“The Toad and the Snail”

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Plot Description

Spoiler warning! The narrator is a little boy who loves playing in the lily-pond. One day he meets a giant frog there. The frog asks the boy to admire his legs. The boy tells the frog he looks like the boy’s Aunt Emily. The frog offers to take the boy for a ride. The boy climbs on and the frog jumps. With each leap they travel fifty miles! They have tea at the Cliffs of Dover and the frog wonders if he could leap across the Channel to France. They decide to give it a try. They soar across the sea and land in a funny little French village. Immediately people come out of their houses and run towards the frog with carving knives. You see, in France they do many things differently, like using the metric system. And they eat snails and frogs! They love to chop off frog legs and fry them in dripping. The whole town was excited to see such a large toad and wanted to eat him up. The boy tells the frog that perhaps they should escape. The frog explains that he is a MAGIC TOAD and loves to come to France to tease the people. He pushes a button on his head and suddenly he turns into a giant snail. Of course, the French people love snails and are even more determined to eat him up. The boy gets scared again, but the snail pulls a lever on his shell and turns into the “gorgeous, glamorous, absurd / enchanting ROLY-POLY BIRD”! He flies away with the boy on his back. They return home to the lily pond. The boy says he never told anyone about his trip because they wouldn’t believe him. “But you and I know well it’s true. / We know I jumped, we know I flew. / We’re sure it all took place, although / Not one of us will ever know, / We’ll never, never understand / Why children go to Wonderland.”