Discuss the conclusion of the story.
At the conclusion of The Wind in the Willows, we find a Toad quite different from the one we first encounter at the beginning of the novel: "he was indeed an altered Toad." After "Toad's Last Little Song," we see Toad advising his crowd of admirers that he had not been the mastermind of the scheme with the gaoler, giving credit instead to Rat, Badger, and Mole and muttering "Not at all" in response to their flattery. Evidently, Toad has been changed for the better by his experiences.
Grahame tells us that after these events, "the four animals continued to lead their lives, so rudely broken in upon by civil war, in great joy and contentment, undisturbed by further risings or invasions." Toad sends tokens of his thanks and appreciation to the engine driver, the gaoler's daughter, and even, albeit under duress, the barge-woman. Following their adventure, we are told that the children of the Wild Wood are told the stories of the great adventure by their parents, such that when the four animals strolled around in the woods, children would be brought out to observe the famous Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger who had accomplished such remarkable things.
The novel ends on a humorous note, with the implication that Badger had become a sort of bogeyman to the children, a gray authoritarian who would "come and get them" if they misbehaved. This was "a slight" upon Badger but is a nod by the author to the idea that fairytales cannot be kept static but evolve according to their environment.
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