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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

He forgave him for throwing down the firmity


His mother met him at the door, almost tired to death, having in forty-eight hours travelled almost half a mile with a huge silver threepence upon his back. His parents were glad to see him, especially when he had brought such an amazing sum of money with him. They placed him in a walnut shell by the fire side, and feasted him for three days upon a hazel nut, which made him sick, for a whole nut usually served him a month. Tom got well, but could not travel because it had rained; therefore his mother took him in her hand, and with one puff blew him into King Arthur's court; where Tom entertained the king, queen, and nobility at tilts and tournaments, at which he exerted himself so much that he brought on a fit of sickness, and his life was despaired of. At this juncture the queen of the fairies came in a chariot drawn by flying mice, placed Tom by her side, and drove through the air, without stopping till they arrived at her palace; when, after restoring him to health, and permitting him to enjoy all the gay diversions of Fairy Land, the queen commanded a fair wind, and, placing Tom before it, blew him straight to the court of King Arthur. But just as Tom should have alighted in the court-yard of the palace, the cook happened to pass along with the king's great bowl of firmity (King Arthur loved firmity), and poor Tom Thumb fell plump into the middle of it and splashed the hot firmity into the cook's eyes. Down went the bowl. "Oh dear; oh dear!" cried Tom; "Murder! murder!" bellowed the cook! and away ran the king's nice firmity into the kennel. The cook was a red-faced, cross fellow, and swore to the king, that Tom had done it out of mere mischief; so he was taken up, tried, and sentenced to be beheaded. Tom hearing 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, unperceived by all, even by the miller himself.

Tom being lost, the court broke up, and away went the miller to his mill. But Tom did not leave him long at rest, he began to roll and tumble about, so that the miller thought himself bewitched, and sent for a doctor. When the doctor came, Tom began to dance and sing; the doctor was as much frightened as the miller, and sent in great haste for five more doctors, and twenty learned men. While all these were debating upon the affair, the miller (for they were very tedious) happened to yawn, and Tom, taking the opportunity, made another jump, and alighted on his feet in the middle of the table. The miller, provoked to be thus tormented by such a little creature, fell into a great passion, caught hold of Tom, and threw him out of the window, into the river. A large salmon swimming by, snapped him up in a minute. The salmon was soon caught and sold in the market to the steward of a lord. The lord, thinking it an uncommon fine fish, made a present of it to the king, who ordered it to be dressed immediately. When the cook cut open the salmon, he found poor Tom, and ran with him directly to the king; but the king being busy with state affairs, desired that he might be brought another day. The cook resolving to keep him safely this time, as he had so lately given him the slip, clapped him into a mouse-trap, and left him to amuse himself by peeping through the wires for a whole week; when the king sent for him, he forgave him for throwing down the firmity, ordered him new clothes and knighted him.


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