1,473 Pages


The story starts with a lady named Mrs. May telling Kate a story that Mrs. May's younger brother told her, about the borrowers.

Young Arrietty Clock lives with her father, Pod, and mother, Homily, under the floorboards of Great Aunt Sophy's house. There used to be many other families of borrowers, but one by one they left until the Clocks were all alone. The lady of the house, Great Aunt Sophy, also lives alone with just a few servants, though Pod oftentimes talks to her when she is drunk.

Pod is the only real borrower of his family, since Homily and Arrietty spend their days at home while he goes out to borrow materials from the "human beans". Arrietty dreams of living in open fields like the other borrowers were said to live in, in a badger's set outdoors. She looks at pictures of humans out in the open and taught herself how to read and write, so she was always very curious.

One day Homily suggested that Pod teach Arrietty how to borrow, and on her very first day she met a boy, which happened to be Mrs. May's younger brother. He was only visiting for a short while after living for years in India, so the Clock family didn't know much about his habits and how to avoid him yet. Arrietty gets into a full conversation with him, and soon he helps out the Clock family.

For many nights, he would visit their home under the floorboard and give them furniture from an old dollhouse and anything else they may need, so that Pod didn't have to borrow anymore, but spend his days redecorating his home, under Homily's instructions, of course. Unfortunately, one of the servants noticed that some of the items from a glass case went missing, and she decided to search for the culprit.

She caught the boy one night when he was giving the borrowers more things, and she grounded him for the rest of his stay. She sent for multiple people from town to come and smoke out the Clocks and then hopefully capture them as they were trying to escape. She also went to send the boy away, but before he left, he opened the grating connected to Arrietty's room so that the Clocks could escape to find their Uncle Hendreary at the badger's set.

The tale of the borrowers ends there, and as Mrs. May said, her brother liked to tease and probably made it all up. She did give the borrowers some more supplies, however, when she went to visit the house, and she also knew how the borrowers could have survived in the outdoors. The borrowers existence is left for young Kate and the reader to decide.

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If you like this you might like...

  • Other books in the series:
    • The Borrowers Afield
    • The Borrowers Afloat
    • The Borrowers Aloft
    • Poor Stainless
    • The Borrowers Avenged
  • Other books by Mary Norton:
    • The Magic Bed Knob
    • Bonfires and Broomsticks (Bedknobs and Broomsticks)

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