found Old Mr. Toad catching ants, one at a time, as he kept watch beside their home, and it had pleased Buster to find some one else who liked ants. Right away he invited Old Mr. Toad to dine with him. But poor Old Mr. Toad was frightened almost to death when he heard the deep, grumbly-rumbly voice of Buster Bear, for he had been so busy watching the ants that he hadn’t seen Buster coming.
He fell right over on his back, which wasn’t at all dignified, and made Buster Bear laugh. That frightened Mr. Toad more than ever. You see he didn’t have the least doubt in the world that Buster Bear meant to eat him, and when Buster invited him to dinner, he was sure that that was just a joke on Buster’s part.
But there was no way to escape, and after a little Old Mr. Toad thought it best to be polite, because, you know, it always pays to be polite. So he said in a very faint voice that he would be pleased to dine with Buster. Then he waved his feet feebly, trying to get on his feet again. Buster Bear laughed harder than ever. It was a low, deep, grumbly-rumbly laugh, and sent cold shivers all over poor Old Mr. Toad. But when Buster reached out a great paw with great cruel-looking claws Mr. Toad quite gave up. He didn’t have strength enough left to even kick. He just closed his eyes and waited for the end.
What do you think happened? Why, he was rolled over on to his feet so gently that he just gasped with surprise. It didn’t seem possible that such a great paw could be so gentle.
“Now,” said Buster Bear in a voice which he tried to make sound pleasant, but which was grumbly-rumbly just the same, “I know where there is a fine dinner waiting for us just a little way from here. You follow me, and we’ll have it in no time.”
So Buster Bear led the way, and Old Mr. Toad followed as fast as he could, because he didn’t dare not to. Presently Buster stopped beside a big decayed old log. “If you are ready, Mr. Toad, we will dine now,” said he.
Old Mr. Toad didn’t see anything to eat. His heart sank again, and he shook all over. “I—I’m not hungry,” said he in a very faint voice.
Buster Bear didn’t seem to hear. He hooked his great claws into the old log and gave a mighty pull. Over rolled the log, and there were ants and ants and ants, hurrying this way and scurrying that way, more ants than Mr. Toad had seen in all his life before!