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 The Adventures of Tom Thumb


Once upon a time . . . there lived a giant who had quarreled with a very
greedy wizard over sharing a treasure. After the quarrel, the giant said
menacingly to the wizard:
"I could crush you under my thumb if I wanted to! Now, get out of my
sight!" The wizard hurried away, but from a safe distance, he hurled his
terrible revenge.
"Abracadabra! Here I cast this spell! May the son, your wife will shortly
give you, never grow any taller than my own thumb!"
After Tom Thumb was born, his parents were at their wits' end. They could
never find him, for they could barely see him. They had to speak in whispers
for fear of deafening the little boy. Tom Thumb preferred playing with the
little garden creatures, to the company of parents so different from himself.
He rode piggyback on the snail and danced with the ladybirds. Tiny as he was,
he had great fun in the world of little things.
But one unlucky day, he went to visit a froggy friend. No sooner had he
scrambled onto a leaf than a large pike swallowed him up. But the pike too was
fated to come to a very bad end. A little later, he took the bait cast by one
of the King's fishermen, and before long, found himself under the cook's knife
in the royal kitchens. And great was everyone's surprise when, out of the
fish's stomach, stepped Tom Thumb, quite alive and little the worse for his
"What am I to do with this tiny lad?" said the cook to himself. Then he had
a brainwave. "He can be a royal pageboy! He's so tiny, I can pop him into the
cake I'm making. When he marches across the bridge, sounding the trumpet
everyone will gasp in wonder!" Never had such a marvel been seen at Court. The
guests clapped excitedly at the cook's skill and the King himself clapped
loudest of all. The King rewarded the clever cook with a bag of gold. Tom
Thumb was even luckier. The cook made him a pageboy, and a pageboy he remained,
enjoying all the honours of his post.
He had a white mouse for a mount, a gold pin for a sword and he was allowed
to eat the King's food. In exchange, he marched up and down the table at
banquets. He picked his way amongst the plates and glasses amusing the guests
with his trumpet.
What Tom Thumb didn't know was that he had made an enemy. The cat which,
until Tom's arrival, had been the King's pet, was now forgotten. And, vowing
to have its revenge on the newcomer, it ambushed Tom in the garden. When Tom
saw the cat, he did not run away, as the creature had intended. He whipped out
his gold pin and cried to his white mouse mount:
"Charge! Charge!" Jabbed by the tiny sword, the cat turned tail and fled.
Since brute force was not the way to revenge, the cat decided to use guile.
Casually pretending to bump into the King as he walked down the staircase, the
cat softly miaowed:
"Sire! Be on your guard! A plot is being hatched against your life!" And
then he told a dreadful lie. "Tom Thumb is planning to lace your food with
hemlock. I saw him picking the leaves in the garden the other day. heard him
say these very words!"
Now, the King had once been kept in bed with very bad tummy pains, after
eating too many cherries and he feared the thought of being poisoned, so he
sent for Tom Thumb. The cat provided proof of his words by pulling a hemlock
leaf from under the white mouse's saddle cloth, where he had hidden it
Tom Thumb was so amazed, he was at a loss for words to deny what the cat
had said. The King, without further ado, had him thrown into prison. And since
he was so tiny, they locked him up in a pendulum clock. The hours passed and
the days too. Tom's only pastime was swinging back and forth, clinging to the
pendulum, until the night when he attracted the attention of a big night moth,
fluttering round the room.
"Let me out!" cried Tom Thumb, tapping on the glass. As it so happens, the
moth had only just been set free after being a prisoner in a large box, in
which she had taken a nap. So she took pity on Tom Thumb and released him.
'i'll take you to the Butterfly Kingdom, where everyone's tiny like yourself.
They'll take care of you there!" And that is what happened. To this day, if
you visit the Butterfly Kingdom, you can ask to see the Butterfly monument
that Tom Thumb built after this amazing adventure.

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