The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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hung it up under a clover-leaf, so that she was protected from the rain; she gathered honey from the flowers for food, and drank the dew on the leaves every morning. Thus the summer and autumn passed, but then came winter—the long, cold winter. All the birds who had sung so sweetly about her had flown away; the trees shed their leaves, the flowers died ; the great clover-leaf under which she had lived curled up, and nothing remained of it but the withered stalk. She was terribly cold, for her clothes were ragged, and she herself was so small and thin. Poor little Thunibelina ! she would surely be frozen to death. It began to snow, and every snow-flake that fell on her was to her as a whole shovelful thrown on one of us, for we are so big, and she was only an inch high. She wrapt herself round in a dead leaf, but it was torn in the middle and gave her no warmth ; she was trembling with cold.
Just outside the wood where she was now living lay a great corn-field. But the corn had been gone a long time; only the dry, bare stubble was left standing in the frozen ground. This made a forest for her to wander about in. All at once she came across the door of a field-mouse, who had a little hole under a corn-stalk. There the mouse lived warm and snug, with a store-room full of corn, a splendid kitchen and dinipg-room. Poor little Thumbelina went up to the door and begged for a little piece of barley, for she had not had anything to eat for the last two days.
' Poor little creature ! ' said the field-mouse, for she was a kind-hearted old thing at the bottom. ( Come into my warm room and have some dinner with me.'
As Thumbelina pleased her, she said : ; As far as I am concerned you may spend the winter with me; but you must keep my room clean and tidy, and tell me stories, for I like that very much.'
And Thumbelina did all that the kind old field-mouse asked, and did it remarkably well too.
'Now I am expecting a visitor,' said the field-mouse ; ' my neighbour comes to call on me once a week. He is in better cir­cumstances than I am, has great, big rooms, and wears a fine black-velvet coat. If you could only marry him, you would be well provided for. Put he is blind. You must tell him all the prettiest stories you know.'
But Thumbclina did not trouble her head about him, for he was only a mole. He came and paid them a visit In his black-velvet coat.
' lie is so rich and so accomplished,'the field-mouse told her.
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