Henry A. (Henry Alfred) Gardner.

The history of Tom Thumb online

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Online LibraryHenry A. (Henry Alfred) GardnerThe history of Tom Thumb → online text (page 1 of 1)
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J. Roberts, Wood-Street, Leeds.




^ rt hur, in 516, there lived a
magician called Merlin, who was travelling in the dis-
guise of a beggar: being fatigued, he stopped at the
door of an honest ploughman, and asked for ixTiesh-
ment. The man and his wife gave him a hear'.y wel-
come, arul provided him \\ith some mi'k auJ oread.
But Mtilin observed, (bnt e\eiy Oih;^ was comfortable
in the cottage.) they both seen.eJ to 1 e ui.h.-ippy. The
wife said she would be the happiest of women if she
had a son, though he ;\as no bigger than her husband's

On this. Merlin paid a visit to the Queen of Faries,
to request her to gratify the wishes of the poor woman.
She granted his request ; and in due time the plough-
man's wife was safely delivered of a son, no bigger than
his father's thumb. The fairy queen came in at the
window while the mother was admiring her son. The
queen named him Tom Thumb, and had him dressed
according to the iustrqctions she gave them :


An oak-leaf hat he had for his crown ;
His shirt of web, by spiders spun ;
His jacket wove of thistle's down,
His trousers were of feathers done ;
His stockings of an apple rind, to tie
With eyelash, from his mother's eye ;
His shoes were made of mouse's skin,
Tanned with the downy hair within.

When Tom was old enough to play with the boys,
and had lost all his own cherry-stones, he would slip
into the bags of his play-fellows, unobserved, fill his
pockets, and again join in the play.

One day, however, has he was coming out of a bag

of cherry-stones, the boy to whom it belonged chanced

to see him. "Ah, ah !" said the boy, " I have caught

> you at last." On saying this he drew the string tight

i round his neck and body, \vith which he was sadly

;. hurt.

Some time after his mother was making a pudding,
and Tom anxious to know how it was made, climbed
up the bowl, and fell over head and ears into the bat-
ter, unobserved by his mother, who stirred him in, and

put 'it on to boil. On feeling the hot water, Tom
kicked and struggled so, that his mother thought the
pudding was bewitched, and threw it to the door. A
tinker who was passing at the time, took it up and
put it into his wallet, and walked off. Tom now be-
gan to cry, which so terrified the tinker that he let ic
fall, and ran away. The pudding was broken to pieces.
Torn" crept out, and with difficulty walked home.

Soon after, Tom's mother went to milk the cow, and
took him along with her. As the wind was very high
she tied him to a thistle. The cow observed the oak-
leaf hat, took poor Tom and the thistle at a mouthful ;

but the cow being annoyed at the noise in her throat,
opened her mouth, and let him drop out.

One day his father made him a whip of barley straw
to drive the horses with : he took him into the fields,
but he slipped and fell into a furrow. A crow picked

him up and flew away with him to the top of a Giant's
Castle, near the sea side, and left him. Tom did not
know what to do ; but he was soon more dreadfully
frightened, for Old Grumbo, the Giant, came up to
walk on the terrace, seeing Tom, he swallowed him
like a pill ; but he began to kick and jump about so in

his belly, that he threw him up, and he fell into the
sea. He was swallowed by a fish, which was afterwards
caught and sent to King Arthur's table. When they
opened the fish, they were astonished at finding such a
little boy. He was carried to the King, who made
him his dwarf. When the King rode out he frequent-
ly took Tom along with him ; and if the rain came on,
he would creep into his majesty's waistcoat pocket,
where he slept till the rain was over.

One day the king asked Tom about his parents : he
said both his father and mother were tall. The king
told him to take as much money as he could carry
home. Tom got a purse, made of a water bubble, and
received a threepenny piece to put into it. He had
hard work to lift it on his back j and set forward on
his journey.

Tom's parents were glad to see him ; but he was so
tired with carrying his threepenny piece, that his
mother put him into a wullnut shell by the fireside,
and gave him a hazel-nut to eat, which made him
sick. Tom soon got better. And one day, when the
wind blew towards the king's court, his mother made a

parasol of tissue paper, tied him to it, and puffed him
into the air, which carried him to the king's palace,
just at the time the cook was passing the court-yard
\vith a bowl of furmenty for the king, into which Tom
fell, splashing it in the cook's face. She told the king
that he had jumped into it out of mere mischief; on
which his majesty ordered him to be tried for high

treason, and he was condemned to be beheaded. On
hearing this Tom trembled ; but seeing a miller near
him with his mouth wide open, he jumped down his
throat, and the miller went home to his mill. Tom

began to tumble and roll about so in the miller's belly,
that he sent for a doctor ; and while the doctor was
there the miller yawned, and Tom leaped out on to
the table. The miller in a rage opened the window
and threw him out into the river, and a fish snapped
him up in a moment.

The fish was caught and sold to a nobleman, who
made a present of it to the king. When the cook
dressed the fish she found poor Tom ; on which his
majesty ordered him to be kept in custody till wanted.

The cook put him into a mouse trap, and left him
to peep through the wires. Tom had been in the trap

a week before he was sent for by the king, who pardon
ed him, and again took him into his favour, ordered
him a new suit of clothes, and made him a Knight :

Of butterfly's wings his shirt was made,

His boots of chicken's hide ;
And by a nimble fairy blade,
Well learned in the tailoring trade,

His clothing was supplied.
A needle dangled by his side ;
A dapper mouse he used to ride :
Thus strutted Tom in stately pride !

It was certainly very diverting to see Tom in his
new dress, and mounted on a mouse, as he rode out a
hunting with the king and noblemen, who were all
ready to die with laughter at Tom and his fine pranc-
ing charger.

One day, as they were riding by a farm house, a
large tom-cat, which was at the door, made a spring,
and seized both Tom and his mouse. He ran up- a
tree with them, and was beginning to devour the
mouse ; but Tom boldly drew his sword, and attacked


the cat so fiercely that he let them both fall, when one
of the nohles caught him in his hat and laid him on a
hed of down, in a little ivory cabinet.

The Queen of the Fairies soon after came to pay
Tom a visit ; and King Thunstone, Arthur's successor,
also came to see him. The king asked him who he
was, and where he lived, he answered,

My name is Tom Thumb, from the faires I've come ;
When King Arthur shone this Court was my home ;
In me he delighted by him I was knighted :
Did you ever hear of Sir Tom Thumb.

The king was so charmed with Tom's address, that
he ordered a gold palace to be made for him to live in,
with a door to it an inch wide. The queen was so
enraged at this, that she determined to ruin him, and
she told the king that he had been saucy to her.

Tom, afraid of the king's anger, crept into an empty
snail shell. At last he ventured to peep out, and see-
ing a large butterfly-on the ground, jumped astride on
it. The butterfly flew \\-jth him from tree to tree, and


from field to field, and at last returned with him to
the palace, where the kirjg and nobility strove to catch
him. At last poor Tom fell from his seat into a water-
ing pot, in which he was nearly drowned.

The king received Tom again into favour, which he
did not live to enjoy ; for a large spider one day at-
tacked him, and although he drew his sword and fought
well, yet the spider's poisonous breath overcame him.

He fell down on the ground where he stood,
And the spider suck 'd ev'ry drop of his blood.

The King and the whole court went into mourning}
for him, and raised a line white marble monumen
over his grave, with the following epitaph inscribed
upon it :

Here lies Tom Thunb, King Arthur's Knight.

Who died by a spider's cruel bite.

He was well known in Arthur's court,

Where once he afforded gallant sport ;

He rode a tilt and tournament,

And on a mouse a hunting went.

Alive, he fill'd the court with mirth ;

His death to sorrow soon gave birth.

Wipe, wipe your eyes, and shake your head,

and cry, Alas ! Tom Thumb is dead !


Online LibraryHenry A. (Henry Alfred) GardnerThe history of Tom Thumb → online text (page 1 of 1)