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Master Tom was rather a forward boy for his age, and still more so for his size, and he soon thought he ought to have some employment by which he might make himself useful. I believe he wanted to be put to ploughing or threshing, or some light labour of that kind; but his father, though he admired the boy's spirit, did not care to bring him on quite so fast. To indulge the little man, however, his father told him he should be driver, and he made him a whip of a barleystraw to drive along the plough-horse. Tom thought this very grand, and used to halloo at the horses and crack his whip in a most valiant manner; but as he could never strike higher than the horse's hoof, it is doubtful whether he was really of much use. One day, however, as he stood upon a clod of earth to aim a mighty blow at one of the horses, his foot slipped, and he rolled over and over into a furrow. A raven hovering near picked up the barley-straw whip and little Tommy together. Up through the air the poor little man was whisked, so swiftly that it took his breath away; but luckily the raven stopped to rest on the terrace of a castle belonging to the Giant Grumbo; and here the raven dropped Tom, who was, as you may suppose, very glad to be set down, and very much flurried by the speed at which he had been compelled to travel. Presently old Grumbo came upon the terrace for a walk; and when he spied Master Tom perched upon a stone and looking contentedly around him, the voracious monster snapped him up and swallowed him, clothes an infinite pleasure, and a more than ordinary application, and have made some observations on it, which may not, I hope, prove unaccept
Ι able to the public.
The design was undoubtedly to recommend virtue, and to show that however anyone may labour under the disadvantages of stature and deformity, or the meanness of parentage, yet if his mind and actions are above the ordinary level, those very disadvantages that seem to depress him, add a lustre to his character."
and all, as if he had been a pill. But Grumbo would have done better to have left Tom alone; for Tom, finding himself very uncomfortable in the interior of Grumbo, began to jump about and dance in such a way as to make that greedy giant almost beside himself with pain. If you wish to judge of the nature of Grumbo's feeling, just look at the picture of him, as he appeared when Tom first began to dance and hop in his interior. The giant began to sing the tune
“I have a silent sorrow here ;” and the word here meant just where his dinner went.
As I say, you have only to notice the expression of Grumbo's face in the picture, which has been very carefully
taken from an old portrait, and you will be able to see for yourselves.
The giant kicked and roared, and rubbed himself just below his chest in a most wonderful manner ; but the more he rubbed, the more Tom danced; until at last the giant became dreadfully unwell. and he opened his mouth, and his inside feelings seemed to grow worse and worse every moment. He fancied it must have been some Brazil nuts that he had been eating for dessert a little while before ; for, you see, he had eaten the shells too, and the shells of Brazil nuts have sometimes very sharp edges and corners. But it could not be this, for he had done it so often. Suddenly the little passenger came flying out, and flew right over the terrace into the sea.
A great fish happened to be swimming by just at the time, and seeing little Tom whirling through the air, took him for a particular kind of May fly, or some big beetle with which he was unacquainted, but which, he had no doubt, tasted very nice. So he opened his mouth and swallowed Tom down. Poor Tom was in a worse plight than ever; for if he had compelled the fish to set him free, as the giant had done, he would only have been shot out into the sea, and must have perished by drowning; so his only chance was to wait patiently in hope that the fish might be caught. And it was not long before this happened; for the fish was a greedy kind of fellow, always in search of something to eat, and never satisfied ; and so one day he snapped up a bait hanging at the end of a fishing-line, though if he had been less eager he might easily have seen the hook peeping through. And that makes me think how many greedy children have enjoyed themselves like this at Christmas parties, and never thought of the hook that peeped through what they ate, in the shape of headache and sickness next day, and the doctor, and rhubarb powders, and the feeling of having acted like a piggy. However, the fish made a snap at the bait, and in another instant was wriggling and writhing with the hook through his gills : he was dragged up, and the fisherman, seeing what a splendid fellow he was, thought he would present him to King Arthur, and according to the well-known practice of that monarch, he did not doubt being well rewarded for his pains. For Arthur was as liberal as he was brave, and never failed to acknowledge his subjects' services when they tried to please him.
So the fisherman took up the great fish, and killed him at once, and anxious to present his prize, he unhesitat
ingly set off towards the Court to carry his intention into effect. The fish was much admired in the royal kitchen, and the cook took a knife and proceeded to rip him up. But what was her surprise when Master Tom popped up his head, and politely hoped cookee was “quite well !”
You may fancy what amazement this unexpected arrival caused in King Arthur's Court. His Majesty was quickly informed of the wonderful occurrence, how a splendid fish had been brought as a New Year's gift by a fisherman for His Majesty's acceptance, according to the usual custom of bringing gifts to the castle at that season of the year; and how it had been intended to serve the fish up at the royal dinner, when a little man had jumped out. So the King was in