Who comes through my tunnel? A soldier in a paper boat!

I get into his face. “Have you got a passport? Out with it!”

He grips his gun and stares ahead. No fear? I’ll show him my teeth. Then he’ll pay the toll.

The strong current pushes him through. “Hold him!” I shout to my ranks of wood chips and straw. They can’t do it. The boat shoots past.

Ha! If he thinks there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s sorely mistaken!

The Rat in the Tunnel in The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by H.J. Ford.