First Jimmy told Buster all about how puffed up Old Mr. Toad was because he had dined with Buster, and how ever since then he had refused even to speak to his old friends and neighbors. It tickled Buster Bear so to think that little homely Old Mr. Toad could be proud of anything that he laughed and laughed, and his laugh was deep and grumbly-rumbly. Then Jimmy told him the plan to teach Old Mr. Toad a lesson and asked Buster if he would help. Buster’s eyes twinkled as he promised to do what Jimmy asked.
Then Jimmy went straight to where Old Mr. Toad was sitting all puffed up, taking a sun-bath.
“Buster Bear has just sent word by me to ask if you will honor him by dining with him to-morrow at the rotted chestnut stump near the edge of the Green Forest,” said Jimmy in his politest manner.
Now if Old Mr. Toad was puffed up before, just think how he swelled out when he heard that. Jimmy Skunk was actually afraid that he would burst.
“You may tell my friend, Buster Bear, that I shall be very happy to honor him by dining with him,” replied Old Mr. Toad with a very grand air.
Jimmy went off to deliver his reply, and Old Mr. Toad sat and puffed himself out until he could hardly breathe. “Honor him by dining with him,” said he over and over to himself. “I never was so flattered in my life.”
OLD MR. TOAD LEARNS A LESSON
Pride is like a great big bubble;
You’ll find there’s nothing in it.
Prick it and for all your trouble
It has vanished in a minute.
Old Mr. Toad was so puffed out with pride as he started for the Green Forest to dine with Buster Bear that those who saw him wondered if he wouldn’t burst before he got there. Everybody knew where he was going, and this made Old Mr. Toad feel more important and proud than ever. He might not have felt quite so puffed up if he had known just how it had come about that he received this second invitation to dine with Buster Bear. When Jimmy Skunk brought it to him, Jimmy didn’t tell him that Buster had been asked to send the invitation, and that it was all part of a plan on the part of some of Old Mr. Toad’s old friends and neighbors to teach him a lesson. No, indeed, Jimmy didn’t say anything at all about that!
So Old Mr. Toad went hopping along and stumbling over his own feet, because his head was held so high and he was so puffed out that he couldn’t see where he was going. He could think of nothing but how important Buster Bear must consider him to invite him to dinner a second time, and of the delicious ants he was sure he would have to eat.
“What very good taste Buster Bear has,” thought he, “and how very fortunate it is that he found out that I also am fond of ants.”