The True History Of Sir Thomas Thumb
In truth the King and all the Knights of the Round Table were ready to expire with laughter at Tom on his fine curveting steed.
But one day, as the hunt was passing a farm-house, a big cat, lurking about, made one spring and carried both Tom and the mouse up a tree. Nothing daunted, Tom boldly drew his needle sword and attacked the enemy with such fierceness that she let her prey fall. Luckily one of the nobles caught the little fellow in his cap, otherwise he must have been killed by the fall. As it was he became very ill, and the doctor almost despaired of his life. However, his friend and guardian, the Queen of the Fairies, arrived in a chariot drawn by flying mice, and then and there carried Tom back with her to Fairyland, where, amongst folk of his own size, he, after a time, recovered. But time runs swiftly in Fairyland, and when Tom Thumb returned to Court he was surprised to find that his father and mother and nearly all his old friends were dead, and that King Thunstone reigned in King Arthur's place. So every one was astonished at his size, and carried him as a curiosity to the Audience Hall.
"Who art thou, mannikin?" asked King Thunstone. "Whence dost come? And where dost live?"
To which Tom replied with a bow:
"My name is well known.
From the Fairies I come.
When King Arthur shone,
This Court was my home.
By him I was knighted,
In me he delighted
—Your servant—Sir Thomas Thumb."
This address so pleased His Majesty that he ordered a little golden chair to be made, so that Tom might sit beside him at table. Also a little palace of gold, but a span high, with doors a bare inch wide, in which the little fellow might take his ease.
Now King Thunstone's Queen was a very jealous woman, and could not bear to see such honours showered on the little fellow; so she up and told the King all sorts of bad tales about his favourite; amongst others, that he had been saucy and rude to her.
Whereupon the King sent for Tom; but forewarned is forearmed, and knowing by bitter experience the danger of royal displeasure, Tom hid himself in an empty snail-shell, where he lay till he was nigh starved.