X: Ɖ Frɖr Advnćrz ov Tod

Ɖ

frunt dor v ɖ holo tri fest īstwdz, so Tod wz cōld at an rli aur; partli bî ɖ brît súnlît strīmñ in on him, partli bî ɖ xidñ coldnis v hiz toz, ẃć md him drīm ɖt h wz at hom in bed in hiz ǒn hansm rūm wɖ ɖ Tydr windo, on a cold wintr’z nît, n hiz bedcloɖz hd got p, grumḅlñ n pṛtstñ ɖe cd’nt stand ɖ cold eni longr, n hd run dǎnsterz t ɖ cićnfîr t worm ɖmslvz; n h hd foloud, on bér fīt, alñ mîlz n mîlz v îsi ston-pavd paṣjz, arğwñ n bsićñ ɖm t b rīzṇbl. H wd probbli hv bn arǎzd mć rlịr, hd h nt slept fr sm wīcs on strw ovr ston flagz, n olmst fgotn ɖ frendli fīlñ v ʈic blancits pld wel p rnd ɖ ćin.

Sitñ p, h rubd hiz îz frst n hiz cmplenñ toz nxt, wundrd fr a momnt ẃr h wz, lcñ rnd fr fmiłr ston wōl n litl bàrd windo; ɖen, wɖ a līp v ɖ hart, rmembrd evrʈñ – hiz iscep, hiz flît, hiz psyt; rmembrd, frst n bst ʈñ v ol, ɖt h wz fri!

Fri! Ɖ wrd n ɖ ʈt alon wr wrʈ fifti blancits. H wz worm fṛm end t end az h ʈt v ɖ joli wrld ǎtsd, wêtñ īgrli fr him t mc hiz trîumfl entṛns, redi t srv him n ple p t him, añśs t hlp him n t cīp him cumṗni, az it olwz hd bn in dez v old bfr msfortyn fél upn him. H śc himslf n comd ɖ drî līvz ǎt v hiz her wɖ hiz fngrz; n, hiz tôḷt cmplit, marćt fʈ intu ɖ cumf̣tbl mornñ sún, cold bt confidnt, hungri bt hopfl, ol nrṿs terrz v yesṭde dspeld bî rest n slīp n franc n harṭnñ súnśîn.

H hd ɖ wrld ol t himslf, ɖt rli sumrmornñ. Ɖ dȳi wŭdḷnd, az h ʈredd it, wz solitri n stil: ɖ grīn fīldz ɖt s’xidd ɖ triz wr hiz ǒn t d az h lîct wɖ; ɖ rod itslf, ẃn h rīćt it, in ɖt lonlinis ɖt wz evrẃr, sīmd, lîc a stre dog, t b lcñ añśsli fr cumṗni. Tod, hvr, wz lcñ fr smʈñ ɖt cd tōc, n tel him clirli ẃć we h òt t g. It z ol vri wel, ẃn y hv a lît hart, n a clir conśns, n muni in yr pocit, n nbdi scǎrñ ɖ cuntri fr y t drag y of t prizn agn, t folo ẃr ɖ rod becnz n pônts, nt cẹrñ ẃiɖr. Ɖ practicl Tod cerd vri mć indd, n h cd hv cict ɖ rod fr its hlplis sîḷns ẃn evri minit wz v importns t him.

Ɖ rzrvd rustic rod wz prezntli jônd bî a śî litl bruɖr in ɖ śep v a cnal, ẃć tc its hand n ambld alñ bî its sîd in prfict confidns, bt wɖ ɖ sem tuñ-taid, unc̣ḿnic̣tiv attyd twdz strenjrz. “Boɖr ɖm!” sd Tod t himslf. “Bt, enhǎ, wn ʈñ’z clir. Ɖe mst bʈ b cmñ FṚM smẃr, n gwñ T smẃr. Y c’nt gt ovr ɖt. Tod, mî bô!” So h marćt on peśntli bî ɖ wōtr’z éj.

Rnd a bnd in ɖ cnal cem plodñ a solitri hors, stūpñ fwd az f in añśs ʈt. Fṛm roptresz ataćt t hiz colr strećt a loñ lîn, tōt, bt dipñ wɖ hiz strîd, ɖ frɖr part v it dripñ prli drops. Tod let ɖ hors pas, n std wêtñ fr ẃt ɖ fets wr sndñ him.

Wɖ a pleznt swrl v qayt wōtr at its blunt bǎ ɖ barj slid p alñsd v him, its gêli pentd gunwel levl wɖ ɖ towñpaʈ, its sol okpnt a big stǎt wmn wẹrñ a linn súnbonit, wn brōni arm leid alñ ɖ tilr.

“A nîs mornñ, mām!” ś rmarct t Tod, az ś drù p levl wɖ him.

“I der se it z, mām!” rspondd Tod p’lîtli, az h wōct alñ ɖ toupaʈ abrest v hr. “I der se it Z a nîs mornñ t ɖm ɖt’s nt in sor trubl, lîc ẃt I am. Hir’z mî marid dōtr, ś sndz of t m post-hest t cm t hr at wns; so of I cmz, nt nwñ ẃt me b haṗnñ or gwñ t hapn, bt firñ ɖ wrst, az y wl unḍstand, mām, f y’r a muɖr, tù. N I’v left mî biznis t lc aftr itslf – I’m in ɖ wośñ n lōnḍrñ lîn, y mst nǒ, mām – n I’v left mî yuñ ćildṛn t lc aftr ɖmslvz, n a mor misćiṿs n trublsm set v yuñ imps dz’nt xist, mām; n I’v lost ol mî muni, n lost mî we, n az fr ẃt me b haṗnñ t mî marid dōtr, ẃ, I d’nt lîc t ʈnc v it, mām!”

“Ẃr mt yr marid dōtr b livñ, mām?” asct ɖ barj-wmn.

“Ś livz nir t ɖ rivr, mām,” rplaid Tod. “Clos t a fîn hǎs cōld Tod Hōl, ɖt’s smẃrz hir’bts in ɖz parts. Phps y me hv hŕd v it.”

“Tod Hōl? Ẃ, I’m gwñ ɖt we mslf,” rplaid ɖ barj-wmn. “Ɖs cnal jônz ɖ rivr sm mîlz frɖr on, a litl abv Tod Hōl; n ɖen it’s an īzi wōc. Y cm alñ in ɖ barj wɖ m, n I’l gv y a lift.”

Ś stird ɖ barj clos t ɖ banc, n Tod, wɖ mni humbl n gretfl acnolijmnts, stept lîtli on bord n sat dǎn wɖ gret saṭsfax́n. “Tod’z luc agn!” ʈt h. “I olwz cm ǎt on top!”

“So y’r in ɖ wośñbiznis, mām?” sd ɖ barj-wmn p’lîtli, az ɖe glîdd alñ. “N a vri gd biznis y’v got tù, I der se, f I’m nt mcñ tù fri in seyñ so.”

“Fînist biznis in ɖ hol cuntri,” sd Tod eṛli. “Ol ɖ jntri cm t m – wd’nt g t enwn els f ɖe wr peid, ɖe nǒ m so wel. Y si, I unḍstand mî wrc ʈuṛli, n atnd t it ol mslf. Wośñ, aynñ, clir-starćñ, mcñ p jnts’ fîn śrts fr īvnñwer – evrʈñ’z dn undr mî ǒn î!”

“Bt śrli y d’nt D ol ɖt wrc yrslf, mām?” asct ɖ barj-wmn rspctf̣li.

“Ǒ, I hv grlz,” sd Tod lîtli: “twenti grlz or ɖr’bts, olwz at wrc. Bt y nǒ ẃt GRLZ r, mām! Nasti litl husiz, ɖt’s ẃt I cōl ’m!”

“So d I, tù,” sd ɖ barj-wmn wɖ gret hartinis. “Bt I der se y set yrz t rîts, ɖ îdl troḷps! N r y vri fond v wośñ?”

“I luv it,” sd Tod. “I simpli dǒt on it. Nvr so hapi az ẃn I’v got bʈ armz in ɖ wośtub. Bt, ɖen, it cmz so īzi t m! No trubl at ol! A riyl pleźr, I aśur y, mām!”

“Ẃt a bit v luc, mītñ y!” obzrvd ɖ barj-wmn, ʈtf̣li. “A reğlr pìs v gd fortyn fr bʈ v s!”

“Ẃ, ẃt d y mīn?” asct Tod, nrṿsli.

“Wel, lc at m, nǎ,” rplaid ɖ barj-wmn. “I lîc wośñ, tù, jst ɖ sem az y d; n fr ɖt matr, ẃɖr I lîc it or nt I hv got t d ol mî ǒn, naćṛli, muvñ abt az I d. Nǎ mî huzbnd, h’z sć a felo fr śrcñ hiz wrc n līvñ ɖ barj t m, ɖt nvr a momnt d I gt fr siyñ t mî ǒn aferz. Bî rîts h òt t b hir nǎ, îɖr stirñ or atndñ t ɖ hors, ɖo luc̣li ɖ hors hz sns inuf t atnd t himslf. Instd v ẃć, h’z gn of wɖ ɖ dog, t si f ɖe c’nt pic p a rabit fr dinr smẃr. Sz h’l cać m p at ɖ nxt loc. Wel, ɖt’s az me b – I d’nt trust him, wns h gts of wɖ ɖt dog, hu’z wrs ɖn h z. Bt mntm, hǎ am I t gt on wɖ mî wośñ?”

“Ǒ, nvr mînd abt ɖ wośñ,” sd Tod, nt lîcñ ɖ subjict. “Trî n fix yr mînd on ɖt rabit. A nîs fat yuñ rabit, I’l b baund. Got eni uńnz?”

“I c’nt fix mî mînd on enʈñ bt mî wośñ,” sd ɖ barj-wmn, “n I wundr y cn b tōcñ v rabits, wɖ sć a jôfl prospect bfr y. Ɖr’z a hīp v ʈñz v mîn ɖt y’l fînd in a cornr v ɖ cabin. F y’l jst tec wn or tū v ɖ most nesṣri sort – I w’nt vnćr t dscrîb ɖm t a ledi lîc y, bt y’l rec̣gnîz ɖm at a glans – n pt ɖm ʈru ɖ woś-tub az w g alñ, ẃ, it’l b a pleźr t y, az y rîtli se, n a riyl hlp t m. Y’l fînd a tub handi, n sóp, n a cetl on ɖ stov, n a bucit t hōl p wōtr fṛm ɖ cnal wɖ. Ɖen I śl nǒ y’r injoyñ yrslf, instd v sitñ hir îdl, lcñ at ɖ sìṇri n yōnñ yr hed of.”

“Hir, y let m stir!” sd Tod, nǎ ʈuṛli frîtnd, “n ɖen y cn gt on wɖ yr wośñ yr ǒn we. I mt spôl yr ʈñz, or nt d ’m az y lîc. I’m mor yst t jntlṃn’z ʈñz mslf. It’s mî speśl lîn.”

“Let y stir?” rplaid ɖ barj-wmn, lafñ. “It tecs sm practis t stir a barj proprli. Bsdz, it’s dul wrc, n I wont y t b hapi. No, y śl d ɖ wośñ y r so fond v, n I’l stic t ɖ stirñ ɖt I unḍstand. D’nt trî n dprîv m v ɖ pleźr v gvñ y a trīt!”

Tod wz ferli cornrd. H lct fr iscep ɖs we n ɖt, sw ɖt h wz tù far fṛm ɖ banc fr a flayñ līp, n suḷnli rzînd himslf t hiz fet. “F it cmz t ɖt,” h ʈt in desṗreśn, “I s’poz eni fūl cn WOŚ!”

H fećt tub, sóp, n uɖr nesṣriz fṛm ɖ cabin, s’lectd a fy garmnts at randm, traid t rec̣lect ẃt h hd sìn in caźl glansz ʈru lōndri windoz, n set t.

A loñ haf-aur pást, n evri minit v it sw Tod gtñ crosr n crosr. Nʈñ ɖt h cd d t ɖ ʈñz sīmd t plīz ɖm or d ɖm gd. H traid cǒxñ, h traid slapñ, h traid punćñ; ɖe smîld bac at him ǎt v ɖ tub uncnvrtd, hapi in ɖer orijinl sin. Wns or twîs h lct nrṿsli ovr hiz śoldr at ɖ barj-wmn, bt ś apird t b gezñ ǎt in frunt v hr, abzorbd in hr stirñ. Hiz bac ect badli, n h notist wɖ dsme ɖt hiz pwz wr bginñ t gt ol crincli. Nǎ Tod wz vri prǎd v hiz pwz. H mutrd undr hiz breʈ wrdz ɖt śd nvr pas ɖ lips v îɖr wośrwimin or Tǒdz; n lost ɖ sóp, fr ɖ fiftịʈ tîm.

A brst v laftr md him stretn himslf n lc rnd. Ɖ barj-wmn wz līnñ bac n lafñ unristrenidli, tl ɖ tirz ran dǎn hr ćīcs.

“I’v bn woćñ y ol ɖ tîm,” ś gaspt. “I ʈt y mst b a humbug ol alñ, fṛm ɖ cnsitd we y tōct. Priti wośr-wmn y r! Nvr wośt so mć az a diścloʈ in yr lîf, I’l le!”

Tod’z tmpr ẃć hd bn siṃrñ viśsli fr sm tîm, nǎ ferli bôld ovr, n h lost ol cntrol v himslf.

“Y comn, lo, FAT barj-wmn!” h śǎtd; “d’nt y der t tōc t yr betrz lîc ɖt! Wośr-wmn indd! I wd hv y t nǒ ɖt I am a Tod, a vri wel-noun, rspctd, dstnḡśt Tod! I me b undr a bit v a clǎd at preznt, bt I wl NT b laft at bî a barj-wmn!”

Ɖ wmn muvd nirr t him n pīrd undr hiz bonit cīnli n closli. “Ẃ, so y r!” ś craid. “Wel, I nvr! A horid, nasti, crōli Tod! N in mî nîs clīn barj, tù! Nǎ ɖt z a ʈñ ɖt I wl NT hv.”

Ś rlinqiśt ɖ tilr fr a momnt. Wn big motld arm śot ǎt n còt Tod bî a fōrlég, ẃl ɖ uɖr gript him fast bî a hîndlég. Ɖen ɖ wrld trnd sudnli upsîd-dǎn, ɖ barj sīmd t flit lîtli acrs ɖ scî, ɖ wind ẃisld in hiz irz, n Tod faund himslf flayñ ʈru ɖ er, rvolvñ rapidli az h wnt.

Ɖ wōtr, ẃn h ivnć̣li rīćt it wɖ a lǎd splaś, pruvd qt cold inuf fr hiz test, ɖo its ćil wz nt sfiśnt t qel hiz prǎd spirit, or slec ɖ hīt v hiz fyrịs tmpr. H rouz t ɖ srfis spluṭrñ, n ẃn h hd wîpt ɖ ducwīd ǎt v hiz îz ɖ frst ʈñ h sw wz ɖ fat barj-wmn lcñ bac at him ovr ɖ strn v ɖ rtritñ barj n lafñ; n h vaud, az h coft n ćoct, t b īvn wɖ hr.

H struc ǎt fr ɖ śor, bt ɖ cotn gǎn gretli impidd hiz ef̣ts, n ẃn at leñʈ h tućt land h faund it hard t clîm p ɖ stīp banc un’sistd. H hd t tec a minit or tū’z rest t rcuvr hiz breʈ; ɖen, gaɖ̇rñ hiz wet scrts wel ovr hiz armz, h startd t run aftr ɖ barj az fast az hiz legz wd cari him, wîld wɖ inḍgneśn, ʈrstñ fr rvnj.

Ɖ barj-wmn wz stl lafñ ẃn h drù p levl wɖ hr. “Pt yrslf ʈru yr mangl, wośr-wmn,” ś cōld ǎt, “n ayn yr fes n crimp it, n y’l pas fr qt a dīsnt-lcñ Tod!”

Tod nvr pōzd t rplî. Solid rvnj wz ẃt h wontd, nt ćīp, windi, vrbl trîumfs, ɖo h hd a ʈñ or tū in hiz mînd ɖt h wd hv lîct t se. H sw ẃt h wontd ahd v him. Runñ swiftli on h oṿtc ɖ hors, unfasnd ɖ tourop n cast of, jumt lîtli on ɖ hors’z bac, n rjd it t a gaḷp bî cicñ it vigṛsli in ɖ sîdz. H stird fr ɖ opn cuntri, abandnñ ɖ toupaʈ, n swññ hiz stīd dǎn a ruti len. Wns h lct bac, n sw ɖt ɖ barj hd run agrǎnd on ɖ uɖr sîd v ɖ cnal, n ɖ barj-wmn wz jstikletñ wîldli n śǎtñ, “Stop, stop, stop!” “I’v hŕd ɖt soñ bfr,” sd Tod, lafñ, az h cntinyd t spr hiz stīd onẉd in its wîld c’rir.

Ɖ barjhors wz nt ceṗbl v eni vri sstend ef̣t, n its gaḷp sn sbsîdd intu a trot, n its trot intu an īzi wōc; bt Tod wz qt cntntd wɖ ɖs, nwñ ɖt h, at eni ret, wz muvñ, n ɖ barj wz nt. H hd qt rcuvrd hiz tmpr, nǎ ɖt h hd dn smʈñ h ʈt riyli clevr; n h wz saṭsfaid t jog alñ qaytli in ɖ sún, stirñ hiz hors alñ bîwez n braidlpaɖz, n trayñ t fget hǎ vri loñ it wz sins h hd hd a sqer mīl, tl ɖ cnal hd bn left vri far bhnd him.

H hd travld sm mîlz, hiz hors n h, n h wz fīlñ drǎzi in ɖ hot súnśîn, ẃn ɖ hors stopt, lowrd hiz hed, n bgan t nibl ɖ gras; n Tod, wecñ p, jst sevd himslf fṛm fōlñ of bî an ef̣t. H lct abt him n faund h wz on a wîd comn, dotd wɖ paćz v gors n brambl az far az h cd si. Nir him std a dinji jipsicaṛvan, n bsd it a man wz sitñ on a bucit trnd upsîd-dǎn, vri bizi smocñ n stẹrñ intu ɖ wîd wrld. A fîr v stics wz brnñ nir bî, n ovr ɖ fîr huñ an ayn pot, n ǎt v ɖt pot cem fʈ buḅlñz n grġlñz, n a veg sjstiv stīminis. Olso smelz – worm, rić, n vẹrid smelz – ɖt twînd n twistd n rīɖd ɖmslvz at last intu wn cmplit, vlupćs, prfict smel ɖt sīmd lîc ɖ vri soul v Nećr tecñ form n apirñ t hr ćildṛn, a tru Godes, a muɖr v solis n cumf̣t. Tod nǎ ń wel ɖt h hd nt bn riyli hungri bfr. Ẃt h hd flt rlịr in ɖ de hd bn a mir trîf̣lñ qām. Ɖs wz ɖ riyl ʈñ at last, n no mstec; n it wd hv t b delt wɖ spīḍli, tù, or ɖr wd b trubl fr smbdi or smʈñ. H lct ɖ jipsi ovr cerf̣li, wunḍrñ vegli ẃɖr it wd b īzịr t fît him or cjol him. So ɖr h sat, n snift n snift, n lct at ɖ jipsi; n ɖ jipsi sat n smoct, n lct at him.

Prezntli ɖ jipsi tc hiz pîp ǎt v hiz mǎʈ n rmarct in a cerlis we, “Wont t sel ɖt ɖr hors v yrz?”

Tod wz cmplitli tecn abac. H dd nt nǒ ɖt jipsiz wr vri fond v horsdīlñ, n nvr míst an oṗtyṇti, n h hd nt rflectd ɖt caṛvanz wr olwz on ɖ muv n tc a dīl v drw̃. It hd nt ocŕd t him t trn ɖ hors intu caś, bt ɖ jipsi’z sjsćn sīmd t smuɖ ɖ we twdz ɖ tū ʈñz h wontd so badli – redi muni, n a solid brecfst.

“Ẃt?” h sd, “m sel ɖs bytifl yuñ hors v mîn? Ǒ, no; it’s ǎt v ɖ qsćn. Hu’z gwñ t tec ɖ wośñ hom t mî custmrz evri wīc? Bsdz, I’m tù fond v him, n h simpli dǒts on m.”

“Trî n luv a donci,” sjstd ɖ jipsi. “Sm ppl d.”

“Y d’nt sīm t si,” cntinyd Tod, “ɖt ɖs fîn hors v mîn z a cut abv y oltgɖr. H’z a blud hors, h z, partli; nt ɖ part y si, v cors – anɖr part. N h’z bn a Prîz Hacni, tù, in hiz tîm – ɖt wz ɖ tîm bfr y ń him, bt y cn stl tel it on him at a glans, f y unḍstand enʈñ abt horsz. No, it’s nt t b ʈt v fr a momnt. Ol ɖ sem, hǎ mć mt y b dspozd t ofr m fr ɖs bytifl yuñ hors v mîn?”

Ɖ jipsi lct ɖ hors ovr, n ɖen h lct Tod ovr wɖ īql cer, n lct at ɖ hors agn. “Śilin’ a leg,” h sd brīfli, n trnd awe, cntinywñ t smoc n trî t stér ɖ wîd wrld ǎt v cǎntinns.

“A śilñ a leg?” craid Tod. “F y plīz, I mst tec a litl tîm t wrc ɖt ǎt, n si jst ẃt it cmz t.”

H clîmd dǎn of hiz hors, n left it t grêz, n sat dǎn bî ɖ jipsi, n dd sumz on hiz fngrz, n at last h sd, “A śilñ a leg? Ẃ, ɖt cmz t xacli for śilñz, n no mor. Ǒ, no; I cd nt ʈnc v axptñ for śilñz fr ɖs bytifl yuñ hors v mîn.”

“Wel,” sd ɖ jipsi, “I’l tel y ẃt I wl d. I’l mc it fîv śilñz, n ɖt’s ʈri-n-sixpns mor ɖn ɖ animl’z wrʈ. N ɖt’s mî last wrd.”

Ɖen Tod sat n pondrd loñ n dīpli. Fr h wz hungri n qt penilis, n stl sm we – h ń nt hǎ far – fṛm hom, n eṇmiz mt stl b lcñ fr him. T wn in sć a sićueśn, fîv śilñz me vri wel apir a larj sum v muni. On ɖ uɖr hand, it dd nt sīm vri mć t gt fr a hors. Bt ɖen, agn, ɖ hors hd’nt cost him enʈñ; so ẃtvr h got wz ol clir profit. At last h sd frmli, “Lc hir, jipsi! I tel y ẃt w wl d; n ɖs z MÎ last wrd. Y śl hand m ovr six śilñz n sixpns, caś dǎn; n frɖr, in adiśn ɖr-tu, y śl gv m az mć brecfst az I cn poṣbli īt, at wn sitñ v cors, ǎt v ɖt ayn pot v yrz ɖt cīps sndñ fʈ sć dliśs n xîtñ smelz. In rtrn, I wl mc ovr t y mî spiṛtd yuñ hors, wɖ ol ɖ bytifl harnis n trapñz ɖt r on him, frīli ʈroun in. F ɖt’s nt gd inuf fr y, se so, n I’l b gtñ on. I nǒ a man nir hir hu’z wontd ɖs hors v mîn fr yirz.”

Ɖ jipsi grumbld frîtf̣li, n dclerd f h dd a fy mor dīlz v ɖt sort h’d b ruind. Bt in ɖ end h lugd a drti canvs bag ǎt v ɖ depʈs v hiz trǎzrpocit, n cǎntd ǎt six śilñz n sixpns intu Tod’z pw. Ɖen h dis’pird intu ɖ caṛvan fr an instnt, n rtrnd wɖ a larj ayn plet n a nîf, forc, n spūn. H tiltd p ɖ pot, n a glorịs strīm v hot rić sty grgld intu ɖ plet. It wz, indd, ɖ most bytifl sty in ɖ wrld, biyñ md v partṛjz, n feznts, n ćicinz, n hérz, n rabits, n pī-hnz, n ginifaulz, n wn or tū uɖr ʈñz. Tod tc ɖ plet on hiz lap, olmst crayñ, n stuft, n stuft, n stuft, n cept ascñ fr mor, n ɖ jipsi nvr grujd it him. H ʈt ɖt h hd nvr ītn so gd a brecfst in ol hiz lîf.

Ẃn Tod hd tecn az mć sty on bord az h ʈt h cd poṣbli hold, h got p n sd gdbî t ɖ jipsi, n tc an afx́ṇt férwel v ɖ hors; n ɖ jipsi, hu ń ɖ rivrsîd wel, gev him d’rex́nz ẃć we t g, n h set fʈ on hiz travlz agn in ɖ bst poṣbl spirits. H wz, indd, a vri difṛnt Tod fṛm ɖ animl v an aur ago. Ɖ sún wz śînñ brîtli, hiz wet cloɖz wr qt drî agn, h hd muni in hiz pocit wns mor, h wz nirñ hom n frendz n sefti, n, most n bst v ol, h hd hd a sbstanśl mīl, hot n nuṛśñ, n flt big, n stroñ, n cerlis, n slf-confidnt.

Az h tramt alñ gêli, h ʈt v hiz advnćrz n isceps, n hǎ ẃn ʈñz sīmd at ɖer wrst h hd olwz manijd t fînd a we ǎt; n hiz prîd n cnsit bgan t swel wɖn him. “Hǒ, hǒ!” h sd t himslf az h marćt alñ wɖ hiz ćin in ɖ er, “ẃt a clevr Tod I am! Ɖr z śrli no animl īql t m fr clevrnis in ɖ hol wrld! Mî eṇmiz śut m p in prizn, insrcld bî sntriz, woćt nît n de bî wordrz; I wōc ǎt ʈru ɖm ol, bî śir abiḷti cupld wɖ curij. Ɖe psy m wɖ enjinz, n p’līsṃn, n rvolvrz; I snap mî fngrz at ɖm, n vaniś, lafñ, intu spes. I am, unforćṇtli, ʈroun intu a cnal bî a wmn fat v bodi n vri īvl-mîndd. Ẃt v it? I swim aśor, I sīz hr hors, I rîd of in trîumf, n I sel ɖ hors fr a hol pocitfl v muni n an xḷnt brecfst! Hǒ, hǒ! I am Ɖ Tod, ɖ hansm, ɖ popylr, ɖ s’xesfl Tod!” H got so puft p wɖ cnsit ɖt h md p a soñ az h wōct in prêz v himslf, n sañ it at ɖ top v hiz vôs, ɖo ɖr wz nwn t hír it bt him. It wz phps ɖ most cnsitd soñ ɖt eni animl evr cmpozd.

“Ɖ wrld hz hld gret Hiroz,
Az hisṭri-bcs hv śoud;
Bt nvr a nem t g dǎn t fem
Cmperd wɖ ɖt v Tod!

“Ɖ clevr men at Oxf̣d
Nǒ ol ɖt ɖr z t b noud.
Bt ɖe nn v ɖm nǒ wn haf az mć
Az intelijnt Mr. Tod!

“Ɖ animlz sat in ɖ Arc n craid,
Ɖer tirz in toṛnts floud.
Hu wz it sd, ‘Ɖr’z land ahd?’
Incuṛjñ Mr. Tod!

“Ɖ armi ol s’lūtd
Az ɖe marćt alñ ɖ rod.
Wz it ɖ Cñ? Or Cićinr?
No. It wz Mr. Tod.

“Ɖ Qīn n hr Lediz-in-wêtñ
Sat at ɖ windo n soud.
Ś craid, ‘Lc! hu’z ɖt hansm man?’
Ɖe ansrd, ‘Mr. Tod’.”

Ɖr wz a gret dīl mor v ɖ sem sort, bt tù dredf̣li cnsitd t b ritn dǎn. Ɖz r sm v ɖ mîldr vrsz.H sañ az h wōct, n h wōct az h sañ, n got mor infletd evri minit. Bt hiz prîd wz śortli t hv a svir fōl.

Aftr sm mîlz v cuntrilenz h rīćt ɖ hîrod, n az h trnd intu it n glanst alñ its ẃît leñʈ, h sw aproćñ him a spec ɖt trnd intu a dot n ɖen intu a blob, n ɖen intu smʈñ vri fmiłr; n a dubl not v wornñ, onli tù wel noun, fél on hiz dlîtd ir.

“Ɖs z smʈñ lîc!” sd ɖ xîtd Tod. “Ɖs z riyl lîf agn, ɖs z wns mor ɖ gret wrld fṛm ẃć I hv bn míst so loñ! I wl hêl ɖm, mî bruɖrz v ɖ ẃīl, n pić ɖm a yarn, v ɖ sort ɖt hz bn so s’xesfl hiɖrtu; n ɖe wl gv m a lift, v cors, n ɖen I wl tōc t ɖm sm mor; n, phps, wɖ luc, it me īvn end in mî drîvñ p t Tod Hōl in a motrcar! Ɖt wl b wn in ɖ î fr Bajr!”

H stept confidntli ǎt intu ɖ rod t hêl ɖ motrcar, ẃć cem alñ at an īzi pes, slowñ dǎn az it nird ɖ len; ẃn sudnli h bcem vri pel, hiz hart trnd t wōtr, hiz niz śc n yīldd undr him, n h dubld p n c’lapst wɖ a sic̣nñ pen in hiz intirịr. N wel h mt, ɖ unhapi animl; fr ɖ aproćñ car wz ɖ vri wn h hd stoḷn ǎt v ɖ yard v ɖ Red Layn Hotel on ɖt fetl de ẃn ol hiz trublz bgan! N ɖ ppl in it wr ɖ vri sem ppl h hd sat n woćt at lunćn in ɖ cofirūm!

H sanc dǎn in a śabi, mizṛbl hīp in ɖ rod, mrṃrñ t himslf in hiz dsper, “It’s ol p! It’s ol ovr nǎ! Ćenz n p’līsṃn agn! Prizn agn! Drî bred n wōtr agn! Ǒ, ẃt a fūl I hv bn! Ẃt dd I wont t g strutñ abt ɖ cuntri fr, sññ cnsitd soñz, n hêlñ ppl in brōd de on ɖ hîrod, instd v hîdñ tl nîtfōl n slipñ hom qaytli bî bac wez! Ǒ haplis Tod! Ǒ il-fetd animl!”

Ɖ teṛbl motrcar drù slǒli nirr n nirr, tl at last h hŕd it stop jst śort v him. Tū jntlṃn got ǎt n wōct rnd ɖ tremḅlñ hīp v crumpld miẓri layñ in ɖ rod, n wn v ɖm sd, “Ǒ dir! ɖs z vri sad! Hir z a pur old ʈñ – a wośr-wmn apaṛntli – hu hz fentd in ɖ rod! Phps ś z oṿcm bî ɖ hīt, pur crīćr; or poṣbli ś hz nt hd eni fūd tde. Let s lift hr intu ɖ car n tec hr t ɖ nirist vilij, ẃr dǎtlis ś hz frendz.”

Ɖe tndrli liftd Tod intu ɖ motrcar n propt him p wɖ soft cŭśnz, n pṛsidd on ɖer we.

Ẃn Tod hŕd ɖm tōc in so cînd n simṗʈetic a we, n ń ɖt h wz nt rec̣gnîzd, hiz curij bgan t rvîv, n h cōśsli opnd frst wn î n ɖen ɖ uɖr.

“Lc!” sd wn v ɖ jntlṃn, “ś z betr olrdi. Ɖ freś er z dwñ hr gd. Hǎ d y fīl nǎ, mām?”

“Ʈanc y cîndli, Sr,” sd Tod in a fībl vôs, “I’m fīlñ a gret dīl betr!” “Ɖt’s rît,” sd ɖ jntlmn. “Nǎ cīp qt stil, n, abv ol, d’nt trî t tōc.”

“I w’nt,” sd Tod. “I wz onli ʈncñ, f I mt sit on ɖ frunt sīt ɖr, bsd ɖ drîvr, ẃr I cd gt ɖ freś er fl in mî fes, I śd sn b ol rît agn.”

“Ẃt a vri snṣbl wmn!” sd ɖ jntlmn. “V cors y śl.” So ɖe cerf̣li hlpt Tod intu ɖ frunt sīt bsd ɖ drîvr, n on ɖe wnt agn.

Tod wz olmst himslf agn bî nǎ. H sat p, lct abt him, n traid t bìt dǎn ɖ tremrz, ɖ yrnñz, ɖ old crevñz ɖt rouz p n bset him n tc pześn v him intîrli.

“It z fet!” h sd t himslf. “Ẃ strîv? ẃ strugl?” n h trnd t ɖ drîvr at hiz sîd.

“Plīz, Sr,” h sd, “I wś y wd cîndli let m trî n drîv ɖ car fr a litl. I’v bn woćñ y cerf̣li, n it lcs so īzi n so inṭrestñ, n I śd lîc t b ebl t tel mî frendz ɖt wns I hd drivn a motrcar!”

Ɖ drîvr laft at ɖ pṛpozl, so harṭli ɖt ɖ jntlmn inqîrd ẃt ɖ matr wz. Ẃn h hŕd, h sd, t Tod’z dlît, “Brāvo, mām! I lîc yr spirit. Let hr hv a trî, n lc aftr hr. Ś w’nt d eni harm.”

Tod īgrli scrambld intu ɖ sīt vcetd bî ɖ drîvr, tc ɖ stirñẃīl in hiz handz, lisnd wɖ afctd hymiḷti t ɖ instrux́nz gvn him, n set ɖ car in mośn, bt vri slǒli n cerf̣li at frst, fr h wz dtrmind t b prūdnt.

Ɖ jntlṃn bhnd clapt ɖer handz n aplōdd, n Tod hŕd ɖm seyñ, “Hǎ wel ś dz it! Fansi a wośr-wmn drîvñ a car az wel az ɖt, ɖ frst tîm!”

Tod wnt a litl fastr; ɖen fastr stl, n fastr.

H hŕd ɖ jntlṃn cōl ǎt wornñli, “B cerfl, wośr-wmn!” N ɖs anoid him, n h bgan t lūz hiz hed.

Ɖ drîvr traid t inṭfir, bt h pind him dǎn in hiz sīt wɖ wn elbo, n pt on fl spīd. Ɖ ruś v er in hiz fes, ɖ hum v ɖ enjinz, n ɖ lît jump v ɖ car bnʈ him intox̣cetd hiz wìc bren. “Wośr-wmn, indd!” h śǎtd reclisli. “Hǒ! hǒ! I am ɖ Tod, ɖ motrcar snaćr, ɖ priznbrecr, ɖ Tod hu olwz isceps! Sit stil, n y śl nǒ ẃt drîvñ riyli z, fr y r in ɖ handz v ɖ feṃs, ɖ scilfl, ɖ intîrli firlis Tod!”

Wɖ a crî v horr ɖ hol parti rouz n fluñ ɖmslvz on him. “Sīz him!” ɖe craid, “sīz ɖ Tod, ɖ wicid animl hu stoul ǎr motrcar! Bînd him, ćen him, drag him t ɖ nirist p’līșteśn! Dǎn wɖ ɖ despṛt n denjṛs Tod!”

Alas! ɖe śd hv ʈt, ɖe òt t hv bn mor prūdnt, ɖe śd hv rmembrd t stop ɖ motrcar smhǎ bfr pleyñ eni prancs v ɖt sort. Wɖ a haf-trn v ɖ ẃīl ɖ Tod snt ɖ car craśñ ʈru ɖ lo hej ɖt ran alñ ɖ rodsîd. Wn mîti bǎnd, a vayḷnt śoc, n ɖ ẃīlz v ɖ car wr ćrnñ p ɖ ʈic mud v a horspond.

Tod faund himslf flayñ ʈru ɖ er wɖ ɖ stroñ upwd ruś n delic̣t crv v a swolo. H lîct ɖ mośn, n wz jst bginñ t wundr ẃɖr it wd g on untl h dveḷpt wñz n trnd intu a Todbrd, ẃn h landd on hiz bac wɖ a ʈump, in ɖ soft rić gras v a medo. Sitñ p, h cd jst si ɖ motrcar in ɖ pond, nirli sbmrjd; ɖ jntlṃn n ɖ drîvr, incumbrd bî ɖer loñ cots, wr flǎnḍrñ hlplisli in ɖ wōtr.

H pict himslf p rapidli, n set of runñ acrs cuntri az hard az h cd, scramḅlñ ʈru hejz, jumpñ dićz, pǎndñ acrs fīldz, tl h wz breʈlis n wiri, n hd t setl dǎn intu an īzi wōc. Ẃn h hd rcuvrd hiz breʈ smẃt, n wz ebl t ʈnc cāmli, h bgan t gigl, n fṛm giġlñ h tc t lafñ, n h laft tl h hd t sit dǎn undr a hej. “Hǒ, hǒ!” h craid, in xṭsiz v slf-adṃreśn, “Tod agn! Tod, az yźl, cmz ǎt on ɖ top! Hu wz it got ɖm t gv him a lift? Hu manijd t gt on ɖ frunt sīt fr ɖ sec v freś er? Hu pswedd ɖm intu letñ him si f h cd drîv? Hu landd ɖm ol in a horspond? Hu iscept, flayñ gêli n unsceɖd ʈru ɖ er, līvñ ɖ naro-mîndd, grujñ, timid xcrṣ́nists in ɖ mud ẃr ɖe śd rîtli b? Ẃ, Tod, v cors; clevr Tod, gret Tod, GD Tod!”

Ɖen h brst intu soñ agn, n ćantd wɖ upliftd vôs –

“Ɖ motrcar wnt Pūp-pūp-pūp,
Az it rêst alñ ɖ rod.
Hu wz it stird it intu a pond?
Injīńs Mr. Tod!”

Ǒ, hǎ clevr I am! Hǎ clevr, hǎ clevr, hǎ vri clev — ”

A slît nôz at a distns bhnd him md him trn hiz hed n lc. Ǒ horr! Ǒ miẓri! Ǒ dsper!

Abt tū fīldz of, a śofr in hiz leɖr geitrz n tū larj rṛl p’līsṃn wr viẓbl, runñ twdz him az hard az ɖe cd g!

Pur Tod sprañ t hiz fīt n pltd awe agn, hiz hart in hiz mǎʈ. Ǒ, mî!” h gaspt, az h pantd alñ, “ẃt an AS I am! Ẃt a CNSITD n hīdlis as! Swaġrñ agn! Śǎtñ n sññ soñz agn! Sitñ stil n gasñ agn! Ǒ mî! Ǒ mî! Ǒ mî!”

H glanst bac, n sw t hiz dsme ɖt ɖe wr genñ on him. On h ran despṛtli, bt cept lcñ bac, n sw ɖt ɖe stl gend steḍli. H dd hiz bst, bt h wz a fat animl, n hiz legz wr śort, n stl ɖe gend. H cd hír ɖm clos bhnd him nǎ. Sīsñ t hīd ẃr h wz gwñ, h strugld on blîndli n wîldli, lcñ bac ovr hiz śoldr at ɖ nǎ trîumfnt eṇmi, ẃn sudnli ɖ rʈ feld undr hiz fīt, h graspt at ɖ er, n, splaś! h faund himslf hed ovr irz in dīp wōtr, rapid wōtr, wōtr ɖt bòr him alñ wɖ a fors h cd nt cntnd wɖ; n h ń ɖt in hiz blînd panic h hd run stret intu ɖ rivr!

H rouz t ɖ srfis n traid t grasp ɖ rìdz n ɖ ruśz ɖt grù alñ ɖ wōtr’z éj clos undr ɖ banc, bt ɖ strīm wz so stroñ ɖt it tòr ɖm ǎt v hiz handz. “Ǒ mî!” gaspt pur Tod, “f evr I stìl a motrcar agn! F evr I sñ anɖr cnsitd soñ’ – ɖen dǎn h wnt, n cem p breʈlis n spluṭrñ. Prezntli h sw ɖt h wz aproćñ a big darc houl in ɖ banc, jst abv hiz hed, n az ɖ strīm bòr him past h rīćt p wɖ a pw n còt hold v ɖ éj n hld on. Ɖen slǒli n wɖ dificlti h drù himslf p ǎt v ɖ wōtr, tl at last h wz ebl t rest hiz elboz on ɖ éj v ɖ houl. Ɖr h rmend fr sm minits, pufñ n pantñ, fr h wz qt xōstd.

Az h said n blù n stérd bfr him intu ɖ darc houl, sm brît smōl ʈñ śon n twncld in its depʈs, muvñ twdz him. Az it aproćt, a fes grù p graɉli arnd it, n it wz a fmiłr fes!

Brǎn n smōl, wɖ ẃiscrz.

Grev n rǎnd, wɖ nīt irz n silci her.

It wz ɖ Wōtŗat!