The Wandering of Thumbling, the Tailor’s Son ~fairytales with Grimm brothers A tailor had a son who was small, not much larger than a thumb. Therefore, he was called Thumbling. However, he was filled with courage and said to his father: “Father, I want to go out wandering.” “Fine with me, my son,” said the old man, and he took a darning needle and put a lump of sealing wax on it in the light. “Now you’ll also have a dagger to take with you on your way.” The little tailor set out into the world, and his first work was with a master tailor, but the food wasn’t good enough. “Mistress,” Thumbling said to the master’s wife, “if you don’t give us better food, I’ll take some chalk tomorrow and write ‘Too many potatoes, too little meat!’ on the house door, and then I shall leave.” “What do you want, you little grasshopper?!” replied the wife, who became angry, grabbed a washcloth, and wanted to beat him with it. However, my little tailor crawled quickly under the thimble, looked out from beneath it, and stuck out his tongue. She picked up the thimble, but Thumbling hopped into a bunch of washcloths, and as the wife began separating the washcloths to search for him, he crawled into a crack in the table. “Hey! Hey! My lady!” he cried out and raised his head from the crack. As soon as the tailor’s wife tried to hit him, he jumped into the drawers until she finally caught him and chased him out of the house. Now, the little tailor continued wandering and came to a large forest, where he met a band of robbers, who wanted to steal the king’s treasure. When they saw the little tailor, they thought he could be of great help to them. So they spoke to Thumbling and said that he was a good and able fellow and that he should come along with them to the treasure chamber, crawl inside, and throw the money outside to them. Well, Thumbling agreed. So he went to the treasure chamber and examined the door to see if there was a crack in it. Fortunately, he soon found one and wanted to climb through it, but one of the guards said to his companion, “Look at that nasty spider crawling over there! I’m going to stamp on it until I kill it!” “Hey, leave the spider alone,” the other guard said. “It’s done nothing to you.” This was how Thumbling fortunately made his way into the treasure chamber. Then he went to the window where the robbers were standing outside, and he threw one coin after another out the window. When the king examined his treasure chamber later, there was so much money missing that nobody could understand how it had been stolen because all the locks had been well protected. The king called for more guards, who heard something rattling in the coins. They went inside and wanted to grab hold of the thief. But the little tailor sat down in a corner beneath a coin and cried out: “Here I am!” The guards ran over there, while Thumbling leaped to another corner, and when they were at the first corner, he cried out, “Here I am!” The guards ran to the next corner, but Thumbling hopped to another corner once again and cried out: “Here I am!” This way he kept making fools out of them and kept doing this until they became tired and left the chamber. Now Thumbling gradually threw all the coins through the window. He sat himself down on the last one and went flying through the window. The robbers gave him tremendous praise and would have made him their captain if he had wanted that. Then they divided the loot, but Thumbling wouldn’t take more than one coin because he couldn’t carry more than that. Afterward he resumed walking, and finally, since he was not having much success with tailoring, he hired himself out as a servant at an inn. However, the maids weren’t fond of him because he saw everything they did in secret without their noticing it. Then he reported them afterward. As a result, they wanted very much to play a prank on him. So, one time, when he went for a walk in the meadow, where a maid was mowing the grass, she mowed him together with the grass and threw the grass and Thumbling to the cows when she returned home. Then the black cow swallowed Thumbling, and he was now cooped up inside the cow and heard that evening that the cow was to be slaughtered. Since his life was in danger, he cried out: “I’m here!” “Where are you?” “In the black cow!” However, the people couldn’t understand him, and the cow was slaughtered. Fortunately, he wasn’t struck by the blows to the cow and became mixed with the sausage meat. When this meat was about to be chopped up, he cried out: “Don’t chop too deeply! Don’t chop too deeply! I’m stuck beneath the meat.” Because of all the noise, however, nobody heard him. So Thumbling jumped quickly between the chopping knives avoiding any harm, but he couldn’t get completely away and was stuffed into a blood sausage that was hung in the chimney to be smoked until winter when the sausage was to be eaten. Well, when his lodging was eventually sliced open, he jumped out and ran away. Now the little tailor wandered again. However, a fox came across his path and snatched him. “Mister fox,” Thumbling cried, “you’ve got me! Let me go!” the wandering of thumbling “All right,” said the fox. “Since there’s not very much of you, I’ll let you go if you get your father to give me all the hens in the chicken yard.” So Thumbling swore that he’d do this, and the fox carried him to his home and was given all the hens in the chicken yard. Meanwhile, the little tailor brought his father the one coin that he had earned from all his wanderings. “But why did the fox get all the poor little hens to eat?” “Oh you fool, a father certainly loves his child more than he does his hens.”
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