Kids, Poems by others, Poetry Friday, Public Domain

The Elf and the Dormouse

It’s mushroom season—it must be, because they are growing everywhere. I snapped some fine specimens on my walk the other day. They always remind me of the fun little poem we learned in school—”The Elf and the Dormouse”

Umbrellas galore! (Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly)

The Elf and the Dormouse

Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

To the next shelter—maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two
Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse—”Good gracious me!

“Where is my toadstool?” loud he lamented
—And that’s how umbrellas first were invented.

by Oliver Herford (1863-1935)


By the way, do you know what a Dormouse is? As I was typing this out, and noticing Spellcheck’s disapproval of “doormouse” I realized a “dormouse” may be more than a poet’s fanciful playing around with words.

According to Wikipedia and other sources that claim to know,  a dormouse is a rodent in the Glirdae family, mostly found in Europe, and known for an ability to sleep i.e. hibernate!  So Mr. Herford got even that detail right!

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

11 thoughts on “The Elf and the Dormouse”

  1. So glad you shared that childhood poem–new to me and much enjoyed. (I’m needing and appreciating “light” this week!) Thank you, too, for pointing out the nonfiction details that the poet incorporated, true to his author-integrity, whether anyone knew or noticed the truth and commitment to detail. (p.s. I once wrote a story in which the mushrooms played the same natural umbrella role, though I didn’t credit them for the invention:) God bless you! Thanks for the photo collage. Truth is that I love eating mushrooms more than I like looking at them. Really nice extended family album, nonetheless! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son played a dormouse in a play about Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. He had a cockney accent and a sarcastic attitude. I wonder if his character might have been inspired by this poem. Thanks for introducing me to it. I should read it to my son.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.