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English Moral Story For Kids : Tom Thumb

English Fairy Tales - Tom Thumb is a character of English folklore. The History of Tom Thumb was published in 1621, and was the first fairy tale printed in English. Tom is no bigger than his father's thumb, and his adventures include being swallowed by a cow, tangling with giants, and becoming a favourite of King Arthur. The earliest allusions to Tom occur in various 16th-century works such as Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), where Tom is cited as one of the supernatural folk employed by servant maids to frighten children. Tattershall in Lincolnshire, England, reputedly has the home and grave of Tom Thumb.

The History of Tom Thumb

The History of Tom Thumb,English Fairy Tales,English Moral Story For Kids
Illustration by Scott Gustafson
It is said that in the days of the famed Prince Arthur, that had been king of Britain, in the year 516, there dwelt a wonderful magician, called Merlin, the most learned and skilful enchanter on earth at that time.

This great magician, who could assume any form he pleased, was travelling in the disguise of a poor beggar, and being very much exhausted, he stopped in the cabin of an honest ploughman to break himself, and inquired for some refreshment.

The countryman gave him a hearty welcome, along with his wife, who was a really good-hearted, hospital woman, soon brought him some milk in a wooden bowl, a coarse brown bread on a platter.

Read to : The Horned Woman

Merlin was much pleased with this particular repast and the kindness of the ploughman and his spouse; but he couldn't help seeing that though everything was neat and comfortable in the cabin, they appeared both be gloomy and much cast down. He therefore questioned them about the origin of their despair, and learned they were miserable because they had no kids.

The bad woman declared, with tears in her eyes, that she should be the happiest creature in the world if she had a son; and even though he was no bigger than her husband's thumb, she would be fulfilled.

Merlin was so much amused with the idea of a boy no bigger than a man's thumb, that he made up his mind to pay a visit to the queen of the fairies, and ask her to give the poor woman's wish. The droll fancy of such a tiny person one of the individual race delighted the fairy queen also, greatly, and she guaranteed Merlin that the desire should be granted. Accordingly, a short time afterwards, the ploughman's wife had a boy, who, wonderful to relate! Was not bigger than his father's thumb.

The fairy queen, wanting to see the little fellow thus born into the world, arrived in at the window while the mom was sitting up in bed admiring him. The queen kissed the child, and, giving it the title of Tom Thumb, delivered for some of the fairies, who dressed her small favorite as she bade them.

It's remarkable that Tom never grew any larger than his father's thumb, which was just of an ordinary size; but as he got older he became quite cunning and full of tricks. When he was old enough to perform with the boys, and had lost all his own cherry-stones, he used to creep into the bags of his playfellows, fill his pockets, and, getting out hidden, would again combine in the game.

1 afternoon, however, as he had been coming out of a bag of cherrystones, at which he was pilfering as normal, the boy to whom it belonged chanced to see him. "Ah, ha! My little Tommy," said the boy, "so I have caught you stealing my cherrystones at last, and you shall be rewarded for your thievish tricks." On saying this, he drew the string tight around his neck, and gave the bag such a hearty shake, which poor little Tom's legs, thighs, and torso were sadly bruised. He roared out in pain, and begged to be let out, promising to not be guilty of such bad practices again.

A short time afterwards his mother was creating a batter-pudding, and Tom being quite anxious to see how it was made, climbed up into the edge of the bowl; but unfortunately his foot slipped and he plumped over head and ears to the batter, hidden by his mom, who pitched him into the pudding-bag, and place him in the kettle to boil.

The batter had filled Tom's mouth, and prevented him from crying; however, on feeling the hot water, he kicked and struggled so much in the kettle, that his mother thought that the pudding was bewitched, and, immediately pulling it out of the kettle, she drove it into the doorway. A poor tinker, who was passing by, lifted up the pudding, and, placing it into his finances, he then walked off. Since Tom had now got his mouth cleared of this batter, he then began to shout, which so terrified that the tinker that he flung the pudding down and ran away. The pudding being spilled into pieces by the fall, Tom crept out coated over with all the batter, and with difficulty walked home. His mom, who had been really sorry to see his darling in this woeful state, place him into a tea-cup, and soon washed off the batter; after that she kissed him, and put him in bed.

Soon after the adventure of the pudding, Tom's mother went to milk her cow in the meadow, and she took him along with her. As the end was very large, fearing lest he should be blown off, she tied him into a thistle with a piece of fine thread. The cow soon saw the oak-leaf hat, and, enjoying the appearance of it, took poor Tom and the thistle at the same mouthful. While the cow was chewing over the thistle Tom was afraid of her great teeth, which threatened to crush him in pieces, and he roared out as loud as he could:

"Mother, mother!"

"Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?" Said his mother.

"Here, mother," replied he, "in the red cow's mouth."

His mother started to cry and wring her hands; however the cow, surprised at the strange noise in her throat, opened her mouth and let Tom fall out. Luckily his mom caught him in her apron as he was falling to the ground, or he would have been horribly hurt. She subsequently put Tom in her bosom and hurried home with him.

Tom's father made him a whip of barley straw to drive the cattle with, and having one day gone into the fields, he slid a foot and wrapped to the furrow. A raven, which was flying over, picked him up and flew with him to the top of a giant's castle that was close to the beachfront, and there left him.

Tom was in a horrible state, and did not know what to do; however he was soon more horribly frightened; for old Grumbo, the giant, came up to walk on the patio, and visiting Tom, he took him up and swallowed him just like a tablet computer.

The giant had no sooner swallowed Tom than that he began to repent what he'd achieved; for Tom started to kick and jump about so much that he felt quite uncomfortable, and at last threw him up again to the sea. A large fish swallowed Tom the moment he dropped into the sea, which was soon after caught, and purchased for the table of King Arthur. When they started the fish to be able to cook it, every on was astonished at finding such a little boy, and Tom was quite delighted to be outside again. They carried him to the king, who left Tom his stunt, and he soon grew a great favorite at court: for by his tricks and gambols he not only entertained the king and queen, but also all the knights of the Round Table.

It's said that when the kind rode out on horseback he often took Tom along with him, and if a shower came on he used to creep to his majesty's waistcoat pocket, where he slept till the rain was finished.

King Arthur one day asked Tom about his parents, wishing to know if they were as small as he was, and whether rich or poor. Tom told the king that his father and mother were as tall as any of the men about the court, but instead bad. On hearing this the king carried Tom to the treasure, the place where he kept all his money, and advised him to take as much cash as he could take home to his parents, which made the poor little fellow caper with pleasure. Tom went immediately to bring a purse, which was created of a water-bubble, and then returned to the treasury, where he got a silver three-penny-piece to place into it.

Our little hero had any trouble in raising the weight upon his back; but he at last succeeded in getting it placed to his head, and set forward on his journey. But without meeting with any accidents, and after resting himself more than a hundred occasions by the way, in 2 days and two nights he reached his father's house in safety.

Tom had travelled forty-eight hours with a massive silver-piece on his back, and was almost tired to death, when his mother ran out to meet him, and carried him to the home.

Tom's parents were both happy to watch him, and the more so as he'd brought this incredible sum of money with him; but the poor little man was too wearied, having travelled half a mile in forty-eight hours, even with a huge silver three-penny-piece on his back. His mother, so as to recuperate him, placed him in a walnut shell from the fireside, and feasted him for three days on a hazel nut, which left him very sick; to get a whole nut utilized to serve him per month.

Tom was soon well again; however as there was a drop of rain, and the ground was very wet, he couldn't travel back into King Arthur's court; therefore his mother, one day when the wind was blowing in that direction, made a little parasol of cambric newspaper, and linking Tom to it, she gave him a dip into the air with her mouth, which soon carried him into the king's palace.

Just at the time when Tom came flying round the courtyard, the cook happened to be passing with all the king's amazing bowl of furmenty, which had been a dish his majesty was very fond of; however sadly the poor little fellow fell plump into the middle of it, and splashed the hot furmenty concerning the cook's face.

The cook, who had been an ill-natured fellow, being at a terrible anger in Tom for terrifying and scalding him using the furmenty, went right to the king, and said that Tom had jumped into the royal furmenty, and thrown it down out of mere mischief. The king was so enraged when he heard this, that he ordered Tom to be captured and tried for high treason; and there being no person who dared to plead for him, he was condemned to be beheaded immediately.

On hearing this dreadful sentence pronounced, poor Tom fell a-trembling with dread, however, seeing no way of escape, and celebrating a miller close to him gaping along with his great mouth, as state boobies do at a far, he took a jump, and fairly jumped down his throat. This exploit was done with this kind of action that not one person present saw it, and even the miller did not understand the trick that Tom had played upon him. As Tom had vanished, the court broke up, and the miller went home to his mill.

When Tom discovered the mill at work he understood he was clear of the courtroom, and so he started to tumble and roll about, so that the poor miller would get no rest, thinking he was bewitched; so he sent for a doctor. When the doctor arrived, Tom started to dance and sing; and the physician, being as much scared as the miller, sent in haste for five other doctors and twenty learned men.

When they had been debating about this extraordinary instance, the miller happened to yawn, when Tom, seizing the chance, made another jump, and alighted firmly upon his toes in the center of the table.

The miller, who had been very much provoked at being tormented by such a little pygmy creature, fell into a terrible rage, and, laying hold of Tom, ran to the king together; however his majesty, being engaged with state affairs, ordered him to be taken away and kept in custody until he sent to him.

The cook was determined that Tom shouldn't slide from his hands this time, so he put him to some mouse-trap, and left him to peep through the wires. Tom had remained in the trap an entire week, when he had been sent for by King Arthur, who pardoned him for throwing down the furmenty, and took him again into favor. On account of the wonderful feats of action, Tom was knighted by the king, and went under the title of the renowned Sir Thomas Thumb. Since Tom's garments had endured much from the batter-pudding, the furmenty, and the insides of the giant, miller, and fishes, his majesty ordered him a new suit of clothes, and to be mounted as a knight.

It was certainly very diverting to see Tom in this dress, and mounted onto the mouse, even as he rode out a-hunting with the king and nobility, who had been all ready to perish with laughter at Tom and his fine prancing charger.

1 afternoon, as they were riding with a farmhouse, a large cat, that was lurking about the door, made a spring, and seized both Tom and his mouse. She then ran up a tree with them, and was starting to devour the mouse; however, Tom boldly drew his sword, and attacked the kitty so fiercely that she let them both fall, when one of the nobles captured him in his hat, and laid him on a bed of down, at a little ivory cabinet.

The queen of fairies came shortly after to cover Tom a trip, and hauled him back into Fairy-land, where he lived several decades. During his house, King Arthur, and all the men who knew Tom, had expired; and as he was desirous of becoming again in court, the fairy queen, after dressing him in a suit of clothing, sent him flying through the air to the palace, in the days of king Thunstone, the successor of Arthur. Every one flocked round to see him, and being transported to the king, he was asked who he was--whence he came--and where he dwelt? Tom answered:

"My name is Tom Thumb, From the fairies I've come. When King Arthur shone, His court was my home. In me he delighted, By him I was knighted; Did you never hear of Sir Thomas Thumb?"

The king was so charmed with this address that he ordered a little chair to be made, in order that Tom might sit upon his table, and also a palace of gold, a span high, with a door an inch wide, to live in.

The queen was so enraged at the honour paid to Sir Thomas that she resolved to ruin him, and told the king that the little knight was saucy to her.

The king sent for Tom in great hurry, but being fully aware of the danger of royal anger, he crept into a vacant snail-shell, where he lay for a long time, until he was nearly starved with hunger; but at last he ventured to peep out, and seeing a fine large butterfly on the floor, close to his hiding-place, he approached very carefully, and becoming himself placed astride on it, was instantly carried up into the air. The butterfly flew with him from tree to tree and from field to field, and at last returned into the court, in which the king and nobility all strove to catch him; but at last poor Tom fell from his chair into a watering-pot, in which he was nearly drowned.

Read to : The Cottager And His Cat

When the queen saw him she was in a rage, and said he should be beheaded; and he was again put to a mouse-trap until the period of his execution.

But a kitty, observing something residing in the snare, patted it around till the cables broke, and set Thomas at liberty.

The king received Tom again into favor, which he didn't live to enjoy, to get a big spider one day attacked him; and although he drew his sword and fought well, yet the spider's poisonous breath at last overcame him;

"He fell dead on the ground where he stood, and the spider suck'd every drop of his blood."

King Thunstone and his whole court were so sorry at the loss of the small favorite, that they went to mourning, and raised a fine white marble monument over his grave, with the following epitaph:

He was well known in Arthur's court, Where he afforded gallant sport; He rode at tilt and tournament, And on a mouse a-hunting went. Alive he filled the court with mirth; His death to sorrow soon gave birth. Tom Thumb is dead!"


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