Five Children and It
Wordsworth Children’s Classics 1993
E Nesbit does it
again: do children never
learn? Of course they don’t.
When the five children in this story ask what ‘It’ is, and It tells them it is a Psammead, the immediate comment is the stock phrase “It’s all Greek to me.” And of course that is the point: Psammead would be Greek for ‘sand fairy’, which is what It is.
This is perhaps a clear indication that Edith Nesbit was writing not just for children but also for adults, herself included, the kind of educated middleclass adults alive at the tail-end of Victorian Britain.