Do Not Allow Idleness to Deceive You, for While You Give Him Today He Steals Tomorrow from You

H. Croccoquill? Alfred Crowquill? Alfred Henry Forrester?

Dear Quote Investigator: I recently encountered an insightful quotation that begins:

Don’t allow idleness to deceive you. . .

Someone with the unusual name “H. Croccoquill” was credited, but I have been unable to learn anything about him or her. Is this ascription accurate?

Quote Investigator: No. The earliest instance located by QI appeared in an 1856 book for children written and illustrated by Alfred Crowquill. That name was a pseudonym shared by two brothers: Alfred Henry Forrester and Charles Robert Forrester. However, Charles died in 1850, and the 1856 book was crafted by Alfred alone. 1

The quotation occurred in a story titled “The Dwarf and the Woodcutter” which included a scene of a child observing a dozen ants moving a single grain of corn to an underground storehouse. The child addressed the ants and suggested that they should save their labor and simple eat the grain. The leading ant replied with a lecture on industriousness. Emphasis added by QI: 2

Did we seek only to devour on the spot, all we found, we should be gluttons, and get lazy, and, surprised by the winter, die in our homes, for the want of that which we ought to have gathered by our industry in the proper season. Ah, my little man, do not allow Idleness to deceive you, for while you give him to-day he steals to-morrow from you.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading Do Not Allow Idleness to Deceive You, for While You Give Him Today He Steals Tomorrow from You


  1. 1989 Copyright, The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction by John Sutherland, Entry: Alfred Crowquill, Quote Page 164, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. (Google Books Preview)
  2. 1856, Tales of Magic and Meaning, Written and Illustrated by Alfred Crowquill (Alfred Henry Forrester), Story: The Dwarf and the Woodcutter, Start Page 88, Quote Page 104, Grant and Griffith, London. (Google Books Full View) link