LITTLE THUMB. 171
tame on, and the men were obliged to go home in a great rage without him and with empty purses.
As soon as Little Thumb knew they were gone, he crept through the underground passages, and got out of his hole; but at first he stood still, and said to himself, "It will not be safe for me to cross the field in the dark, most likely I shall break my limbs or my neck if I do."
All at once he saw an empty snail shell. " Oh, how lucky !" he exclaimed ; " I can spend the night here in comfort."
So he crept in; but just as he was dropping off to sleep, he heard voices and the footsteps of two men who were planning a robbery at the rector's house.
" There is gold and silver in abundance there," said one, " but how are we to get at it?"
" I will tell you," shouted Little Thumb.
"What was that ?" cried one of the thieves, in a fright. "I am certain I heard some one speak."
They stood still to listen, and Little Thumb spoke again. " lake me with you ; I will help you," he said. " Where are you, then ?" asked one.
" Look for me on the ground, where my voice comes from." said he.
On this they began to search, and at last found him, and one of the thieves lifted him up, and said, "You little mite, how can you help us ?"
"Try me," cried Little Thumb. "Why, I can creep between the iron bars of the window into the rector's room, and pass out to you whatever you want."
" Oh, well," they replied, " you are too small to do us any harm, so we will take you with us, and see what you can do."
The thieves did not remember what a loud, shrill voice the little fellow had, so they carried him to the rectory, It did not take him long to creep through the bars into the room, but no sooner was he inside than he cried out as loud as he could, " Will you have everything from the room you can get ?"
" Hush !" cried the thieves, in a fright " Speak lower, you will wake everybody in the house."
But Little Thumb, as if he did not understand, kept crying ouf as loud as ever, " What shall I give you first, do you want all ?"