172 LITTLE THUMB.
In the room adjoining slept one of the servants, and the noise woke her j she sat up in bed to listen, and heard what Little Thumb said.
The thieves, who had run away in terror when Little Thumb cried out, ventured back when all was quiet, and said, " Come now, this is not a time for joking; get us what we want, and pass it through the window to us."
Then cried the little man, j"Oh, you want everything, do you? Now then, hold out your hands."
The maid servant heard this plainly enough ; she jumped out of bed, and being in the dark stumbled against the door. On hearing the noise, the thieves took to their heels, and ran as if wild hunters were behind them. The girl, who had gone to fetch a light, quickly returned, and determined to examine every part of the room. As soon as Little Thumb saw her coming, he slipped out of window and hid himself in a barn, so that she did not even see him. After a good search in every corner, and finding no one there, she went back to bed, and fancied that she must have been dreaming.
Little Thumb found a snug bed in a truss of hay, and made up his mind to sleep comfortably there till morning, and then return home to his parents. But there were other troubles for him to endure first. This is a world of trouble.
At daybreak the next morning the maid servant rose and went out to give the cattle their fodder. Her first visit was to the hayloft, and unluckily the truss of hay nearest the opening was the one in which Little Thumb lay sleeping, and in pulling out an armful she carried him away with it. So soundly did he sleep, that he knew nothing of what had happened till he awoke and found himself in the mouth of a cow, who had taken him up with the hay.
" Oh, dear, I might as well be in a crushing machine," he cried, as soon as he found out where he was. But he had little time for reflection, as he shifted from side to side to avoid the teeth of the cow, and presently he slided downwards into her stomach.
" This is a room without any windows, at all events," he exclaimed ; " the sun cannot shine here, and to light a candle is out of the question."
Most certainly he had fallen into unpleasant quarters; and