A Story about Ogre | Little Thumb | Mother Goose Fairytale (I)

Lisa Ruping Cheng

When it comes to spooky stories, we often think of strange creatures living in the deep forests, unknown mysteries hidden in abandoned houses, dangers lingering in the darkness in the woods….

It is Halloween today in Canada. Children are dressed up with their favorite costumes, going out knocking door to door to “trick or treat”. We see every house creatively decorated with ghost themes: a human hand sticking out from the grass, witches and spiders, bats, monsters and wolves howling.

My early memories of spooky stories were all about ghosts. When I was a toddler, my father and my grandmother used to tell ghost stories, in the living room, after dinner time. Me and my brother and sister would hold our blankets, wide-eyed, listening to the stories, so quietly. Interestingly, ghosts in oriental culture are conceived in a much more serious way. We would worship spirits on the “ghost day” and avoid going out to catch anything unwanted on July 7, on the lunar calendar, the spirit day.

Spooky stories do not seem to be out of fashion at any time in history. When I am trying to find a tale that is scary, chidren friendly and classic, I am glad to find “Little Thumb” from Mother Goose Fairytale book.

The bad guy in the tale is mainly the Ogre. The hero? Little thumb, a brave and smart little boy. Let’s take a good look at this story!

Little Thumb (Part One)

“Once upon a time there was a *fagot-maker and his wife, who had seven childresn, all boys. The youngerst was only seven.

They were very poor, and thier seven children were a great source of trouble to them because not one of them was able to earn his bread. What gave them yet more uneasiness was that the youngest was very delicate, and scarce ever spoke a word, which made people take for stupidity that which was a sign of good sense. He was very little and when born he was no bigger than one’s thumb; hence he was called Little Thumb.

The poor child was the drudge of the household, and was always in the wrong. He was, however, the most bright and discreet of all the brothers; and if he spoke little, he heard and thought the more.

There came a very bad year, and the famine was so great that these poor people resolved to rid themselves of their children. One evening, what they were in bed, and the fagot-maker was sitting with his wife at the fire, he said to her, with his heart ready to burst with grief:

“You see plainly that we no longer can give our children food, and I can not bear to see them die of hunger before my eyes; I am resolved to lose them in the wood tomorrow, which may very easily be done, for, while they amuse themselves in tying up fagots, we have only to run away and leave them without their seeing us.”

“Ah!”, cried out his wife, “could you really take the children and lose them?”

In vain did her husband reason to her their great poverty; she would not consent to it. She was poor, but she was their mother.

However, having considered what a grief it would be to her to see them die of hunger, she conserted, and went weepping to bed.

Little Thumb heard all they had said; for, hearing that they were talking business, he got up softly and slipped under his father’s seat, so as to hear without being seen. He went to bed again, but did not sleep a wink all the rest of the night, thinking of what he had to do. He got up early in the morning, and went to the brookside, where he filled his pockets with small white pebbles, and then returned home. They all went out, but Little Thumb never told his brothers a word of what he knew.

They went into a very thick forest, where they could not see one another at ten paces apart. The fagot-maker began to cut wood, and the children to gather up sticks to make fagots. Their father and mother, seeing them busy at their work, got away from them and then all at once ran as fast as they could through a winding by-path.

When the children found they were alone, they began to cry to all their might. Little Thumb let thme cry on, knowing very well how to get home again; for, as he came, he had dropped the lilttle white pebbles he had in his pockets all along the way. Then he said to them, “Do not be afraid, my brothers, father and mother left us here but I will lead you home again; only follow me.”

They followed, and he brought them home by the very same way they had come into the forest. They dared not go in at first, but stood outside the door to listen to what their father and mother were saying.

The very moment the fagot-maker and his wife reached home the lord of the manor sent them ten **crowns, which he had long owed them, and which they never hoped to see. This gave them new life, for the poor people were dying of hunger. The fagot-maker sent his wife to the butcher’s at once. As it was a long while since they had eaten, she bought twice as much meat as was needed for supper for two people. When they had eaten the woman said, “Alas! where are our poor children now? They would make a good feast of what we have left here; it was you who wished to lose them. I told you we should repent of it. What are they now doing in the forest? Alas! Perhaps the wolves have already eaten them up; you are very inhuman to have lost your children.”

The fagot-maker grew at last quite out of patience, for she repeated twenty times that he would repent of it. The fagot-maker was more sorry than his wife, but she teased him so he could not endure it. She wept bitterly, saying:

“Alas! Where are my children now, my poor children?”

She said this once so very loud that the children, who were at the door, heard her and cried out all together:

“Here we are!””

To be continued

What happened after? The seven boys had managed to come back home and now their mother was so happy. Would their father abandon them again once all the money they had was no more?

Please continue to read the second half of the story in our next blog post! And to listen to the story be sure to look for the same name episode in WowoSpot Kids Podcast to be released on November 1!

*a person who bundles sticks of wood as fuel

**money, British coins

Published by Wowospot

Produce and publish quality kids content for fun, creative learning and education.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: