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Mr Nobody

To think about the importance of telling the truth.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about the importance of telling the truth.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary but an OHP, PowerPoint or whiteboard would be useful for reading the poem.


Tell the children that you are going to read/tell them a story. Ask them to listen carefully because when you have finished you will want to know what they think about it.

Adam was a good boy really. He wasn’t naughty, but he was so lively that he rushed around like a whirlwind, which meant that sometimes things were broken or damaged as he sped along! He hated to be in trouble and didn’t mean to break things but, oh dear…One day his football broke the kitchen window. Another time he accidentally rode his bike into the flowerpots in the garden, which went crashing over, leaving soil and plants all over the place. Once he was rushing down the stairs with a toy car in his hand and marked the newly decorated wallpaper. Then another time he was drawing on the dining-room table with felt-tip pens and because he had nothing underneath his paper the pens marked the polished surface.

The main problem was that Adam just could not bring himself to own up to the things he had done. He did not tell anyone and hoped that no one would notice them. Naturally his parents did notice and would ask Adam how things had happened. Adam always played the innocent, pretending not to know anything about it. His parents became very worried because he would not own up to what he had done.

One day Adam’s grandma came to stay. Adam enjoyed her visits. She often played card games and board games with him; she even tried his computer games! Sometimes they went for walks or she told him wonderful stories. When it was time for bed, instead of reading him a story Grandma told Adam a poem that she had learned as a child. He listened carefully as she began.

Mr Nobody (Anonymous)

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house!

There’s no one ever sees his face.
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr Nobody.

’Tis he who always tears our books,
And leaves the doors ajar
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters them afar.

That squeaking door will always squeak,
For, prithee, don’t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made.
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.

The ink we spill; the boots
That lie round you see,
Are not our boots, they all belong
To Mr Nobody.

When she had finished Grandma asked Adam what he thought about the poem. She told him that things are often made much worse by not owning up to doing them. We should always tell the truth so that others know we can be trusted. (Here you might like to ask the children for their opinions.)

Adam thought about what she had said and promised that in future he would not be afraid to own up. Strangely, he became much more careful and considerate and there did not seem to be so many mysterious accidents.

Time for reflection


Have you ever behaved like Adam in the story?

Have you broken something, perhaps by accident, and then kept quiet, hoping that no one would notice?

Have you ever had to own up to something that you’ve done?

How did it feel: to have the secret, and to own up to it, afterwards?



Dear God,

We ask you to give us the strength to own up

when we know we have done something wrong.

Teach us not to blame others for what we have done

and give us the courage to face the consequences.



‘Father, hear the prayer we offer’ (Come and Praise, 48)

Publication date: February 2007   (Vol.9 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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