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And the man took off his hat and put it on the ground,
when Thumbkin jumped off and hid himself in the crevice of a tree.

When they had finished their supper the men looked about to find
Thumbkin, but he was not there. And after a while they had to give up
the search and go away without him.

When they had gone three robbers came and sat down near the tree where
Thumbkin was and began to speak of their plans to rob the Squire's
house.

"The only way," said one, "would be to break down the door of the
pantry which they always lock at night."

"But," said another, "that'll make so much noise it will wake up the
whole house."

"Then one of us," said the first robber, "will have to creep in
through the window and unlock the door."

"But the window is too small," said the third robber; "none of us
could get through it."

"But I can," called out Thumbkin.

"What is that? Who was that?" called out the robbers, who commenced
thinking of running away. And then Thumbkin called out again:

"Do not be afraid, I'll not hurt you, and I can help you get into the
Squire's pantry."

Then he came out of the hole in the tree, and the robbers were
surprised to see how small he was. So they took him up with them to
the Squire's house, and when they got there they lifted him up and put
him through the window and told him to look out for the silver.

"I've found it! I've found it!" he called out at the top of his shrill
voice.

"Not so loud; not so loud," said they.

"What shall I hand out first, the spoons or the ladles?" he shouted
out again.

But this time the butler heard him and came down with his blunderbuss,
and the robbers ran off. So when the butler opened the door Thumbkin
crept out and went to the stable, and laid down to sleep in a nice
cozy bed of hay in the manger.

But in the morning the cows came into the stable, and one of them
walked up to the manger. And what do you think she did? She swallowed
the hay with little Thumbkin in it, and took him right down into her
tummy.

Shortly afterwards the cows were driven out to the milking place, and
the milkmaid commenced to milk the cow which had swallowed Thumbkin.
And when he heard the milk rattling into the pail he called out:

"Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

The milkmaid was so startled to hear a voice coming from the cow that
she upset the milking pail and rushed to her master, and said:

"The cow's bewitched! The cow's bewitched! She's talking through her
tummy."

The farmer came and looked at the cow, and when he heard Thumbkin
speaking out of her tummy he thought the milkmaid was quite right, and
gave orders for the cow to be slaughtered.

And when she was cut up by the butcher he didn't want the paunch--that
is the stomach--so he threw it out into the yard. And a wolf coming by
swallowed the paunch and Thumbkin with it.

When he found himself again in the wolf's stomach he called out as
before:

"Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

But the wolf said to him:

"What'll you do for me if I let you out?"

"I know a place where you can get as many chickens as you like, and if
you let me out I'll show you the way."

"No, no, my fine master," said the wolf; "you can tell me where it is,
and if I find you are right then I'll let you out."

So Thumbkin told him a way to his father's farm, and guided him to a
hole in the larder just big enough for the wolf to get through. When
he got through there were two fine fat ducks and a noble goose hung up
ready for the Sunday dinner. So Mr. Wolf set to work and ate the ducks
and the goose while Thumbkin kept calling out:

"Don't want any duck or geese. Let me out! Let me out!"

And when the wolf would not he called out:

"Father! Father! Mother! Mother!"

And his father and mother heard him, and they came rushing towards the
larder. Then the wolf tried to get through the hole he had come
through before, but he had eaten so much that he stuck there, and the
farmer and his wife came up and killed him.

Then they began to cut the wolf open and Thumbkin called out:

"Be careful! Be careful! I'm here, and you'll cut me up." And he had
to dodge the knife as it was coming through the wolf.

But at last the paunch of the wolf was slit open, and Thumbkin jumped
out and went to his mother. And she cleansed him and dressed him in
new clothes, and they sat down to supper as happy as could be.




[Illustration:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"]

SNOWWHITE


There was once a queen who had no children, and it grieved her sorely.
One winter's afternoon she was sitting by the window sewing when she
pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell on the snow. Then
she thought to herself:

"Ah, what would I give to have a daughter with skin as white as snow
and cheeks as red as blood."

After a while a little daughter came to her with skin as white as
snow and cheeks as red as blood. So they called her Snowwhite.

But before Snowwhite had grown up, her mother, the Queen, died and her
father married again, a most beautiful princess who was very vain of
her beauty and jealous of all women who might be thought as beautiful
as she was. And every morning she used to stand before her mirror and
say:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the mirror always used to reply:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
The greatest beauty is thine own."

But Snowwhite grew fairer and fairer every year, till at last one day
when the Queen in the morning spoke to her mirror and said:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

the mirror replied:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

Then the Queen grew terribly jealous of Snowwhite and thought and
thought how she could get rid of her, till at last she went to a
hunter and engaged him for a large sum of money to take Snowwhite out
into the forest and there kill her and bring back her heart.

But when the hunter had taken Snowwhite out into the forest and
thought to kill her, she was so beautiful that his heart failed him,
and he let her go, telling her she must not, for his sake and for her
own, return to the King's palace. Then he killed a deer and took back
the heart to the Queen, telling her that it was the heart of
Snowwhite.

Snowwhite wandered on and on till she got through the forest and came
to a mountain hut and knocked at the door, but she got no reply. She
was so tired that she lifted up the latch and walked in, and there she
saw three little beds and three little chairs and three little
cupboards all ready for use. And she went up to the first bed and lay
down upon it, but it was so hard that she couldn't rest; and then she
went up to the second bed and lay down upon that, but that was so soft
that she got too hot and couldn't go to sleep. So she tried the third
bed, but that was neither too hard nor too soft, but suited her
exactly; and she fell asleep there.

In the evening the owners of the hut, who were three little dwarfs who
earned their living by digging coal in the hills, came back to their
home. And when they came in, after they had washed themselves, they
went to their beds, and the first of them said:

"Somebody has been sleeping in my bed!"

And then the second one said:

"And somebody's been sleeping in my bed!"

And the third one called out in a shrill voice, for he was so excited:

"Somebody is sleeping in my bed, just look how beautiful she is!"

So they waited till she woke up, and asked her how she had come there,
and she told them all that the hunter had said to her about the Queen
wanting to slay her.

Then the dwarfs asked her if she would be willing to stop with them
and keep house for them; and she said that she would be delighted.

Next morning the Queen went up as usual to her mirror, and called out:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the mirror answered as usual:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

And the Queen knew that Snowwhite had not been slain. So she sent for
the hunter and made him confess that he had let Snowwhite go; and she
made him search about beyond the forest, till at last he brought back
word to her that Snowwhite was dwelling in a little hut on the hill
with some coal-miners.

Then the Queen dressed herself up like an old woman, and, taking a
poisoned comb with her, went back the next day to the hut where
Snowwhite was living. Now the dwarfs had warned her not to open the
door to anybody lest evil might befall her; and she found it very
lonesome keeping always within doors.

When the Queen, disguised as an old woman, came to the door of the
house she knocked upon it with her stick, but Snowwhite called out
from within:

"Who is there? Go away! I must not let anybody come in."

"All right," answered the Queen. "If you can come to the window we can
have a little chat there, and I can show you my wares."

So when Snowwhite came to the window the Queen said:

"Oh, what beautiful black hair; you ought to have a comb to bind it
up;" and she showed her the comb that she had brought with her.

But Snowwhite said:

"I have no money and cannot afford to buy so fine a comb."

Then the Queen said:

"That is no matter; perhaps you have something golden that you can
give me in exchange."

And Snowwhite thought of a golden ring that her father had given to
her, and offered to give it for the comb. The Queen took it and gave
Snowwhite the comb and bade her good-bye, and went back to the palace.

Snowwhite lost no time in going to the mirror, and binding up her hair
and putting the comb into it. But it had scarcely been in her hair a
few minutes when she fell down as if she were dead, and all the blood
left her cheeks, and she was Snowwhite indeed.

When the dwarfs came home that evening they were surprised to find
that the table was not spread for them, and looking about they soon
found Snowwhite lying upon the ground as if she were dead.



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