by Lisa Ruping Cheng
Let’s finish the story of the Little Thumb today! What happened to Little Thumb and his brothers in the end?
“The Ogre, who found himself tired with his long and fruitless journey, had a great mind to rest himself, and, by chance, went to sit down upon the rock in which the little boys had hidden themselves. As he was worn out with fatigue, he fell asleep, and, after reposing himself some time, began to snore so frightfully that the poor children were no less afraid of him than when he held up his great knife and was going to take their lives. Little Thumb was not so much frightened as his brothers, and told them that they should run away at once toward home while the Ogre was asleep so soundly, and that they need not be in any trouble about him. They took his advice, and got home quickly.
Little Thumb then went close to the Ogre, pulled off his boots gently, and put them on his own legs. The boots were very long and large, but as they were fairy boots, they had the gift of becoming big or little, according to the legs of those who wore them; so that they fitted his feet and legs as well as if they had been made for him. He went straight to the Ogre’s house, where he saw his wife crying bitterly for the loss of her murdered daughters.
“Your husband,” said Little Thumb, “is in very great danger, for he has been taken by a gang of theives, who have sworn to kill him if he does not give them all his gold and silver. At the very moment they held their daggers at his throat and he begged me to come and tell you the condition he was in, and to say that you should give me all he has of value, without retaining any one thing; for otherwise they will kill him without mercy. As his case is very pressing, he desired me to make use of his seven-leagued boots, which you see I have on, so that I might make the more haste and that I might show you that I do not impose upon you.”
The good woman, being greatly frightened, gave him all she had; for his Ogre was a very good husband, though he ate little children. Little Thumb, having thus got all the Ogre’s money, came home to his father’s house, where he was received with abundance of joy.
There are many people who do not agree in regard to this act of Little Thumb’s and pretend that he never robbed the Ogre at all, and that he only thought he might very justly take off his seven-leagued boots because he made no other use of them but to run after little children. These folks affirm that they are very well assured of this, because they have drunk and eaten often at the fagot-maker’s house. They declared that when Little Thumb had taken off the Ogre’s boots he went to Court, where he was informed that they were very much in trouble about a certain army, which was two hundred leagues off, and anxious as to the success of a battle. He went, they say, to the King and told him that if he desired it, he would bring him news from the army before night.
The King promised him a great sum of money if he succeeded. Little Thumb returned that very same night with the news; and, this first expedition causing him to be known, he earned as much as he wished, for the King paid him very well for carrying his orders to the army. Many ladies employed him also to carry messages, from which he made much money. After having for some time carried on the business of a messenger and gained thereby great wealth, he sent home to his father, and it is impossible to express the joy of his family. He placed them all in comfortable circumstances, bought places for his father and brothers, and by that means settled them very hamdsomely in the world, while he successfully continued to make his own way.”
What an intelligent boy Little Thumb is! This story tells us when we are in distress, the best strategy is to stay calm so we can think of ways to solve the problems we are facing.