Wind in the Willows

Is there anything for little boys like the adventure of Mole and Badger and Rat – and of course the ineffable Toad? Of Toad’s exuberance, Mole’s gentle loyalty, Rat’s wisdom, and Badger’s bravery? Up against the evil weasels who have seized Toad hall?

I just finished reading “Wind in the Willows” to my little boy; we’re making our way through as many classics as we can while he still has the patience to put up with me; while he still eagerly awaits the nightly chapters before bedtime; while he still stands the sound of my voice and my moralizing. I want to give him these works of literature, of wisdom and culture and civilization as stepping stones he can cling to as he seeks to pass the turbid waters of adolescence and adulthood – waters that will seek to wash away everything he knows. Only these classics, firmly rooted to the bedrock of who we are, can last. The cartoons, the pop-modern books of now (and there’s nothing wrong with them) can’t anchor him, and without roots you cannot have wings.

This book was magnificent, magical – a story of friendship and loyalty, but fun and lively and so extremely well-written it at parts took my breath away. This is a year of misery and frustration, of politics and pandemic both of which are guaranteed to make us all miserable. It is only in classics that we can escape the nonsense into something of our past that remains as true and good today as it was when it was written. More and more I turn back, to the olden works that never change as I realize what really matters and come to the conclusion that things that others say matter actually don’t that much – that nothing is so important as my little boy giggling at the antics of Toad.

And that is good.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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