And here, if you like, the Cricket DID chime in! with a Chirrup, Chirrup, Chirrup, of such magnitude, by way of chorus; with a voice so astoundingly disproportionate to its size, as compared with the kettle; (size! you couldn’t see it!) that if it had then and there burst itself like an overcharged gun, if it had fallen a victim on the spot, and chirruped its little body into fifty pieces, it would have seemed a natural and inevitable consequence, for which it had expressly labored.

Charles Dickens, “The Cricket on the Hearth”

The Cricket in our bedroom must be a distant relation to that fine specimen of the Peerybingle hearth, for It is both persistent and loud. Find yourself drifting off to a deep, dreamless sleep? Never you mind that, for dear Cricket shall pipe up and make sure your slumber is full of dreams (or at least sound). Looking for some quiet time in the dark, in which to pray and contemplate? Ah, well, the 65-degree bedroom haven is just the place for an accompaniment of God’s little friend the Cricket. Making your life into a bit of a romantic ideal, are you, full of brick farmhouses and cute cuddly animals in the barn? Well then, let’s insert a few creepy-crawly-jumpy type bugs accompanied by a Cricket from 2 AM on and see how romantic and ideal your homestead seems.

When, suddenly, the struggling fire illumined the whole chimney with a glow of light; and the Cricket on the Hearth began to Chirp!

No sound he could have heard, no human voice, not even hers, could so have moved and softened him. The artless words in which she had told him of her love for this same Cricket, were once more freshly spoken; her trembling, earnest manner at the moment, was again before him; her pleasant voice – O what a voice it was, for making household music at the fireside of an honest man! – thrilled through and through his better nature, and awoke it into life and action.

Charles Dickens, “The Cricket on the Hearth”

Though the Cricket (or could there be a host of them?) in our bedroom will likely not live to chirrup through another night of my slumber (sleep-deprived pregnant women have a way of convincing homework-weary husbands to befriend flashlights and hunt down noise offenders of the night), I can’t help but have a fondness for It all the same. How could I have not read and reread Dickens’s delightful story and not see this Cricket (and all Its fellows who make themselves so comfortable throughout all the nooks and crannies of my kitchen and downstairs rooms) as a sort of metaphor for what I love about this vocation of wife and mother?

Hark! how the Cricket joins the music with its Chirp Chirp, Chirp; and how the kettle hums!

But what is this! Even as I listen to them, blithely, and turn towards Dot, for one last glimpse of a little figure very pleasant to me, she and the rest have vanished into air, and I am left alone. A Cricket sings upon the Hearth; a broken child’s-toy lies upon the ground; and nothing else remains.

Charles Dickens, “The Cricket on the Hearth”

We’ll revisit this fine tale, complete with Cricket, closer to Christmas, shall we? It is one of Dickens’s classic Christmas tales (though less known than “A Christmas Carol”), and its depiction of hearth and home, love and life, dedication and dreamery, always leaves me a bit…breathless. It makes me almost regret sending my husband off to dispatch of that Cricket in the bedroom.

(And then I remember what it’s like to have a full night of sleep – quick, while I still can! There will be more Crickets, I’m sure. We seem to have no shortage of them here in the country.)