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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "Tom-Tit-Tot"

Tom-Tit-Tot

"Is That Samuel?" says she all of a flutter.

"No, it ain't, my beauty," chuckles That, looking maliceful.

"Well—is That Methuselah?" says she, inclined to cry.

Then That just fixes her with eyes like a coal a-fire, and says, "No, it ain't that neither, so there is only to-morrow night and then you'll be mine, my beauty."

And away the small, little, black Thing flew, its tail twirling and whisking so fast that you couldn't see it.

Well, she felt so bad she couldn't even cry; but she heard the King, her husband, coming to the door, so she made bold to be cheerful, and tried to smile when he said, "Well done, wife! Five skeins again! I shall not have to order your head off after all, my dear, of that I'm quite sure, so let us enjoy ourselves." Then he bade the servants bring supper, and a stool for him to sit beside his Queen, and down they sat, lover-like, side by side.

But the poor Queen could eat nothing; she could not forget the small, little, black Thing. And the King hadn't eaten but a mouthful or two when he began to laugh, and he laughed so long and so loud that at last the poor Queen, all lackadaisical as she was, said:

"Why do you laugh so?"

"At something I saw to-day, my love," says the King. "I was out a-hunting, and by chance I came to a place I'd never been in before. It was in a wood, and there was an old chalk-pit there, and out of the chalk-pit there came a queer kind of a sort of a humming, bumming noise. So I got off my hobby to see what made it, and went quite quiet to the edge of the pit and looked down. And what do you think I saw? The funniest, queerest, smallest, little, black Thing you ever set eyes upon. And it had a little spinning-wheel and it was spinning away for dear life, but the wheel didn't go so fast as its tail, and that span round and round—ho-ho-ha-ha!—you never saw the like. And its little feet had buckled shoes and bows on them, and they went up and down in a desperate hurry. And all the time that small, little, black Thing kept bumming and booming away at these words:

"Name me, name me not,

Who'll guess it's Tom-Tit-Tot.

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