The open road

Words: 501-600

Skills: Character Traits Context Clues Summary

Grades: 4th 5th

Topics: Adventure / Thriller and Science Fiction / Fantasy

Genres: Prose

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Lexile Measure:

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Open Road


by Kenneth Grahame from The Wind in the Willows

Chapter II passage: “The Wind in the Willows" was written by Kenneth Grahame in 1908. It is the story of the adventures of Mole, Rat, and Toad in England. Here the three have gone on a camping trip. After reading the passage, students will respond to questions on the language and about the characters.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Open Road

by Kenneth Grahame from The Wind in the Willows
Mole, Rat, and Toad are animal friends. They live in England and have many adventures. They live in houses like humans. Toad is very rich and loves to have adventures. In this passage, the three friends have gone on a camping trip.

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Late in the evening, tired and happy and miles from home, they drew up on a remote common far from habitations, turned the horse loose to graze, and ate their simple supper sitting on the grass by the side of the cart. Toad talked big about all he was going to do in the days to come, while stars grew fuller and larger all around them, and a yellow moon, appearing suddenly and silently from nowhere in particular, came to keep them company and listen to their talk. At last they turned in to their little bunks in the cart; and Toad, kicking out his legs, sleepily said, “Well, good night, you fellows! This is the real life for a gentleman! Talk about your old river!”

“I don’t talk about my river,” replied the patient Rat. “You know I don’t, Toad. But I think about it,” he added pathetically, in a lower tone: “I think about it—all the time!”

The Mole reached out from under his blanket, felt for the Rat’s paw in the darkness, and gave it a squeeze. “I’ll do whatever you like, Ratty,” he whispered. “Shall we run away tomorrow morning, quite early—very early—and go back to our dear old hole on the river?” “No, no, we’ll see it out,” whispered back the Rat. “Thanks awfully, but I ought to stick by Toad till this trip is ended. It wouldn’t be safe for him to be left to himself. It won’t take very long. His fads never do. Good night!” The end was indeed nearer than even the Rat suspected.

After so much open air and excitement the Toad slept very soundly, and no amount of shaking could rouse him out of bed next morning. So the Mole and Rat turned to, quietly and manfully, and while the Rat saw to the horse, and lit a fire, and cleaned last night’s cups and platters, and got things ready for breakfast, the Mole trudged off to the nearest village, a long way off, for milk and eggs and various necessaries the Toad had, of course, forgotten to provide. The hard work had all been done, and the two animals were resting, thoroughly exhausted, by the time Toad appeared on the scene, fresh and gay, remarking what a pleasant, easy life it was they were all leading now, after the cares and worries and fatigues of housekeeping at home.

They had a pleasant ramble that day over grassy downs and along narrow by-lanes, and camped, as before, on a common, only this time the two guests took care that Toad should do his fair share of work. In consequence, when the time came for starting next morning, Toad was by no means so rapturous about the simplicity of the primitive life, and indeed attempted to resume his place in his bunk, whence he was hauled by force. Their way lay, as before, across country by narrow lanes, and it was not till the afternoon that they came out on the high-road, their first high-road; and there disaster, fleet and unforeseen, sprang out on them—disaster momentous indeed to their expedition, but simply overwhelming in its effect on the after career of Toad.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. What does habitations  mean here: “they drew up on a remote common far from habitations”?



2. Which character was homesick?



3. Give an example from the passage that shows Toad is lazy.



4. Which character do you like the best? Why?