The Lumber Room by H. H. Munro: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you are reading ~'The Lumber Room~' by H.H. Munro, you may have already picked up on the humor in the story. If not, or if you just want a solid summary, check out the lesson below and get in on the chuckle.

Kids These Days - And Those Days

If you were considered naughty as a child or if you know of a kid who seems to enjoy rebellion, you will find a familiar face in The Lumber Room. In this short tale, a boy named Nicholas pulls the wool over his aunt's eyes and seems to enjoy it.


The Frog

The story starts out with a child named Nicholas who refused to eat his breakfast and throws a tantrum because he claims there was a frog in it. The adults dismiss his claim and call him out on his ridiculousness until they really do find a frog in his bread and milk. He had put it there himself. Nicholas, his brother, and two cousins are supposed to go to Jagborough that afternoon. Due to his recent behavior, Nicholas has to stay behind with his aunt as punishment.

The Gooseberry Garden

The aunt attempts to make Nicholas feel bad about not going on the expedition with them in order to further punish him, but it does not work. He is smug about it too. She does get a reaction when she forbids him to enter the gooseberry garden though. There are two doors that lead to this special garden. It is special because his aunt spends hours everyday tending to the shrubs and flower beds within.

Since he has been forbidden to enter the garden, Nicholas knows that his aunt will be guarding it. He makes a couple of attempts to slip through each of the doors making sure his aunt can see. She continues to watch the garden and he goes back into the house. This is the perfect time to sneak into the one place he really wants to go: the lumber room. It is the one room no child has been allowed to see. He sneaks into the library, stands on a chair, swipes the key from one of the shelves that open the door to the garden. He has planned this for a long time. He was very curious about this forbidden place called the lumber room.

Inside the Lumber Room

There is a large window, up high of the room leaving it a bit dark. It's a store room with a tapestry that was framed of a hunter aiming a bow at a stag, and two dogs assisting in the hunt. There are also some wolves in the background. Nicholas also sees some candle sticks shaped like snakes, a teapot shaped like a duck and a sandlewood box with brass figurines in it. While he's rummaging around in the lumber room, his aunt assumes he is so quiet because he has snuck into the garden and starts to call out to him furiously.

The Water Tank

Nicholas decides to leave the room, replaces the key in the library and follows the cries of his aunt. She is stuck in the rain water tank and cannot get out. She asks him to bring her a ladder. At this moment Nicholas reminds her that he isn't allowed into the gooseberry garden. He also suggests that she could be some 'evil one' trying to get him to do wrong. He even tests her and asks if there is strawberry jam in the house. She says there is. He exclaims that she is definitely the devil as his aunt had denied them of it the previous day. There was no possible way she would know it was there, only the devil did. He decides to walk away, leaving his aunt in the rain water tank, knowing very well it was her. She is rescued by one of the kitchen maids 35 minutes later.

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