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Jun 22

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The Wind in the Willows

In 1908 Kenneth Grahame penned the children’s story titled, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Grahame, a contemporary of Oscar Wilde, grew up along the banks of the River Thames. At that time the area surrounding the Thames was pastoral, though London town was quite crowded and dirty due to the common use of coal as a heat source.

The story tells of a group of anthropomorphized animals (a rat, a mole, a badger and a toad) and their adventures in this bucolic setting. In the novel there is actually a second story encrypted and intertwined as part of the first; one of home and family life and the wonderment of childhood. The novel was written as a storybook for children but adults can gain much wisdom and enjoyment from reading. You can download a free copy of the book from Project Gutenburg here. I will also add that Project Gutenburg is a great resource to find and to download for free many classic works of literature as well as reference titles.

The Guardian newspaper rated the book as #38 of 100 best novels written in the English language. Other books in the ranking include ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, by Lewis Carroll at #18, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain, at #23, among many others. I encourage readers, especially those with children, to take a look at this list of great literary masterpieces.

Inspired by Grahame’s classic children’s story singer/songwriter, Van Morrison wrote a lovely song, titled The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The lyrics are found below:

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

by Van Morrison

The coolness of the riverbank
And the whispering of the reeds
Daybreak is not so very far away
Enchanted and spellbound
In the silence they lingered
And rowed the boat
As the light grew steadily strong
And the birds were silent
As they listened for the heavenly music
And the river played the song
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The song dream happened and the cloven hoofed piper
Played in that holy ground
Where they felt the awe and wonder
And they all were unafraid of the great god Pan
And the wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
When the vision vanished
They heard a choir of birds singing
In the heavenly silence, between the trance and the reeds
And they stood upon the lawn and listened to the silence
Of the wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
Its the wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows
And the piper at the gates of dawn

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There are elements of the song that, for me, offer reflection on the joy of youth, the dreams of summer and the beauty of rural living.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/the-wind-in-the-willows/

2 comments

  1. Angelina

    Thanks for sharing the novel! Your introduction already made it so appealing to me! Can’t wait to read it!

    1. Teacher Kevin

      My pleasure! Thanks for your continued interest in my blogging.
      Be sure to check out the reading list from the Guardian. It offers a wonderful selection of great novels in the English language.
      Also, you can find music by Van Morrison on YouTube. The album mentioned in this post is titled “The Waiting Game”. Hope you like it.

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