There lived a poor peasant with his wife in a small town. They were not having children for a long time. After many years, his wife gave birth to a tiny child. He was as tall as a thumb. So they named him Tom Thumb. Years passed after his birth, but Tom Thumb did not grow any larger. He had very intelligent eyes. Both his parents loved him very much.
One day, the peasant was to go to the forest to cut wood. He said to his wife “I wish I had someone to bring the horse-cart to the forest after I had cut wood.”
“Dear, father!” said Tom Thumb “Don’t worry about the cart! You go on and cut wood. I will bring the cart for you in the afternoon!”
The peasant laughed and said “My little boy! You are so tiny; you cannot even hold the reins. How can you think of bringing the cart to the forest?”
“Have faith in me, father. Give me a chance and I will prove myself Tom Thumb said confidently.
The peasant agreed to Tom’s request and went to the forest. In the afternoon, Tom said to his mother “Mother, harness the horse to the cart and place me in its ear. I will manage after that”.
“But, Tom, which is dangerous,” said his mother.
“Oh, mother, Trust me, I can manage everything. Please do as I say, for father will be waiting for me!” said Tom.
His mother did as he said and after harnessing the horse, she placed Tom in its ear.
“Whoa, Whoa!” shouted Tom, like an expert carter. Soon, the horse began walking in the right direction. Tom directed the horse correctly. As the cart was moving along the road, two strangers sitting on the sidewalk were amazed to see that the cart was moving without any carter. They could not see Tom Thumb and thought the cart to be moving by itself.
“Did you see that?” said one of the strangers to the other “That cart is going by itself.
Just then, Tom shouted “Whoa, Whoa!” The strangers could not see Tom but they heard his voice. They were curious to know what is happening.
“Let us follow the cart and find out the secret about it!” they said and followed the cart at a distance. But Tom was unaware of the two strangers following him. He kept on driving the horse till it came to the place where his father had cut a lot of wood and was waiting for the arrival of the cart.
“Father!” shouted Tom “See for yourself. I have brought the cart for you”.
“Son, you are amazing!” said his father, as he lifted Tom from the horse’s ear and placed him on the ground. Tom quickly settled down on a blade of straw and watched his father load the wood on the cart.
Meanwhile, the two strangers who had followed Tom saw everything that went on. They could not believe their eyes when they saw Tom Thumb.
“Dear friend!” said one to another “If we can have the little fellow, we can become rich by organizing a show!”
‘You are right!” said the other. “Let us try to buy the little guy from the peasant!”
They approached the peasant and asked him to sell Tom Thumb to them.
“I am sorry, Gentlemen!” said the loving father of Tom. “He is very dear to me and I cannot even dream of losing him for all the gold in the world!”
Tom Thumb took his father aside and told him “Father! The time has come when I can be very useful to you. Sell me to these two men at a good price. Don’t worry about me. I promise you, I will come back to you soon!”
“But Tom. I can’t possibly do that”, argued his father.
“Have faith in me, father. I will not fail you anytime!” insisted Tom.
His father had trust in Tom. So he sold Tom at a good price to the two strangers. The two men were very happy to own Tom. They were very confident that they would make a lot of money. One of them asked Tom: “Where will you sit?”
“Oh, put me on your cap. I can walk along the brim and enjoy the scenery” he replied.
So, one of the men put Tom on his hat and they walked off. They walked till evening. At one place, they stopped to take some rest. Tom Thumb said
“Put me on the ground for some time. I am tired of sitting on your hat. I want to stretch my legs a bit!”
The men set him on the ground. Tom hopped around for some time. Soon he came across a mouse hole. He entered the mouse hole and shouted “Gentlemen! You can go home now! I am not coming with you!”
When the two men heard this, they came running to the mouse-hole and pleaded with Tom to come out. When he refused, they poked sticks in the mouse-hole. But Tom crept further,into the hole. The two frustrated men went away, cursing their bad luck.
Tom waited for some time. When he was convinced that the two men had left for good, he came out of the mouse-hole. He walked about a bit. Then he thought, “It’s dangerous walking along in the dark. Let me find some place for the night”. Luckily, he came across an empty snail shell. He thanked the Lord as he slipped into the shell and went to sleep.
Next day, Tom came out of the shell and walked around for some time. He came across two robbers sitting in a nearby field. They were discussing about how to rob the rich parson of his money and silver.
“Let us go in the darkness and break the lock on his cupboard”. One of them was saying.
“That’s very dangerous. Let us think of something else,” said the other.
“I can help you!” shouted Tom.
The two robbers were startled. They looked about, but they could not see anyone.
‘Who is there? Show yourself. They said.
“I am here. Just look around on the ground, and see where the voice comes from!” suggested Tom.
They could finally locate him. One of them lifted Tom and placing him in his palm, he asked Tom “You little thing. How can you possibly help us rob the rich parson of his money?”
“Listen. I am tiny and quick. I can enter the parson’s room from a window and I can give you whatever valuables I can lay my hands on. Think about it!” said Tom.
“All right!” they agreed. “We will take you to the parson’s house tonight. Let us see what you can do!”
Torn was feeling very hungry. He said “Get me some food then. I am starving!”
One of the men had a slice of bread. He broke a crumb and gave it to Tom. Even the small crumb of bread was plenty for Tom. He ate it and passed his time talking to the two robbers till the evening.
As night fell, the two robbers along with Tom went to the rich parson’s house. On reaching there, Tom entered the house through one of the windows. As soon as he was inside, he shouted with all his might “What do you want? Do you want everything that’s here!”
“Speak softly, little one”, said one of the robbers.
“Tell me now. What do you want?” Tom shouted again.
The robbers were getting scared that Tom’s shouting may wake someone in the house.
“The little guy is trying to tease us!” said one robber to another. They crept near the window and on seeing Tom, they signalled Tom to lower his voice.
“Now, be serious” they said “Hand us something valuable!”
Tom pretended as if he hadn’t heard them. He shouted again “What are you telling? Speak louder!”
By this time, Tom’s shouting wokeup the cook, who came out to see who was making all that noise. The robbers ran away as soon as they saw the cook. They cursed Tom Thumb all the way, as they ran to safety.
The cook could not find anyone and went back to sleep. Tom Thumb searched around for some time. Finally, he found some straw in the barn and slept there.
Next morning, as Tom slept on, the straw on which he was sleeping was picked up by the farm hand who fed it to the cow. Tom woke up only when he was in the cow’s stomach. He did not know where he was.
‘Where am I? How did I come to be in this dark room with no windows?” He mused, “There is no sunshine or candles burning here!”
As the cow ate more and more straw, the stomach was getting filled up more and more, till Tom could not breathe even. He got annoyed and shouted, “Don’t bring me any more hay! Don’t bring me any more hay!”
As soon as the farm hand heard this, he ran to the parson and said “Sir, the cow has spoken to me!”
“Nonsense, let me see for myself” said the parson. When he came near the cow, Tom shouted again “Don’t bring me any more hay!”
The parson decided that the cow had been possessed by an evil spirit and ordered his men to hand it over to the butcher. When the butcher got the cow, he slaughtered it and threw its stomach with Tom inside it in a ditch. Even as Tom was trying to escape from the cow’s stomach, it was swallowed by a great wolf. By now, Tom had realised he was inside a cow’s stomach and an wolf had swallowed it. He said to the wolf:
“Listen I know a place where you can get plenty of food to eat!”
“Tell me where it is?” asked the wolf. Tom guided the wolf to his own house. On reaching the house, Tom said “There is a drain near the kitchen. Enter through the drain and you will reach the kitchen. There you can eat plenty of food!”
The wolf did as Tom had told. Soon, it was in the kitchen. It had plenty of meat and food to eat. After eating, the wolf tried to come out through the drain, but it had grown fat and could not come out of the house. Tom had planned all this very nicely. Once he was sure the wolf could not escape, Tom started shouting and screaming inside the wolfs belly. The wolf pleaded with Tom to keep quiet, but Tom said: “You ate to your heart’s fill. Now, let me enjoy myself!”
Tom kept on shouting and screaming till his father, the peasant woke up. He tame with a large stick and gave a hard blow on the wolfs head. The wolf fell dead.
“Father!” shouted Tom from inside the dead wolfs belly “Cut the wolfs stomach. I am trapped inside its stomach!”
The peasant was delighted to find Tom back. He cut the wolfs stomach and rescued Tom. When he took Tom to his wife, she was also very happy to see Tom.
“Promise me you will never leave us,” she said.
Tom promised and never left the house again. He had enough adventures. He led a peaceful life with his parents.