The Woodlouse

Original Text: 
Edith L. M. King, Country Rhymes for Children (Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1909): 16-17. 011650.e.42 British Library
2    A mediæval knight,
3Who's found it wiser not to keep
4    His armour very bright.
5Experience has taught him, too,
6    To curl up like a pill
7When danger seems to threaten him,
8    And then keep very still.
9This trick has often been the means
10    Of saving him from hurt;
11Because his foes mistake him for
12    A little lump of dirt.
13Just as the enemy must find
14    Our soldiers hard to see
15When they are lying on the ground


1] woodlouse: a louse found in old wood or under stones and characteristically rolling itself up into a ball. Back to Line
16] khakí: from the Urdu word 'dusty', dull yellow-brown cloth used in uniforms of British troops in South Africa in 1899. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.