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The speaker meets an eight-year old girl and begins a friendly chat. He asks the little girl how many brothers and sisters she has, and she declares that "we are seven." The speaker asks where all of her siblings are, and learns that two of them are actually dead. The speaker insists that the little girl has only four, and not six siblings, but the girl is resolute: her dead brother and sister still count. They argue a bit, and the speaker gets emphatic, exclaiming that "two are dead!" But the little girl has the last word and sticks to her guns. The poem ends with her declaration that "Nay, we are seven!"