Today, we celebrate the birthday of Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), author of the beloved children’s classic The Wind in the Willows. This charming, wise book is not just for the under-eight set — it’s for everyone: a volume to be read, reread, and savored.

First published in 1908, The Wind in the Willows follows Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger as they embark on adventures in pastoral England.

Here are some memorable quotes from this masterwork (and one of my all-time favorite books!): 

“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.” 

“But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.” 

“Beyond the Wild Wood comes the wild world,”said the Rat.”And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or to me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going’ nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all.” 

“Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of your old life and into the new!” 

“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” 

“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!” 

“The Mole… sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.” 

Download the book for free in a variety of forms — including Kindle versions — at Project Gutenberg.