The Adventures of Peter Pan HTML version

Chapter 7. The Home Under The Ground
One of the first things Peter did next day was to measure Wendy and John and Michael
for hollow trees. Hook, you remember, had sneered at the boys for thinking they needed a
tree apiece, but this was ignorance, for unless your tree fitted you it was difficult to go up
and down, and no two of the boys were quite the same size. Once you fitted, you drew in
[let out] your breath at the top, and down you went at exactly the right speed, while to
ascend you drew in and let out alternately, and so wriggled up. Of course, when you have
mastered the action you are able to do these things without thinking of them, and nothing
can be more graceful.
But you simply must fit, and Peter measures you for your tree as carefully as for a suit
of clothes: the only difference being that the clothes are made to fit you, while you have
to be made to fit the tree. Usually it is done quite easily, as by your wearing too many
garments or too few, but if you are bumpy in awkward places or the only available tree is
an odd shape, Peter does some things to you, and after that you fit. Once you fit, great
care must be taken to go on fitting, and this, as Wendy was to discover to her delight,
keeps a whole family in perfect condition.
Wendy and Michael fitted their trees at the first try, but John had to be altered a little.
After a few days' practice they could go up and down as gaily as buckets in a well. And
how ardently they grew to love their home under the ground; especially Wendy. It
consisted of one large room, as all houses should do, with a floor in which you could dig
[for worms] if you wanted to go fishing, and in this floor grew stout mushrooms of a
charming colour, which were used as stools. A Never tree tried hard to grow in the centre
of the room, but every morning they sawed the trunk through, level with the floor. By
tea-time it was always about two feet high, and then they put a door on top of it, the
whole thus becoming a table; as soon as they cleared away, they sawed off the trunk
again, and thus there was more room to play. There was an enourmous fireplace which
was in almost any part of the room where you cared to light it, and across this Wendy
stretched strings, made of fibre, from which she suspended her washing. The bed was
tilted against the wall by day, and let down at 6:30, when it filled nearly half the room;
and all the boys slept in it, except Michael, lying like sardines in a tin. There was a strict
rule against turning round until one gave the signal, when all turned at once. Michael
should have used it also, but Wendy would have [desired] a baby, and he was the littlest,
and you know what women are, and the short and long of it is that he was hung up in a
It was rough and simple, and not unlike what baby bears would have made of an
underground house in the same circumstances. But there was one recess in the wall, no
larger than a bird-cage, which was the private apartment of Tinker Bell. It could be shut
off from the rest of the house by a tiny curtain, which Tink, who was most fastidious
[particular], always kept drawn when dressing or undressing. No woman, however large,