one of the little people who knew G. Chaucer but now lives in a dollhouse
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I would have read this sometime pre-1978, I think. It was a children's chapter book -- a brother and a sister, children of an academic, were with their dad on a research sabbatical somewhere in England (?). Dad was researching Chaucer, and the children met an elf (?) gnome(?) fairy (?) leprechaun (?) who, being of a very long-lived race, had actually known Chaucer. This creature ended up living in a dollhouse that belonged to the girl, and there was something in the plot about this little person trying to bribe or blackmail the children to help him get back home by dangling his knowledge of some papers or other cache of Chaucer memorabilia in front of the kids. I'm not positive about any of the details but I feel pretty sure about the outlines. I've been trying to remember the name of this book for years.
Edit: nevermind, my suggestion was published too late to be relevant.
>4 saskia17: There is definitely a family resemblance between this and the book I'm thinking of, but my book was more contemporary than Kipling.
>3 humouress: Again, my memory of the book is that it was more recent than anything Nesbitt wrote. The father and his interest in Chaucer was a key part of the plot as I remember it. The little man (I can't remember exactly what he was, fairy or elf or leprechaun) was gaining weight from living in the dollhouse, eating too much and not getting enough exercise -- the cover of the book may have shown this chubby little elf living in the dollhouse with the children looming over it.
It's been many years since I read it and I have no idea whether there were any Chaucer references, but I suddenly remembered the existence of King of the Dollhouse by Patricia Clapp (1974). Maybe?