GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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LITTLE THUMB.                      169
The parents brought up the child very carefully. They fed him on the most nourishing food, and spared no care and attention. Yet he did not increase in size, but remained always as small as on the day of his birth. But intellect shone from his eyes, and he soon showed by his cleverness and ability that he would succeed in whatever he undertook, notwithstanding his small size.
One day when his father was getting ready to go to the forest, and cut down some trees, he said aloud to himself, " I wish I had some one who could drive the cart, for I want to go on first by myself." ." Oh, father! cried Little Thumb, I can do that easily. Leave the cart with me. I will take care to be in good time." " Oh, yes," replied the father, laughing ; "it is very likely I should trust you to drive. Why, you are much too little even to lead the horse by the bridle." " Never mind how small I am," said the boy ; " only you go as soon as you like, and, if mother will harness the horse, I will seat myself on his ear, and tell him which way to go." " Well," replied his father, "I'll try for once what you can do." So he went off to the forest, and when the hour to start arrived, the mother harnessed the horse in the cart, and seated Little Thumb on his ear.
" Gee up," shouted the little one into the ear, and the horse went on immediately.
And so he kept on, using the right words when he wanted the horse to turn to the right or the left, and crying out, " Gee, woa," so cleverly that the cart reached the wood as safely as- if his master had driven him. Just as the horse and cart were turning into a path through the forest, two strange men came by. They stood still in astonishment, for they heard the voice of the driver, and saw the horse take the right turning, but no one was visible. " Hallo," cried one, " there is something queer about this. Let us follow, and see where the cart stops."
So they turned, and went after the cart till it came to the place where several trees had been cut down, and there it stopped.
As soon as Little Thumb saw his father, he cried out, "See, father, I have brought the horse and cart Can't I drive well ? and now, please, lift me down." The father held the horse by the bridle with one hand, and, lifting his little son from the horse's ear with the other, placed him on the ground. In a few moments