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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

While the cow chewed the thistle


"An oak leaf hat he had for his crown, His shirt it was by spiders spun; With doublet wove of thistle's down, His trousers up with points were done. His stockings, of apple rind, they tie With eye-lash plucked from his mother's eye, His shoes were made of a mouse's skin, Nicely tanned, with the hair within."

Tom never was any bigger than his father's thumb, which was not a large thumb either; but, as he grew older, he became very cunning and sly, for which his mother did not sufficiently correct him, so that when he was able to play with the boys for cherry stones, and had lost all his own, he used to creep into the 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 to whom it belonged chanced to see him. "Ah ha, my little Tom Thumb!" said the boy, "have I caught you at your bad tricks at last? Now I will reward you for thieving." Then drawing the string tight round his neck, and shaking the bag heartily, the cherry stones bruised Tom's legs, thighs, and body sadly; which made him beg to be let out, and promise never to be guilty of such things any more. Shortly afterwards, Tom's mother was making a batter pudding, and, that he might see how she mixed it, he climbed on the edge of the bowl; but his foot happening to slip, he fell over head and ears into the batter, and his mother not observing him, stirred him into the pudding, and popped him into

the pot to boil. The hot water made Tom kick and struggle; and his mother, seeing the pudding jump up and down in such a furious manner, thought it was bewitched; and a tinker coming by just at the time, she quickly gave him the pudding, who put it into his budget and walked on.

As soon as Tom could get the batter out of his mouth, he began to cry aloud; which so frightened the poor tinker, that he flung the pudding over the hedge, and ran away from it as fast as he could run. The pudding being broken to pieces by the fall, Tom was released, and walked home to his mother, who gave him a kiss and put him to bed. Tom Thumb's mother once took him with her when she went to milk the cow; and it being a very windy day, she tied him with a needleful of thread to a thistle, that he might not be blown away. The cow liking his oak leaf hat took him and the thistle up at one mouthful. While the cow chewed the thistle, Tom, terrified at her great teeth, which seemed ready to crush him to pieces, roared, "Mother, Mother!" as loud as he could bawl. "Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?" said the mother. "Here, mother, here in the red cow's mouth." The mother began to cry and wring her hands; but the cow surprised at such odd noises in her throat, opened her mouth and let him drop out. His mother clapped him into her apron, and ran home with him. Tom's father made him a whip of a barley straw to drive the cattle with, and being one day in the field, he slipped into a deep furrow. A raven flying over, 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, swallowed Tom like a pill, clothes and all. Tom presently made the giant very uncomfortable, and he threw him up into the sea. A great fish then swallowed him. The fish was soon after caught, and sent as a present to King Arthur. When it was cut open, every body was delighted with little Tom Thumb. The king made him his dwarf; he was the favourite of the whole court; and, by his merry pranks, often amused the queen and the knights of the Round Table. The king, when he rode on horseback, frequently took Tom in his hand; and, if a shower of rain came on, he used to creep into the king's waist-coat pocket, and sleep till the rain was over. The king also, sometimes questioned Tom concerning his parents; and when Tom informed his majesty they were very poor people, the king led him into his treasury, and told him he should pay his friends a visit, and take with him as much money as he could carry. Tom procured a little purse, and putting a threepenny piece into it, with much labour and difficulty got it upon his back; and, after travelling two days and nights, arrived at his father's house.


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