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The Mole With A Hole In The Whole Of Him

posted: 5/7/2007

(a story for children)

He's an average mole.
His home is a hole.
His pillow's a rock.
His mattress is coal.

The hole's dingy dark
but the mole doesn't mind;
he can't really tell,
being practically blind.

His job is to carve out a path in the earth.
Some six feet below he's been buried since birth,
doing diligent digging (a million moles' worth),
dozing by day and all night on alert.

"I'm a burrowing, furrowing clerk of the dirt,"
says the mole as he chews on his mushroom dessert.


One very odd evening, this diligent mole
wakes with a start, in his home that's a hole,
and discovers that someone has snuck in and stolen
a chunk from his trunk in the shape of a bowl.

Now the mole has a hole in the whole of him.

Was it carefully planned?
Or a whimsical fling?
Why would anyone do such a thing?

Some creep must have crept in while he was asleep.
The mole wonders who could so silently seep
through an entrance so narrow, down a pathway so steep,
to a hole that's so cramped and so dark and so deep
and scoop out some skin and make no noise at all.
"I know of no gnome so sneaky and small,"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.

Is this not a terribly cruel trick to spring?
Why would anyone do such a thing?

The mole is ashamed and he's shocked and he's shaken
(You'd be too, if a clod from your body were taken),
"I'm hollow," he hollers, "and so incomplete!
Some hoodlum has hauled off a hunk of my meat.
Oh where hides the mole-mauling, mess-making vandal
who busted my crust and then left me dismantled?"

Now finding the fiend is his first, foremost goal.
"I'm a curious, furious mole on patrol,"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.

"I'll look in each nook, in each crag, in each crack,
and I'll peek in each poke, and I'll seek in each sack,
and I'll scour every flower, and I'll stoke every stack,
and I'll push every bush, and I'll shake every shack,
and I'll comb every home, and I'll roam there and back,
and I'll hunt for the front that I currently lack,"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.

So, poised and prepared for a possible fight,
he conjures his courage and musters his might
and ventures out into the mean, moonless night,
intent and determined as one mole can be.
"I'll clobber the robber who did this to me,"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.


First, the mole asks a frog who lives in a bog,
"Have you seen the mischievous thief who jogged off
with a rather large chunk from the trunk of me?"

Croaks the frog, "Nope. I can not see (urp) in this fog.
I'm as useless to you as a lump on a log.
You're better off (urp) with a clever hound dog
than a puzzling, guzzling (urp) soggy frog.
I'd like to help but my brain is (urp) clogged,
on the blink (urp) from drinking too much of this grog."

The mole tries to take this first failure with grace
but he can't hide his hurt for the frown on his face.
He says, disappointed, "Oh well, in that case
I guess I had better get back to the chase."
The frog, truly moved by the moping mole's grief,
croaks, "Wait! Don't be sad. Though I've not seen the thief,
may I suggest (urp) a form of relief
from that gap that you've got? Try using a scoop
of miraculous (urp) soothing fenny-bog goop.
It's thinner than putty but thicker than soup.
You simply reach into this rotten log's trunk
and feel about (urp) 'til you come to some gunk
that oozes out smoothly but rubs kind of rough.
If you can't shake it off (urp) then you've found the stuff.
Place the goop in your wound and then let it dry.
You'll be good as new, I swear. Go on, try! (urp)."

He gives it a try, but the goop doesn't dry;
he feels like a jelly-filled doughnut or pie.
Asks the mole, "Just whom am I trying to bluff?
A hole's still a hole even when it is stuffed.
Patch jobs are clever but never enough.
And this goop is too droopy to ever replace
the original clay that was made for this space."

Out plops the slop, save a few drops that cling, and he cries,
"Why would anyone do such a thing?"

Then the mole leaves the lair of the drunken old frog.
Off he slogs through the muck and the fog of the bog,
and he still has a hole in the whole of him.


Next, the mole asks a flea in a fuzzy fir tree
that grows all alone at the edge of the sea,
"Have you seen a mischievous thief trying to flee
with a rather large chunk from the trunk of me?"

Quips the flea in the tree, "If you want honesty,
you are wasting your time trying to find out from me.
I'm a born and bred liar and always will be.
Besides that, I'm also a hermit, you see,
so if I saw the culprit I'd let him go free,
for I'm not the type to invite company.
Now, do be a good mole and kindly agree
to go bother someone else rather than me."

The mole, in an effort to gain some assistance,
despite the flea's unfriendly, feisty resistance,
asks, in his most pleasing, pleading inflection,
"Well, couldn't you point out a likely direction
the thief might have gone? Or if not, one more question:
could you maybe offer some sort of suggestion,
as to a remedy, sealant or salve,
that might help in healing this hole that I have?"

The flea snaps back, "Didn't you hear what I said
when I told you to go inquire elsewhere instead?"
But the mole doesn't go and shakes no with his head.
The flea, mighty ticked, wants to get back to bed
and says, "What if I'm able to fashion some thread
out of some fuzz from the trunk of this fir
and soak it in sap 'til I'm sure that it's pure
and use every stitch that I've ever been shown
to completely discreetly get you neatly sewn?
Then will you finally leave me alone?"

The mole nods yes, scratching the skip in his skin.
The flea plucks some fuzz and whines, "Fine, let's begin."

The sew-job is over in one sloppy stitch,
but when it's all finished the mole feels an itch;
it's the ditch deep inside, still bewitching him.
He's certainly sealed
but he's not really healed;
it still feels like a chasm he has in him.
Sadly, he moans, "I should have known--
A hole's still a hole even when it is sewn."

He swiftly unstitches the stiff strand of string, and sighs,
"Why would anyone do such a thing?"

Then the mole leaves the flea in the tree by the sea
and asks himself, "Will I eternally be
a mole with a hole in the whole of me?"


Next, the mole asks a foal who lives on a knoll,
"Have you seen the mischievous thief who has hold
of a rather large chunk from the trunk of me?"

"Nay!" neighs the foal, "what a droll little mole.
Such serious stuff is beyond my control,
but please stay!
We can play!
Maybe dance round this pole!
Maybe glide down this slide! Or cavort or cajole!
Or else sneak 'cross the bridge without paying the toll!"

But the mole tells the foal, "I don't have time to play;
If you cannot help me, I'll be on my way."

The foal, in desperate need of a friend,
begs, "Oh, haven't you even an hour to spend?
Though that mess in your chest is a rend I can't mend,
I've acquired some attire I'd be happy to lend . . .
Right here, take a look through this old vaudeville trunk.
It's loaded with costumes and stage-props and junk.
Perhaps you'll discover a clever disguise
to cover the crevice that you so despise.
Then, once that's fixed, maybe you'll stick around
and we'll make up great games in my private playground!"
The mole tries on all kinds of colorful fashions
but loathes all the clothes with an absolute passion
and ponders, "Just whom am I trying to kid?
A hole's still a hole even when it is hid.
I can't be completely content 'til I'm rid
of this crippling cavern I have in me."

He tosses the costumes onto an old swing, and swoons,
"Why would anyone do such a thing?"

And away from the foal, down the bank of the knoll,
rolls the mole with a hole in the whole of him.


At the foot of the knoll, in a small cemetery,
he plods past the plots where the bodies are buried.
He's quite used to the dark, but the graveyard's still scary.
Is it likely the robber would hide here?
Not very.

Storm clouds roll in, and the wind starts to billow.
He shelters himself 'neath an old weeping willow
who wispily whispers into the mole's ear,
"No living, breathing thing ever comes here.
You are in terrible trouble, I fear."

The mole tells the willow that hangs o'er the creek,
"I've spent this entire night trying to seek
the small, sneaky someone who made me a freak
by digging a hole in the whole of me."

The willow replies, "Mole, you aren't a freak.
Everyone must have a rattle or leak;
a blemish or flaw is what makes us unique.
A hole is a nuisance but isn't a sin.
A hole on the outside means nothing within.

"An example of that is . . . well . . . just look at me:
Do you think I'm any less of a tree
because of this mark in the bark of me?
This chock of a chunk
someone chipped from my trunk?
This splintery nick in the thick of me?
"You see, little mole,
I too have a hole,
but there isn't a hole in the soul of me.

"This is a wonderfully weird sort of game
where we both have a blemish and no one to blame,
where our flaws make us different yet make us the same,
where being unique is something we share
with the billions of others just like us out there . . .

"Well, it's been enchanting, dear, chatting with you,
but now if you don't mind, I've got weeping to do."

The mole leaves the tree without saying good-bye,
perplexed by a creature so eager to cry.
Then he looks at his chest
and sees he's still possessed
of a hideous hole in the whole of him.

And the gap in his chest is beginning to sting.
"Why would anyone do such a thing?"


The thunder thud-rumbles; the wind whistles wild.
From behind a steep heap of loose dirt highly piled
seems to come a glum sigh, somewhat wounded and riled.
Silently, slowly, he moves toward the mound,
more within range of the strange whimpering sound.
His skin begins sweating; his heart starts to pound.
Could it be that he has finally found
the small sneaky gnome
who invaded his home
and spliced out a nice juicy slice of him?
The brat who did bore so
deep into his torso
and carve out a part of the heart of him?

The source of the sound, the thing making the moans,
is a creature curled up on a stack of cracked stones.
"It looks," the mole says as he creeps up behind,
"Like a child, a young boy, of the human being kind,
which is really a rather unusual sight,
for human beings don't like to come out at night."
He asks the young boy, "What are you doing out
on this miserable night, when there's no one about?
You are in terrible trouble, no doubt."

"Holy Moly! You scared me!!" the boy turns and shouts.

"Please, I don't mean to do harm or hurt you.
I didn't intend to alarm or alert you.
I just thought you might be in some kind of trouble.
Tell me, why are you here among all of this rubble?"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.

The boy rubs his eyes and then points to a spot
on the tip of his nose, where it seems he has got
a kind of round, kind of brown mound, a raised dot
that's kind of like skin, then again, kind of not.

"My friends all make fun of this ugly brown stain,"
says the boy to the mole, in a voice tinged with pain.
"I'm pocked! I'm diseased!
I get mocked! I get teased!
But while I am hidden nobody can scoff,
so I'm going to stay here 'til this thing comes off."

The mole hears a thud-rumbling hum in his head
and recalls all the words the old willow tree said,
and feeling a twitch and a switch in his brain,
he uses the willow tree's words to explain:

"Look at me, I've got a hole in my hide
that, at first, made me feel very empty inside,
but I'm growing used to this dent in my skin.
A hole is a nuisance, but it isn't a sin.
A hole on the outside means nothing within.
A hole is no reason to feel incomplete.
A hole may deflate, but it cannot defeat.
So what should I care if I've got a big hole?
I'm still a rambunctional, functional mole.
A crater can't shatter
my most misty matter:
There isn't a hole in the soul of me.

"And the spot that you've got is your own special crest.
It's what makes you different from all of the rest.
See, having a blemish is really okay
because every creature's uniquer that way."

The boy wipes a lingering tear from his eye
and says, with the slightest small trace of a cry,
"What are you getting at? Do you suppose
I should not be concerned with this mole on my nose?"

The mole jumps and shudders and looks all appalled
at what the boy's round brownish blemish is called,
And he thinks to himself, "Well, say, I'm called a mole.
Could that be the portion that somebody stole?
The piece some crook took
from this hollowed out nook
which is gaping so wide in the hide of me?
No, the chances are way too fantastically slim
That what got plucked from me somehow got stuck on him.
And besides, it's too silly! Outrageous! Absurd!
The flimsiest whimsy that I've ever heard!
It's just a coincidence . . . mole's just a word!"

Meanwhile, the boy's looking scared and perplexed
by the mole and the night and what might happen next:
He stammers, "I-I-I think there's a storm coming on . . .
. . . G-g-goodbye." Then he turns . . . then he fades . . . then he's gone.

The mole knows that although the boy ran away
without seeming to learn, come one thunderous day
he'll hear it, a thud-rumbling hum in his head
and recall all the words that the animal said
and use them to help ease a sad friend's concern
over some simple pimple, boil, bunion, or burn,
for sometimes you don't know what you've learned yourself
until you go teach it to somebody else.

The mole spends the rest of the night on the roam,
back to his tunnelish, funnelish home.

And the thief? Well, don't think he's forgotten--he's not.
It's just that the culprit's more useful uncaught,
let loose to go strewing this truth near and far:
that everyone's excellent just as they are,
a lesson the rest of the world needs to learn,
so his whereabouts now needn't be of concern.
"I don't know where he's gone, but I'm glad that he came,
that scandalous, vandalous gnome with no name!"
says the mole with a hole in the whole of him.

When he reaches his hole a fresh dawn is breaking.
The mole goes to sleep when the day world is waking
and drifts into dream-thoughts uncommonly bright,
strange dreams made of scenes from the previous night.

Then he wakes to the same subterranean view,
and he feels sort of sore, sort of bruised black and blue,
and he still has a hole in the whole of him, too.
But the mole doesn't mind--
he's got digging to do.

© 1985 by Barry Smolin