TOM THUMB. 163
" Where are you, then ? " asked they.
" Look about on the ground and notice where the voice comes from," answered he.
At last they found him, and lifted him up.
" You little elf," said they, " how can you help us ? "
" Look here," answered he, " I can easily creep between the iron bars of the parson's room and hand out to you whatever you would like to have."
"Very well," said they, " we will try what you can do."
So when they came to the parsonage-house, Tom Thumb crept into the room, but cried out with all his might,
" Will you have all that is here ? " So the thieves were terrified, and said,
" Do speak more softly, lest any one should be awaked."
But Tom Thumb made as if he did not hear them, and cried out again,
" What would you like ? will you have all that is here ? " 1 so that the cook, who was sleeping in a room hard by, heard I it, and raised herself in bed and listened. The thieves, however, in their fear of being discovered, had run back part of the way, but they took courage again, thinking that it was only a jest of the little fellow's. So they came back and whispered to him to be serious, and to hand them out something.
Then Tom Thumb called out once more as loud as he could,
" Oh yes, I will give it all to you, only put out your hands."
Then the listening maid heard him distinctly that time, and jumped out of bed, and burst open the door. The thieves ran off as if the wild huntsman were behind them; but the maid, as she could see nothing, went to fetch a light. And when she came back with one, Tom Thumb had taken himself off, without being seen by her, into the barn; and the maid, when she had looked in every hole and corner and found nothing, went back to bed at last, and thought that she must have been dreaming with her eyes and ears open.
So Tom Thumb crept among the hay, and found a comfortable nook to sleep in, where he intended to remain until it was day, and then to go home to his father and mother. But other things were to befall him ; indeed, there is nothing but