by L. Leslie Brooke
Leonard Leslie Brooke (1862-1940) was a British artist and writer. First and foremost he was a skilled and witty illustrator who would adapt well-known children’s stories and illustrate them with engaging line drawings and watercolors. (See the Wikipedia article “Leonard Leslie Brooke” for more info.
“Tom Thumb” is one of the oldest English folktales and was originally published in 1621. L. Leslie Brooke’s adaption removed some of the original vulgarities and made it more appropriate for children. This myRead production is solely based upon the public domain original.
A young couple wish for a child, no matter the size. They ask the magician Merlin to help them out, and at last they are given a son who is the size of a thumb! Tom Thumb may be small but his adventures are larger than life, and his poor parents are always losing him. Tom finds his way into King Arthur’s court and becomes well known for his acts of chivalry.
Long ago, in the merry days of good King Arthur, there lived a ploughman and his wife. They were very poor, but would have been contented and happy if only they could have had a little child. One day, having heard of the great fame of the magician Merlin, who was living at the Court of King Arthur, the wife persuaded her husband to go and tell him of their trouble.
Merlin determined to grant the request, and what was the countryman’s astonishment to find when he reached home that his wife had a son, who, wonderful to relate, was no bigger than his father’s thumb! The parents were now very happy, and the christening of the little fellow took place with great ceremony.
His hat was made of a beautiful oak leaf, his shirt of a fine spider’s web, and his hose and doublet were of thistledown, his stockings were made with the rind of a delicate green apple, and the garters were two of the finest little hairs imaginable, plucked from his mother’s eyebrows, while his shoes were made of the skin of a little mouse. When he was thus dressed, the Fairy Queen kissed him once more, and, wishing him all good luck, flew off with the fairies to her Court.
As Tom grew older, he became very amusing and full of tricks, so that his mother was afraid to let him out of her sight. One day, while she was making a batter pudding, Tom stood on the edge of the bowl, with a lighted candle in his hand, so that she might see that the pudding was made properly.
Unfortunately, however, when her back was turned, Tom fell into the bowl, and his mother, not missing him, stirred him up in the pudding, tied it in a cloth, and put it into the pot. The batter filled Tom’s mouth, and prevented him from calling out, but he had no sooner felt the hot water, than he kicked and struggled so much that the pudding jumped about in the pot, and his mother, thinking the pudding was bewitched, was nearly frightened out of her wits.
But his pleasure did not last long, for, as he was getting over a stile, he happened to sneeze very hard, and Tom, who had been quite quiet inside the pudding for some time, called out at the top of his little voice, “Hallo, Pickens!” This so terrified the tinker that he flung away the pudding, and ran off as fast as he could.
The pudding was all broken to pieces by the fall, and Tom crept out, covered with batter, and ran home to his mother, who had been looking everywhere for him, and was delighted to see him again. She gave him a bath in a cup, which soon washed off all the pudding, and he was none the worse for his adventure.
Long time he lived in jollity, beloved of the Court, and none like Tom was so esteemed amongst the better sort. The Queen was delighted with the little boy, and made him dance a galliard on her left hand. He danced so well that King Arthur gave him a ring, which he wore round his waist like a girdle.
Tom soon began to long to see his parents again, and begged the King to allow him to go home for a short time. This was readily permitted, and the King told him he might take with him as much money as he could carry. And so away goes lusty Tom, with three pence at his back – a heavy burthen which did make his very bones to crack. He had to rest more than a hundred times by the way, but, after two days and two nights, he reached his father’s house in safety.
Shortly after his return, he one day displeased the King, so, fearing the royal anger, he crept into an empty flower-pot, where he lay for a long time. At last he ventured to peep out, and, seeing a fine large butterfly on the ground close by, he stole out of his hiding-place, jumped on its back, and was carried up into the air.
The King and nobles all strove to catch him, but at last poor Tom fell from his seat into a watering-pot, in which he was almost drowned, only luckily the gardener’s child saw him, and pulled him out. The King was so pleased to have him safe once more that he forgot to scold him, and made much of him instead.
Tom afterwards lived many years at Court, one of the best beloved of King Arthur’s knights. Thus he at tilt and tournament was entertained so, that all the rest of Arthur’s knights did him much pleasure show. With good Sir Launcelot du Lake, Sir Tristram and Sir Guy, yet none compared to brave Tom Thumb in acts of chivalry.
- Author: L. Leslie Brooke
- Illustrator: Kelly Weeren
- Animator: Tyson Benard
- Voice Artist: Chris Clark
- Sound Design: John Goodman
- Producer: David Swanson
- Executive Producer: Richard Platt
- Director: David Swanson
This book is a production of myRead, Inc. All rights reserved. Illustrations, video and audio Copyright 2012. Text for this book is in the public domain.
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