The Wheelbarrow looked for new owner and found a house which new owner seemed to live in.

The snow lay in drifts against the windows, so the Wheelbarrow took a run at one of them and managed to get high enough to look in. And there was a little boy asleep.By the stove stood a box with a string tied to it. That was all he had in the way of a wheel barrow. 'There, I thought so!' said the Wheelbarrow. 'This is the place for me.'

This context is from a short story "Jumping Jack and his friends" in "Little Old Mrs Pepperpot"

I couldn't understand this sentence "That was all he had in the way of a wheel barrow". And why does the Wheelbarrow decide this house? Does this sentence relate with the reason?

  • I wouldn't say "caught a house". Maybe found, saw or came across a house?
    – user3169
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 19:32
  • 2
    I think the point of the story is that the (anthropomorphized) Wheelbarrow is looking for a home where he will be useful, and since the closest thing to a wheelbarrow already in this house is a box, a real wheelbarrow would be need. Commented May 3, 2016 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


It would be like saying:

That was all he had that was like a wheel barrow.

meaning the "box with a string tied to it" was the boy's attempt to make a wheelbarrow.
Wheelbarrow decides the boy must really want a wheelbarrow, which is why it says 'This is the place for me.' It will make a good home for Wheelbarrow.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. I got it. I mistook "he" in all he had as the wheelbarrow. Commented May 3, 2016 at 20:05
  • 2
    From this brief passage, it seems that the author calls the Wheelbarrow 'the Wheelbarrow' each time to avoid using a pronoun - either 'it' (which is what we call wheelbarrows in real life) or 'he' or 'she'. If the author hasn't called the Wheelbarrow 'he' so far in the story, then there is no reason to start doing so right here after introducing 'a little boy', who is definitely 'he'.
    – Sydney
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:45

"In the way of" is a phrasal adjective, meaning (in this context) "as an instance of" or "as a kind of".


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