Monday 9 May 2011

Through the prickle hedge or Aunt Matilda’s child’en, Mr Peter Dog, an’ me.

A while back I received the following email

When I was a little boy my Mother used to read me a poem called "Through the Prickle Hedge" I found out after much searching that it was written by a lady called, Marion St. John Webb and that you are listed as someone who stocks her books so my question is this "How can I get the words to this poem" as I have forgotten all but the first line.

I thought the poem might be included in a book called ‘the littlest one’ by Marion St John (Adcock) Webb and by a stroke of luck it was and even luckier I had a copy in stock so it was an easy matter to send the words. A couple of weeks later I received this reply.

What a lovely person you are, you have certainly made an old man very happy. Just to read the poem again brings back so many happy childhood memories of my Mother saying this poem to me, I think I was only 5 or 6 years old. Thanks so much, it brought a tear to my eyes after all this time.

I added this story to the ‘feedback’ page on my website and received several requests for copies of the words but by then the book had sold, and so I could not oblige.  Anyway last week I found another copy.

So for anyone who is interested this is how the poem starts;

While all the grown-up people sat an’ talked upon the lawn, we scrambled through the prickle hedge – and one of us got torn – 
and out into the lane we went, an’ passed the willow tree, Aunt Matilda’s child’en, Mr Peter Dog, an’ me. 
We’d played about the garden all the kind of games we could, and so we went along the lane an’ down into the wood. But jus’ as we had got inside an’ one of us looked round – a little girl we didn't know had followed us, we found. 
Her hair was black an’ straggly, an’ her dress was old and worn, and she on’y had one stocking on, and that was very torn. And who she was, and where she came from, none of us could tell; and when we stopped and stared at her, she stopped and stared as well.

There are a further eight verses but space and time precludes me from including them all.

At the time of writing our copy of 'the littlest one' is still in stock. Some of the other poems are the nugly little man, the hole in the curtain, the creaking stair, the magic door, the squeaky shoes, and the goblins' lanterns. The illustrations are by Margaret Tarrant.

The Littlest one was first published in 1914 and the littlest one again with a further selection of poems in 1923.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx