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Literature / Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

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Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose is a 1948 children's storybook written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss.

Thidwick the moose lets a bug ride on his antlers while he grazes. Unfortunately, this one act of generosity spreads into Thidwick having to put up with an increasing number of "guests", who make increasingly troublesome demands. Can the moose use his head to find some way out of the problem created by his big heart?

A Russian Animated Adaptation, Welcome, was made in 1986.

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Asshole Victim: At the end, the hunters decide to stuff the guests once Thidwick leaves them behind. The book thinks they deserved it, and it's very hard to disagree.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One of Thidwick's final guests is a bear. Now not only is there no more room in his antlers, he is carrying 500 pounds.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Thidwick at the end. After being nice to his "guests" and receiving no help in return, he eventually abandons them to their fate at a time of danger. He survives, while his "guests" die.
  • Darker and Edgier: One of the very few Seuss stories where characters actually die.
  • Deuteragonist: Thidwick's guests all share this role to Thidwick's protagonist. This is how we learn the Double Aesop.
  • Disneyfication: Welcome does not feature the hunters and instead Thidwick just leaves the guests dazed and bewildered on his discarded antlers.
  • Double Aesop: Through Thidwick, we learn that if you let someone take advantage of your generosity, it can lead to your destruction. Through his guests, we learn that if you take advantage of someone else's generosity, they might stop being generous to you.
  • Extreme Doormat: Thidwick until his Character Development.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A rare Seuss comeuppance story. Multiple animals take advantage of Thidwick and locate to his antlers, apathetic to the discomfort it causes and the potential of him starving to death. He eventually sheds his antlers, just as a pack of hunters pursue him, leaving him free to escape and all the animals on the antlers caught and stuffed.
  • Loophole Abuse: Thidwick's guests argue that his antlers are their home now and he can't relocate their home to the other side of the lake. At the end, Thidwick realises that this is the time of year that the deer family shed their antlers, so he simply tosses them off his head and says his "guests" are welcome to keep them while he goes to join his herd.
  • Moose Are Idiots: Or at least Extreme Doormats.
  • Never Say "Die": Thidwick's dead guests are simply described as "all stuffed".
  • No Sympathy: Thidwick's guests are apathetic to the fact he may starve, simply on the grounds that they don't want to relocate to the other side of the lake.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Thidwick puts up with an increasing number of creatures on his antlers without complaining solely because they are guests, even though he didn't even invite most of them.
  • Stupid Evil: Thidwick's guests refuse to let him migrate, despite the fact that if he starves to death, they will be left homeless.
  • Surprise Creepy: Most of the book is a standard Seuss story, but it ends in the guests being made into taxidermy.
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: The bug asks Thidwick if he can ride on his antlers, which Thidwick allows. Then the bug lets on another "guest", and they bring in more, until poor Thidwick is supporting a huge number of animals. Furthermore, they will not allow him to go to the other side of the lake with the rest of the herd so he can get the food he needs.
  • Teens Are Short: The Zinn-a-zu Bird (implied to be a teenager) and the woodpecker (implied to be middle-aged) are implied to be the same species. Despite this, the woodpecker is much bigger.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Thidwick lets other animals live on his antlers. Unfortunately, these animals - who increase in number - take advantage of his hospitality, and refuse to leave. When Thidwick's herd gives him an ultimatum - get rid of them or be left behind - he still can't bring himself to be rude to his guests, and leaves. Still, the guests grow in number and size, inviting more guests, and refusing to consider the increasing physical and psychological load they're putting on their host. Finally, when a group of hunters comes after Thidwick, he decides to stand up for himself, and sheds his antlers, fleeing to safety and leaving his inconsiderate guests behind. The last page of the book shows them made into taxidermy specimens, still on the shed antlers.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Harvard Club hunters don't show up until the climax.