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The Borrowers

The Borrowers


by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Chapter 20 Summary

  • Kate asks the question we're all asking: did the borrowers make it out? Well, did they?
  • Mrs. May says she just doesn't know. The boy, her brother, never saw them again because a cab came to take him away that same day.
  • But Mrs. May is confident that they made it out, walked across the fields, and joined the Hendrearys in the badger sets.
  • Kate and Mrs. May imagine that they "had a wonderful life—all that Arrietty had ever dreamed of [… because] badger sets are almost like villages—full of passages and chambers and storehouses. They could gather hazelnuts and beechnuts and chestnuts; they could gather corn… they had honey. They could make elderflower tea and lime tea…" (20.24).
  • Mrs. May says she thinks the borrowers use the badger hole as the grand entrance to their real home near the gas pipe, where they can also cook and get light.
  • Hmmm, Mrs. May knows an awful lot about what happened to the borrowers. It almost seems as though she knows something that we don't…
  • Finally, Mrs. May lets the cat out of the bag. She reveals that she went up to the house herself, where she found Homily's little teapot and Arrietty's diary near a gas pipe.
  • She left a bag of goodies for them out overnight. And when she returned, it was gone.
  • Hey. That proves the borrowers must have safely escaped, and have set up a new home in the great outdoors, right?
  • Mrs. May smiles and says she's not so sure; in their diary both Arrietty and her brother used to write their "e's" like little half moons with a stroke in the middle…
  • So do the borrowers exist? Or was it just a fantasy Mrs. May's brother created?
  • If you've ever lost something that you knew was right there a minute ago, you know the answer.

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