The Unseen Playmate
Today I happened to read a children’s poem by the famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. (1850-94). He lived in Edinburgh and you “can meet him” at the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh where some of his belongings are shown.
His Treasure Island was performed at my oldest boy’s school back in 1986 by pupils from six years’ old to twelve and to this day that was the best performance of that musical edition of the exciting story about little Jim and Long John Silver and many more.
Back to the poem “The Unseen Playmate”
When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen,
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.
Nobody heard him and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he’s sure to be present, aboard or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.
He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene’er you are happy ad cannot tell why,
The friend of the Children is sure to be by!
(Two more verses after this)
The book “A Child’s Garden of Verses” was first published in 1885.
Later today I scrolled down on my blogroll and found a post on the same theme. A blogger called Barb Knowles with her blog Sane Teachers wrote about her invisible friend.
Barb describes how they played in a secret spot in the garden and the invisible friend always went into her home when she needed her. The parents quarreled and her mother was drinking but the invisible friend didn’t care.
I know the author of the poem was sick most of his childhood so also he knew what it was to be a lonely child. I am always drawn to stories like this as I want to know how children cope with difficult life situations. When he wrote this little book he was suffering immensely from tuberculosis.