Happy Birthday, Kenneth
Today in 1859 Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His best- known book is, of course, The Wind in the Willows, but it took around ten years and the intervention of Teddy Roosevelt before anyone would publish it (talking animals were considered very bad for children - by publishers at least). He retired from his job and moved to the country, living for another 25 years on the sales of that one book, and never wrote another.
The Wind in the Willows was based on a number of stories Grahame told his son, so it's not surprising that it's really two very different novellas and one short story cobbled together. You're either a Toad fan or a Mole-and-Ratty fan (I'm the latter, I don't even read the Toad chapters when I go back to the River (though I am fond of Badger)). But "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is my favorite chapter of all.
All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.Find the complete text at Project Gutenberg