To all who knew our Toad: he was so often the best and only sometimes worst. Rich in heart and obsessions, he was an amphibian among men. I must confirm today the rumors are true: Mr. Toad is dead.
The Toad is Toast.
You have no doubt heard the ignominious details of his demise. The jade green deco bathroom on the 1st floor is cordoned by tape and the investigation continues. It was his favorite room, so toad-like in its décor, so wet and humid when in normal use. Sadly, this oasis is as dry now as the desiccated corpse of our friend, found trapped in uncomfortable circumstances. Toilets are not designed for bathing and yet it was to the green bowl of oblivion that Mr. Toad finally turned. How sad that Toad’s girth defied the parameters of his refuge.
Mr. Toad is survived at Toad Hall by his companion, Tora. Of Toad’s many semi-aquatic cousins, little more need be said. We are all still reeling from the toad catastrophe occasioned by the lack of rain. Should you encounter one of the toad or frog corpses piling up in Darwin’s forest we ask that you reflect on the life and adventures of our one and only Mr. Toad before passing on or taking a nibble.
Tora the Cat is now receiving visitors. His grief is great and he has changed the residential signage so it will not resonate with the memory of his dried up benefactor. Henceforth Toad Hall is to be known as CASTLE TORA.
Much has been said about the relationship between Mr. Toad and his 8 kg feline housemate. Toad often remarked that he would have sought an even larger tiger-like companion had forest regulations permitted. Fortunately our natural laws did finally limit Mr. Toad to a predator with the gait of a lion and yet the size of only the smallest lynx. We are grateful for this small blessing.
Should you wish to visit Master Tora in his time of sorrow, we ask that you follow some simple guidelines to ensure tranquility. Deer and turkeys are asked to remain at least 7 meters from the castle’s new lord. A sheltered promenade has been watered immediately below the back ramparts for reception purposes. Iphigenia, the mother deer has sent several of her children as envoys. They presented an officious message of comfort from Artemis and a polite plea for continued watering from the deer mother herself. Sadly, we all recognize that a single spigot and hose can only barely begin to soak the immediate palace grounds; scarcely a drop remains for the acreage comprising the Sacred Grove and the totality that is Darwin’s Domain. Iphigenia offered this poem to illustrate the current predicament:
Cat in castle
See you fireflies at night?
No, they light not the air
That dries the toughest weasel’s throat.
The fireflies are Dead,
Our Mr. Toad is Dead.
A scorching sirocco sucks
Every blessed droplet from soil
Where tendrils fail and trees wither.
Oh for even a garden hose
To hydrate my brood
I would pledge that none of our hooves
Would ever, Not Ever
Disturb thee on your terrace!
We can see that our mother deer has been taking our weekly poetry circles seriously, not least our recent explorations of Aristophanes.
It is recommended that field mice maintain a 40 meter distance from the castle palisades. Ratty, you may want to observe a similar perimeter, you aren’t as fleet of foot as you used to be. John Ruskin the woodchuck is hereafter named Tora’s consort and is welcome anytime for quiet camaraderie. Similarly, the local raccoons, who sometimes mistake Tora’s rear end as one of their own, are welcome to within 8 paces of our new master and are free to any sunflower seeds falling from the bird feeder, hereafter to be stocked on a constant basis. Surely we are aware that Tora is an avid birdwatcher. I can assure the cardinals and woodpeckers that their non-aggression pact remains as strong as the castle walls. He simply likes to get close.
Bald eagles are not welcome. However, Mr. Owl has been asked to sing at the funeral of our Toad, which will take place this evening at 8:45. The late hour has been negotiated to accommodate Mr. Owl, as well as various bats who are likely to flit in for a last look.
As executor and temporary trustee of lands and property formerly belonging to Toad, I, known simply as Badger have surveyed the oak trees and must report that this year’s crop of acorns is completely lost. As many of you will have noticed, there has been an unseasonable leaf drop by the mighty trees and falling also are the acorn buds. Each bud is a morsel we shall never taste. Truly the acorns are dropping like flies.
Oh brutal Helios, the parched ground is strewn with buds the size of flies! Sad this day, bereft of rain, bereft of acorns, bereft of Toad!
But Tora the Cat abides. The funeral will begin sharply at the time mentioned above. Wear your furs and may all of you achieve the coolness of spirit our skies formerly permitted. The Toad is Dead, Long Live King Cat.
--Badger, day 28 in this month of Julius Caesar, year 25637 A.G. (After Gaia)