182 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
" What are you after, grasshopper ? " said the mistress, and growing angry she seized a piece of rag to beat him off; but he crept underneath her thimble, and then peeped at her, and put his tongue out at her. She took up the thimble, and would have seized him, but he hopped among the rags, and as the mistress turned them over to find him, he stepped into a crack in the table. " He-hee ! Mistress !" cried he, sticking out his head, and when she was just going to grasp him, he jumped into the table-drawer. But in the end she caught him, and drove him out of the house.
So he wandered on until he came to a great wood; and there he met a gang of robbers that were going to rob the king's treasury. When they saw the little tailor, they thought to themselves,
" Such a little fellow might easily creep through a key-hole, and serve instead of a pick-lock."
" Holloa ! " cried one, " you giant Goliath, will you come with us to the treasure-chamber ? you can slip in, and then throw us out the money."
Tom Thumb considered a little, but at last he consented and went with them to the treasure-chamber. Then he looked all over the doors above and below, but there was no crack to be seen; at last he found one broad enough to let him pass, and he was getting through, when one of the sentinels that stood before the door saw him, and said to the other,
" See what an ugly spider is crawling there ! I will put an end to him."
" Let the poor creature alone," said the other, " it has done you no harm."
So Tom Thumb got safely through the crack into the treasure-chamber, and he opened the window beneath which the thieves were standing, and he threw them out one dollar after another. Just as he had well settled to the work, he heard the king coming to take a look at his treasure, and so Tom Thumb had to creep away. The king presently remarked that many good dollars were wanting, but could not imagine how they could have been stolen, as the locks and bolts were in good order, and everything seemed secure. And he went away, saying to the two sentinels,
" Keep good guard ; there is some one after the money."