In the days before smartphones and tiny headphones for children's ears, our car travel with a child often involved all of us listening to cassette tapes of children's stories while we navigated our way towards or back from holiday destinations.
There was a lazy spring afternoon driving along the back roads between Siena and San Giminiano listening to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, long hours on French motorways with James and the Giant Peach, and a dark rainy evening drive back from Dublin with The Wind in The Willows.
Now, The Wind in the Willows has charmed us all, but on tape, we only had an abridged version of "stories from" etc. which was good enough at the time but when S started to read she discovered with surprised outrage that we had "missed huge parts" of it.
Especially, chapter seven, which to this day, is omitted in some versions, too much mysticism.
What happens in this chapter is Mole and Rat searching for Portly, the youngest otter, who has gone missing. They search most of the night and just before dawn find him asleep at the feet of the piper at the gates of dawn. The piper is of course, Pan, the god of the wild, of nature and of all who roam in and upon her, humans, animals, alone or in herds.
You can read it here, it's just gorgeous. Or you can listen to the gentle voice of Mike Scott from The Waterboys here:
This is January 2021, we have work to do, people. Not just get the vaccine and keep our fingers crossed. Our home, our planet is on fire, we need to wake up. When my grandchild is old enough to read this chapter, I want to be able to say that I tried my hardest.