Old Mr. Toad Disappears
“You see, it was this way,” explained Peter. “I heard something under that old board, and I just naturally turned it over to find out what was there. I was so-o-o curious.”
“Humph!” grunted Old Mr. Toad.
“I didn’t have the least idea that you were there,” continued Peter. “When I found who it was, and what you were doing, I couldn’t help watching because it was so interesting. I’m sorry, Mr. Toad. Truly I am. I didn’t mean to be so impolite. I don’t suppose, Mr. Toad, that it seems at all wonderful to you that you can change your suit that way, like it does to me. I had heard that you swallowed your old suits, and yet I never half believed it. Now I know it is so and just how you do it, and I feel as if I had learned something worth knowing.”
“Humph!” grunted Old Mr. Toad again, and it was very clear that he was actually a little flattered by Peter’s interest in him and was rapidly recovering his good nature.
“There is one thing I don’t understand yet,” said Peter, “and that is where you go to to sleep all winter. Do you go down into the mud at the bottom of the Smiling Pool the way Grandfather Frog does?”
“Oh no,” replied Old Mr. Toad “if I had spent the winter in the Smiling Pool, do you suppose I would have left it to come way up here and then have turned right around and gone back there to sing? I’m not so fond of long journeys as all that.
“Actually, if I wanted to, I could disappear right here” said Old Mr. Toad.
“You mean that you would hide under that old board just as you did before?” asked Peter.
“Nothing of the sort! I could disappear and not go near that old board, not a step nearer than I am now,” Mr. Toad said proudly.
Peter looked in all directions carefully, and yet he could not see a thing under which Old Mr. Toad could possibly hide except the old board, and he had said he wouldn’t hide under that. “I don’t like to doubt your word, Mr. Toad,” he said, “however, you’ll just have to show me before I can believe that.”
Old Mr. Toad’s eyes twinkled. “If you’ll turn your back to me and look straight down the Crooked Little Path for five minutes, I’ll disappear,” he said. “More than that, I give you my word of honor that I will not hop three feet from where I am sitting.”
“All right,” replied Peter promptly, turning his back to Old Mr. Toad. “I’ll look down the Crooked Little Path for five minutes and promise not to peek.”
So Peter sat and gazed straight down the Crooked Little Path. It was a great temptation to roll his eyes back and peep behind him. Although tempted he did not peek. When he thought the five minutes were up, he turned around. Old Mr. Toad was nowhere to be seen. Peter looked hastily this way and that way, and there was not a sign of Old Mr. Toad. He had disappeared as completely as if he never had been there.