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Fifth Series

 

 

  

  1. The Chief's Return

  2. Oarsman Toad

  3. Midsummer Night's Disaster

  4. The Compleat Bungler

  5. Mr. Toad of 'The Times'

  6. Toad in Motion

  7. Piano-Roll Toad

  8. Gypsy Toad

  9. Hip-Hip Soirée

  10. Happy Birthday!

  11. A Toad in Time

  12. Toad in Love

  13. Toad: Film Maker

1. The Chief's Return

The Chief weasel is in prison for taking over Toad Hall in A Tale of Two Toads. His henchmen pay a visit to Toad and trick him into believing that the weasels want him as their new leader. Toad goes to see the Chief in gaol, but the weasels escape and leave Toad locked in the cell. The weasels once again take over Toad Hall. The Chief pretends to be Toad sick in bed. The real Toad is set free and plays into the weasels' plot by pretending to be Dr McSporran, and his examination of 'Toad' gives the game away.

 

2. Oarsman Toad

Rat will be hard to beat in the Homemade Boat competition at the Annual Regatta, but the promise of a silver cup convinces Toad to try. After the unsuccessful trial of a professionally-built boat, Toad desperately tries to build his own scull, but it turns out looking like a banana and falls to pieces. Finally, Toad employs the weasels to build a boat, a very solid vessel they dub 'Sea Wolf'. However, it springs a leak during Toad's demonstration. Badger comments that the 'Sea Wolf' is very fast - he has never seen one go to the bottom faster.

 

3. Midsummer Night's Disaster

Badger feels he is past producing this year's summer entertainment, so Toad volunteers to take over from him. Searching for a suitable play, he stumbles across A Midsummer Night's Dream. He likes the title, but he can't understand a word of it, so he writes his own version. Toad throws in characters from Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers and casts himself as Oberon, who is really Robin Hood in disguise. Meanwhile, the weasels take the opportunity to rob Toad Hall while everyone is busy. The play goes badly as Rat (Sheriff of Nottingham), Mole (Friar Tuck) and the field mice (fairies) recite their way through Toad's awful lines. Fortunately, the weasels make a cameo appearance.

 

4. The Compleat Bungler

After paying another uninvited visit on Auberon, Toad is taken by the idea of fly-fishing. Badger thinks this may be a good craze for Toad because it will teach him some patience. Casting off Badger's offers to teach him, Toad struggles to even assemble the rod. Meanwhile the weasels, knowing Toad is off fishing, steal Toad's motorbicycle. Toad manages to reel in one catch, however.

 

5. Mr Toad of "The Times"

Disappointed that he never appears in The Times, Toad announces that he is starting his own newspaper. There are few stories to report around the River Bank, and his first story features Alfred denying involvement in the recent hay fires. Toad does not think the world is ready to learn that Mole once won second place for his gooseberry jam, and his attempt at staging a daring river rescue is foiled. Nonetheless, the first issue goes to press, but Toad realises too late that he has set the type backwards! As the press goes haywire, backward copies of the Toad Hall Times 

 

6. Toad in Motion

After visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum, Toad is convinced that 'together, man and machine will conquer the universe.' The Chief Weasel and his brother Bert overhear and come u with another con. Bert disguises as a foreign professor and asks Toad to finance the building of a perpetual-motion machine he has designed. With the promise of fame, Toad keeps on giving him money until the day of the unveiling. Thanks to a weasel under the table, it actually works! Toad brings his friends to Toad Hall, only to find the professor gone and the machine out of order. However, he gets his money back by pretending that it works and selling it to the weasels.

 

7. Piano-Roll Toad

Toad invites everyone to his piano recital. The only problem is, he doesn't know how to play. The peddling required to make the piano play itself is too exhausting, so Toad successfully rigs up his old bicycle to power the piano and employs Billy Rabbit to secretly peddle it. Toad's friends are amazed at how well he can play, but the weasels also want a turn at peddling...

 

8. Gypsy Toad

Toad is trying to cut firewood when a gipsy approaches and offers to do the work for him. After Toad comes back from his nap, the gipsy has finished the work, so Toad gives him half a sovereign. Impressed by his generosity, the gipsy invited Toad to share a meal under the stars. Toad becomes absorbed in the Romany lifestyle and announces to his friends that is going to be a zucchini (zingari), much to Badger's amusement. Toad tries to set up camp and play the violin, but when the rain comes down he is forced to retreat back to Ratty's house.

 

9. Hip, Hip, Soirée

While at Badger's house, Toad announces that he is hosting a soirée with party games. After charades and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, they play a game where you have to impersonate someone else. Rat has to pretend he is Toad, but does it a little to well. Toad doesn't see himself that way, so he goes to bed in a huff and says that he never wants to see them again. He falls asleep and is haunted by a very strange dream where Badger speaks in Mole's voice, and all his other friends have swapped voices as well. He wakes up and apologises to his friends.

 

10. Happy Birthday

The four friends are gathered at Badger's on a peaceful winter's evening and Toad is trying to hint that his birthday, 28th November, is approaching. Badger informs Toad that that date is Sagittarious and, from looking at a book of the Zodiac, tells Toad that Sagittarians are frequently without tact, restless, fidgety, lovers of speed, quick-tempered, given to showing off, over-dramatic and often clumsily uncoordinated. Toad starts to believe in it when Badger finally reveals that they are also brave and generous idealists. Toad becomes interested in the Astrology and practices on Billy Rabbit. He sits on his roof that night to study the stars, but nothing goes according to plan. The next day Toad has a pleasant surprise when everyone, including the Weasels, turn up at his house to wish him a happy birthday.

 

11. A Toad in Time

One evening Badger, Ratty and Mole play cards while Toad engages himself in 'The Time Traveller' by H. G. Wells. He foolishly believes time travel to be possible and decides to build the time machine, much to his friends' amazement. Once built, Toad tries to get it working but falls asleep through tiredness of doing so. He then awakens and finds himself back in time, in the role of Robin Hood. He meets Mole as Friar Tuck and Ratty as The Sherrif of Nottingham. He then travels into another time as Julias Caesar, finding himself married to Mole! He is finally awoken in the present back at Toad Hall by Badger, Ratty and Mole, who try to tell Toad it was just a dream. But Toad is convinced he travelled through time.

 

12. Toad in Love

After ordering a movie camera in London, Toad goes to a music hall and watches a performance by Lottie D'Urberville, the Eastcheap Nightingale. Convinced she is singing about him, he unsuccessfully waits outside the stage door to meet her. Back home, Toad has become obsessed with her and writes goes around dreamily writing poetry. When he refuses cream cakes, Badger goes to London with Toad to find out more about Lottie. Badger breaks the news to him that her real name is Lettuce Pomme-Fritte and she is married to a tight-rope walker and has four children. Toad is heart-broken until his movie camera arrives.

 

13. Toad: Film Maker

Toad tries to get his friends to be in his new film but they are all too busy preparing for the winter. So, Toad turns to the Youngsters, and then the Weasels, to be his stars and crew, but of course Toad insists on being the main star, director and camera man. The Weasels are caught stealing from Toad Hall by Badger, Ratty and Mole, who have finally got their winter preparations ready, and then everyone becomes involved in Toad's film. 'An Orphan's Lament' is shown later in Toad Hall, with Ratty at the piano and Billy Rabbit as narrator. As Badger says, it's nice for them to be preserved forever on a strip of film, "and a little of who we were and what we did will be remembered when we have gone".

 


© The Kenneth Grahame Society

[This page was reproduced with the kind permission of its original author Nicholas Houghton (Australia)]