Historical Children's Literature Collection

The history of Tom Thumb [unknown] [1840]

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A magician, in disguise, was going a journey, and being
very weary, be stopped one day at tbe cottage of an honest
ploughman to refresh, himself. The ploughman's wife was
very civil to him, and brought him some milk in a wooden
bowl, and some brown bread on a platter.
Merlin could not help noticing, that though every thing
in the cottage was neat and in good order, the ploughman
and his wife seemed very much grieved about something ;
so he asked them the reason of this, and they told him that
they could not make themselves happy because they had no
children. The poor woman said, with tears in her eyes,
that she should be as happy as any body in the world, if she
had a son, even if he were no bigger than his father
Merlin was very much pleased with the thought of a boy
no bigger than a man's thumb; and as soon as he got home
he sent for the queen of the fairies, for he was a great friend
of her's, and told her how the ploughman and his wife
longed to have a son the size of his father's thumb.
The queen of the fairies liked the plan very much, and
said their wish should soon be granted; and so indeed it
was, for sometime after this the ploughman's wife had a son
just of that size.
Tom never was any bigger than his father's thumb, which
was not a large thumb neither, but as he grew older, he
became very cunning and sly, which his mother did not
correct him enough for; so that when he was old enough to
play with the boys for cherry-stones, and had lost all his
own, he used to creep into the other boys' bags, fill his
pockets, and come out again to play. But one day, as he
was getting out of a bag of cherry-stones, the boy who
owned it chanced to see him. i i Aha, my little Tom Thumb J?
said the boy, " have I caught you at your bad tricks at last *
Now I will punish you for thieving."' Then he drew the
string tight round his neck, and shook the bag a good deal,
so that the cherry-stones bruised Tom's legs, thighs, and
body sadly. This made him beg to be let out, and promise
never to play such tricks any more.
Tom Thumb's mother once took him with her when she
went to milk the cow ; and as it was a very windy day she
tied him to a thistle, with a piece of thread, that he might
not be blown away.    The cow saw Tom's oak-leaf hat, and
liked it so much that she took him and the thistle up atone
mouthful. While the cow was chewing the thistle, Tom
was afraid of her great teeth, which seemed ready to crush
him to pieces, so he roared out, "Mother, mother!" as loud
as^he could. " Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?"
said his mother. "Here, mother, (said Tom) here, in the
red cow's mouth." His mother now began to cry and wring
her hands ; but when the cow found such odd noises in her
throat, she opened her mouth, and let Tom drop out.
 Tom's father made him a whip of barley-straw to drive
the cattle with, and when Tom was in the field one day, he
slipped into a deep furrow. A raven picked him up with a
grain of corn, and flew with him to the top of a giant's castle by the seaside, where he left him, and old Grumbo, the
giant, coming soon after to Walk upon his terrace, took up
Tom, and swallowed him like a pill, clothes and all. Tom
soon made the giant very ill, so that he threw him up again
into the sea.    A great fish then swallowed him ; and this
fish was soon after caught, and sent as a present to King
Arthur. When it was cut open, every body was charmed
with little Tom. The king made him his dwarf; he was
the favourite of the whole court; and by his merry tricks he
often amused the queen, and the knights of the round table.
Tom got a little purse, and put a silver threepence into
it. He had much ado to lift this upon his back; he thea
set out, and after walking two days and two nights, he came
safe to his father's house.   His mother met him at the door,
almost tired to death; for in the forty-eight hours he had
walked almost half a mile with the silver threepence upon
his back, which was a very heavy load for him to carry.
His parents were glad to see him, and the more so because
he had brought such a sum of money along with him. They
placed him in a walnut shell by the fireside, and feasted him
for three days on a hazel nut; but this made him sick, for a
whole nut used always to last him a month.
Tom soon got well ; but he could not travel back again,
because it had rained; so his mother took him in her hand,
and with one puff of her mouth, she blew him into King
Arthur's court. Tom now amused' the ting and qufeen, and
lorcte of the court, at many warlike games; and he was so
eager to please them in this way, that he brought a fit of
sickness on himself, and his life was considered to be in
great danger.
Just at this time, the queen of the fairies came to see him
in a chariot drawn by flying mice.    She placed Tom by her
 side, and drove through the air without stopping till they
came to her palace. Here she restored him to health, and
let him enjoy the gay pleasures of Fairy Land for some time.
She then made a fair wind to blow, and placing Tom before
it, she blew him straight to the court of King Arthur. But
just as Tom should have come down in the court-yard of the
palace, the cook happened to pass along with the king's
great bowl of furmenty, (for King Arthur loved furmenty,)
and poor Tom Thumb fell plump into the miAdle of it, and
^plashed the hot furmenty into the cook's eyes.
Down went the bowl. " Oh dear! oh dear!" cried Tom.
*'Murder, murder!" roared the cook. And away ran all
the king's nice furmenty into the channel.
The cook was a red-faced cross fellow, and told the king
he was sure Tom had done it out of mere mischief; so Tom
was taken up, tried, and condemned to have his head cut off.
When Tom heard this dreadful sentence, and seeing a miller
stand by with his mouth wide open, he took a good spring
and jumped down the miller's throat, without any body, or
even the miller himself seeing him go, or knowing it.
As Tom was now lost, the court broke up, and away went
the miller to his mill. But Tom did not leave the poor fellow long at rest; for he began to tumble about in his belly,
so that the miller thought himself bewitched, and sent for
a doctor. Wlien the doctor came, Tom began to dance and
sing, so that the doctor was as much afraid and puzzled as
the miller, and sent in great haste for five more doctors, and
twenty learned men. While all these were talking about
the affair, the miller happened to yawn; as soon as Tom
found this, he made another jump, and came down on his
feet in the middle of the table. The miller was mad at
seeing that he had been put to so much pain by such a little
creature, so he flew into a great passion, caught hold of Tom,
and threw him out of the window into the river, and a large
salmon snapped him up in a minute. The salmon was soon
caught, and sold in the market to the steward of a lord, and
 the lord thinking it a fine fish, made a present of it to the
king, who ordered it to be dressed directly. When the
cook cut open the salmon, he found poor Tom, and ran with
him to the king, who was then busy with state affairs, and
told the cook to bring him again another day.
At the end of that time, the king sent for hiim forgave him
for throwing down the furmenty, ordered him a new suit
of clothes, and knighted him.
His skirt was made of butterflies' wings,
His boots were made of chicken-skins;
His coat and breeches were made with pride,
A tailor's needle hung by his side;
A mouse for a horse he used to ride.
When he was thus dressed and mounted, he rode a hunting with the king and lords of the court, who all laughed
heartily at Tom and his fine prancing steed.
Soon after this, a spider took him for a fly, and ran at
him. Tom drew; his sword, and fought bravely, but the
spider's breath was too strong for him:
He fell dead on the ground where before he had stood
And the spider sucked up the last drop of his blood.
j .
1—Ths History of Cinderella.
2—The History'of Tom Thumb.
3—Hare and many Friends.
!.          ■           1
4—Entertaining Views.
5—Eobinson Crusoe.
6—Jack the Giant Killer.
7—Little Eed Eiding Hood.
8—.Scenes from Nature.
9—Dame Trot.
10—Mother Hubbard.
11—Capitals of Europe.
12—The House that Jack built.
13—Death & Burial of CockEobin.
14—Cock Eobin and Jenny Wren.
15—Old Man and his Ass.
16—Peter Brown.
OTLEY:                                       1
Yorkshire J. S, 'Publishing & Stationery Co., Limited.


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