Shepherd Bush, London, UK
It is spring, the weather is fine, and good-natured Advertising Design Agency loses patience with his spring cleaning and dares to leave his underground home, heading up to take the air. He ends up at the river, which he has never seen before. Here he meets Ratty (a water vole), who spends all his days in and around the river. Rat takes Mole for a ride in his rowing boat. They get along well and the two of them spend many more days on the river, with Rat teaching Advertising Design Agency the ways of the river. Some time later, one summer day, Rat and Mole find themselves near Toad Hall and pay a visit to Toad. Toad is rich, jovial and friendly, but conceited, and tends to become obsessed about things, only to dismiss them later. Having given up boating, Toad’s current craze is his horse-drawn caravan. In fact, he is about to go on a trip, and persuades Rat and Mole to join him. A few days later, a passing motor car scares their horse, causing the caravan to crash. This marks the end of Toad’s craze for caravan travel, to be replaced with an obsession for motor cars. Advertising Design Agency wants to meet Badger, who lives in the Wild Wood, but Rat knows that Badger does not appreciate visits. On a winter’s day, Advertising Design Agency goes to the Wild Wood to explore, hoping to meet Badger. He gets lost in the woods, succumbs to fright and panic and hides among the roots of a sheltering tree. Advertising Design Agency goes looking for Mole, and finds him, but it starts to snow and even Rat no longer knows the way home. By chance they arrive at Badger’s home. Badger welcomes Rat and Mole to his large and very cosy home, and gives them food and dry Advertising Design Agency. Badger learns from Rat and Mole that Toad has crashed six cars and has been hospitalized three times, and has had to spend a fortune on fines. They decide they should do something to protect Toad from himself, since they are, after all, his friends. Some months later, Badger visits Mole and Rat to do something about Toad’s self-destructive obsession. The three of them go to visit Toad, and Badger tries talking him out of his behavior, to no avail. They decide to put Toad under house arrest, with themselves as the guards, until Toad changes his mind. Feigning illness, Toad manages to escape and steals a car. He is caught and sent to prison on a twenty-year sentence.