HERE was once a poor countryman who used to sit in the chimney-corner all evening and poke the fire, while his wife sat at her spinning-wheel. And he used to say, " How dull it is without any children about us; our house is so quiet, and other people's houses so noisy and merry !"
" Yes," answered his wife, and sighed, " if we could only have one, and that one ever so little, no bigger than my thumb, how happy I should be ! It would, indeed, be having our heart's desire."
Now, it happened that after a while the woman had a child who was perfect in all his limbs, but no bigger than a thumb. Then the parents said,
" He is just what we wished for, and we will love him very much," and they named him according to his stature, " Tom Thumb." And though they gave him plenty of nourishment, he grew no bigger, but remained exactly the same size as when he was first born ; and he had very good faculties, and was very quick and prudent, so that all he did prospered.
One day his father made ready to go into the forest to cut wood, and he said, as if to himself,
" Now, I wish there was some one to bring the cart to meet me."
" O father," cried Tom Thumb, " I can bring the cart, let me alone for that, and in proper time, too!"