Then the father laughed, and said,
" How will you manage that ? You are much too little to hold the reins."
" That has nothing to do with it, father; while my mother goes on with her spinning I will sit in the horse's ear and tell him where to go."
" Well," answered the father, " we will try it for once."
When it was time to set off, the mother went on spinning, after setting Tom Thumb in the horse's ear; and so he drove off, crying,
" Gee-up, gee-wo ! "
So the horse went on quite as if his master were driving him, and drew the waggon along the right road to the wood.
Now it happened just as they turned a corner, and the little fellow was calling out " Gee-up ! " that two strange men passed by.
" Look," said one of them, " how is this ? There goes a waggon, and the driver is calling to the horse, and yet he is nowhere to be seen."
" It is very strange," said the other; " we will follow the waggon, and see where it belongs."
And the waggon went right through the wood, up to the place where the wood had been hewed. When Tom Thumb caught sight of his father, he cried out,
" Look, father, here am I with the waggon ; now, take me down."
The father held the horse with his left hand, and with the right he lifted down his little son out of the horse's ear, and Tom Thumb sat down on a stump, quite happy and content. When the two strangers saw him they were struck dumb with wonder. At last one of them, taking the other aside, said to ; him, " Look here, the little chap would make our fortune if we were to show him in the town for money. Suppose we buy him."
So they went up to the woodcutter, and said,
" Sell the little man to us ; we will take care he shall come to no harm."
" No," answered the father ; " he is the apple of my eye, and not for all the money in the world would I sell him."
But Tom Thumb, when he heard what was going on,