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The Borrowers

The Borrowers


by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Chapter 1 Summary

  • Our narrator begins the tale by saying that Mrs. May "first told me about them." Okay, who are "them"? And who is this Mrs. May? Let's find out…
  • Wait. Our narrator suddenly takes back what she just said, correcting her statement to say that Mrs. May didn't tell her, she told some girl named Kate—a wild, messy, stubborn little girl.
  • So does that mean the narrator's actually Kate? Could be… Things are a little confusing, to say the least.
  • But onto the meat of the thing.
  • We learn that Mrs. May lives in two rooms in Kate's parents' house in London. Oh! We're in London. We hope it's teatime.
  • One day, while Mrs. May and Kate are crocheting a bed quilt, Kate realizes she can't find her crochet hook, even though she just had it right there.
  • Don't you just hate when that happens?
  • Uh oh, Mrs. May says, the house must be full of borrowers.
  • Not borrowers! Anything but borrowers! We hate those pesky things.
  • Hold up. What in the world is a "borrower"?
  • Kate begs Mrs. May to tell the story of how she first heard of the little people called borrowers from her brother.
  • It seems that in the great big house where Mrs. May's brother was recovering from an illness he got in India, there was a very big grandfather clock, and below the clock there was a hole.
  • That hole was home to three borrowers: Homily, Pod, and little Arrietty.
  • Mrs. May tells us that even their names were "borrowed" from humans, who they thought existed solely so that borrowers could take from them. These little guys sure sound a little too big for their britches.
  • This particular old house was ideal for the borrowers to live in because the mistress of the house, Great-Aunt Sophy, had been bedridden for the past twenty years, thanks to a nasty hunting accident, and the only other human beings in the house were Mrs. Driver the cook, and a grumpy gardener named Crampfurl.
  • Dying to hear more? Go on, turn the page. You know you want to.

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