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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "The True History Of Sir Thomas Thumb"

The True History Of Sir Thomas Thumb

Then seeing a fine large butterfly on a dandelion close by, he climbed up and managed to get astride it. No sooner had he gained his seat than the butterfly was off, hovering from tree to tree, from flower to flower.

At last the royal gardener saw it and gave chase, then the nobles joined in the hunt, even the King himself, and finally the Queen, who forgot her anger in the merriment. Hither and thither they ran, trying in vain to catch the pair, and almost expiring with laughter, until poor Tom, dizzy with so much fluttering, and doubling, and flittering, fell from his seat into a watering-pot, where he was nearly drowned.

So they all agreed he must be forgiven, because he had afforded them so much amusement.

Thus Tom was once more in favour; but he did not live long to enjoy his good luck, for a spider one day attacked him, and though he fought well, the creature's poisonous breath proved too much for him; he fell dead on the ground where he stood, and the spider soon sucked every drop of his blood.

Thus ended Sir Thomas Thumb; but the King and the Court were so sorry at the loss of their little favourite that they went into mourning for him. And they put a fine white marble monument over his grave whereon was carven the following epitaph:

Here lyes Tom Thumb, King Arthur's Knight,

Who died by a spider's fell despite.

He was well known in Arthur's Court,

Where he afforded gallant sport.

He rode at tilt and tournament,

And on a mouse a-hunting went.

Alive he filled the Court with mirth,

His death to sadness must give birth.

So wipe your eyes and shake your head,

And say, "Alas, Tom Thumb is dead!"

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