Famous Children Poem

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a licensed minister who resigned from the clergy when his first wife passed away a couple years into their marriage. In this poem, a squirrel and a mountain have a quarrel because the mountain feels as though it is more important. Each person has his or her own individual talents, and everyone/everything has its purpose in this world, none greater or less than another.

Featured Shared Story

I read this poem in 1965 when I carried a paperback book of poems in my backpack when an infantry soldier in Vietnam. We, the infantry group in which I served, were such a collection of...

Read complete story

Share your story! (5)

The Mountain And The Squirrel

Ralph Waldo Emerson By more Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter
"Little prig."
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry:
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track.
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."



more Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Stories 5
  • Shares 6867
  • Favorited 3
  • Votes 2695
  • Rating 4.17
  • Poem of the Day
Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Larry Padgett by Larry Padgett
  • 2 months ago

I read this poem in 1965 when I carried a paperback book of poems in my backpack when an infantry soldier in Vietnam. We, the infantry group in which I served, were such a collection of diverse persons with different backgrounds, races, religions or lack thereof, and from different social strata. Some of us were drafted into military service, some voluntarily enlisted, some career military and were gung-ho pro-military and some not so much. The poem was meaningful at the time because it spoke to the fact that we were a huge number of diverse people thrown together not by our own choosing, but a group that needed a thread of cohesion; this poem symbolized that thread. This poem has remained my favorite throughout my adult life. It was included in a collection, perhaps entitled English Romantic Poetry or Anthology or a similar title published about 1965 or earlier. Should anyone be aware of the book, or know how to research it, I would love to find a copy of the collection.

  • 1 year ago

In this poem, the poet tried to explain that we shouldn't judge or make fun of others like the mountain did to the squirrel small in size.

  • June Littler by June Littler, Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years ago

I was in fifth grade in 1942 when my teacher presented this to my class. We all had to memorize it. I think it has subliminally stayed with me all these years. I was a stutterer at the time with a poor self concept. I eventually outgrew it, but I think I always remembered that I was no worse and no better than anyone else, and likewise others were the same. I took part in the civil rights movement, as I knew that "under the skin" we all had the same goal of - at the very least - wanting to be respected, not bullied, and to get along peacefully with others.

  • Indira Gokulachandra by Indira Gokulachandra
  • 2 years ago

I do not remember how I came across this poem, but ever since I knew it, it has been my favorite. A little squirrel standing up for itself against the mighty mountain and putting it in place with the right perspective! Whenever I feel a bit violated in real life, I remember the squirrel, and courage comes as a fountain! WOW, what an inspirational poem!

  • Danielle Godfrey by Danielle Godfrey
  • 3 years ago

This is a wonderful poem, embracing the importance we all play in this Great Universe of ours. Beautifully illustrated in this anecdote by you, June, who accepted being You, and let July go... as she would come anyway! xx Love and light to All, and if only we could all contemplate the meeting point between superior and inferior, as it lives within each of us simultaneously.

Back to Top