Dad told me a story once of how he had acted as a lawyer over the estate of an author who wrote a sequel to Wind in the Willows, called Ripples on The River. I don’t know how it did, or what it was like, but after the author’s death of cancer, creditors were jostling to take everything, and to cut out his widow. My father made a speech at that creditor’s meeting that shamed them all, in a spirit that is needed everywhere.
Wind in the Willows is of course a gem, and my favourite chapter Piper at The Gates of Dawn, when Ratty, Mole and Otter have a vision of the God Pan. Its natural beauty is extraordinary, and I think influenced me in Fire Bringer. That is a vision of growth, and also of the power and danger of wild nature, out of a classic ‘children’s story’ of the animals. The God though is both powerful and, in this case, protective, and just touching that state of consciousness, that could wound them deeply, the animals too are given the gift of forgetting, and put back to sleep. A sleep that wakes them again to the timeless and gentle ripples on the river.