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pear, will lend their aid in tracing the fictions of the inhabitants of Europe from the first seat of the Caucasian tribes.
Whittington, however, will claim less attention than To M. THUMB and To M HIck Ath RIFT. The learned Doctor William Wagstaffe, Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Fellow of the College of Physicians and of the Royal Society, and whose name was so analogous to his humour, hath given a very strong “testimony’ respecting the merits of these histories, which, according to the good old custom of classical editors, we intend to prefix to our proposed critical edition of these works ‘cum notis variorum.” The Doctor says “that the lives in question are more proper to adorn the shelves of Bodley or the Vatican, than to be confined in the retirement and obscurity of a private library. I have
perused the former of them (he adds) with more than ordinary ap
Fo and have made some observations on it which will not,
hope, prove unacceptable to the public.’ He has confined himself, however, to the poetical beauties of the work; we hope therefore it will be equally “acceptable to the public' if we attempt to contribute our mite towards its literary history.
Tom Hearne* would almost have sworn that Tom Thumb the fairy knight was “King Edgar's page.” On ballad authority we learn that “Tom a lyn was a Scottsman born.” Now Tom Hearne and the ballad are both in the wrong; for Tom a lin, otherwise Tamlane, is no other than Tom Thumb himself, who was originally a dwarf, or dwergar, of Scandinavian descent, being the Thaumlin, i. e. Little Thumb of the Northmen. Drayton, who introduces both these heroes in his Nymphidia, seems to have suspected their identity.
The German “Daumerling, i.e. little Thumb, is degraded to
the son of a taylor;-he has not much in common with Tom Thumb the Great, except the misfortune of being swallowed by the dun cow, which took place in Germany just as it did in England. This is a traditionary story of the Germans: but there
Geneway merchant, upon which another, hearing of the profitable adventure, makes a }. to Rat Island with a precious cargo, for which the king repays him with one of is Cats.
* See Hearne's Benedictus Abbas, p. 54. t ‘Many years ago,' (a literary friend writes to us,) “I had persuaded myself tha several of our common nursery tales were the remnants of antient ov6ot, and that Tom Thumb, for instance, if the truth should be discovered, would be found to be a mythological personage. Though fully convinced at the time that so strange a fiction could not have arisen from any other source, I had not the least expectation that any thing would ever occur to me in confirmation of such an apparent paradox. Tom Thumb's adventure bears a near analogy to the rite of adoption into the Braminical order, a ceremony which still exists in India, and to which the Rajah of Tanjore submitted not many years ago. In Dubois work there is an account of a diminutive deity, whose person and character are analogous to that of Tom Thumb. He too, if I recollect
is a little book in the Danish language, analyzed by Professor Nierup, of the University of Copenhagen, who censures it, and Perhaps with some degree of justice, as a ‘very childish history.’ It treats of ‘Swain Tomling, a man no bigger than a thumb, who would be married to a woman three ells and three quarters long.’ The Danish title-page, which we transcribe below,” enumerates other of Tomling's adventures which are not found in the ‘History of his Marvellous Acts of Manhood, as preserved in England; the manhood, however, which emboldened the Swain to venture on a wife of “three ells and three quarters’ in length is yet commemorated in the ancient rhyme which begins ‘ I had a little husband no bigger than my thumb.' r According to popular tradition Tom Thumb died at Lincoln, which it may be recollected was one of the five Danish towns of England; we do not, however, therefore intend to insist that the story was handed down by the northern invaders. There was a little blue flag-stone in the pavement of the Minster ‘which was shewn as Tom Thumb's monument, and the country folks never failed to marvel at it when they came to church on the Assize Sunday; but during some of the modern repairs which have been inflicted on that venerable building, the flag-stone was displaced and lost, to the great discomfiture of the holiday visitants. i The prose history of Tom Thumb is manufactured from the ballad; and by the introduction of the fairy queen at his birth, and certain poetical touches which it yet exhibits, we are led to suppose that it is a rifacciamento of an earlier and better original. One of Tom's sports deserves note; it is when, in order to be revenged on his playmates, he * took in pleasant game t Black pots and glasses which he hung Upon a bright sun-beam. The other boys, to do the same, In pieces broke them quite, For which they were most soundly whipt, At which he laught outright.'
lect right, was not originally a Bramin, but became one by adoption, like some of the worthies in the Ramayuna. Compare the multiplicity of Tom Thumb's metamorphoses with those of Taliessin as quoted by Davies; we shall then see that this diminutive per: sonage is a slender but distinct thread of communication between the Braminical and Druidical superstitions. Even independent of the analogy between his transformations and those of Taliessin—his station in the court of King Arthur (evidently the mythological Arthur) marks him as a person of the highest fabulous antiquity in this island; while the adventure of the cow, to which there is nothing analogous in Celtic mythology, appears to connect him with India.” o'Swind Tomling, et Menneske ikkestārre end enTommelfinger, somvil giftes med en Kone, tre Alen og tre Quarter lang, Kommer til Verden med hat paa og Karde ved siden, driver Plov; baclges til en herremand som forware ham i sin Snuusdaase,’ &c.
G 3 This * “In Marslandia sitae sunt Walsoka, Waltona, et Walpola—In viciniisjacent Terrington et St. Maries—Adjacet'TYLNEY veteris utique TYLN Erorum familiae radix. Hicse expandit insignis area quae a planicie nuncupatur Tylney Smeeth, pinguis adeo et luxurians ut Paduaua pascua videatur superasse. Tuentur eam indigenae velut aras et focos, fabellamgue recitant longa petitam vetustate de Hicki FR1co (nescio quo). Haii illius instar in Scotorum Chronicis qui civium suorum dedignatus fuga, aratrum quod agebat solvit; arreptoque temone furibundus insiliit in hostes victoriamque ademit exultantibus. Sic cum de agriistius possessione acriter olim dimicatum esset, inter fundi dominum et villarum incolas, nec valerent hi adversus eum consistere, redeuntibus occurrit Hickofkickus, axemgue excutiens à curru quem agebat, eo vice gladii usus; rota, clypei; invasores repulit ad ipsos quibus nunc funguntur terminos. Ostendunt in cameterio Tilniensi, sepulchrum sui pugilis, axem cum rota insculptum exhibens.’— Spelman's Posthumous Works, p. 138. * - hope
This “pleasant game' is borrowed from the pseudo-hagiography of the middle ages. It is found not only in one of the spurious Gospels, but also in the legend of St. Columbanus, who, as we are told, performed a similar miracle by hanging his garment on a suubeam. MR. Thom As Hick Ath Rift, afterwards S1R THoMAs Hick ATH R1 ft, Knight, is praised by Mr. Thomas Hearne as a “famous champion.” The honest antiquary has identified this well-known knight with the far less celebrated Sir Frederick de Tylney, Baron of Tylney in Norfolk, the ancestor of the Tylney family, who was killed at Acon, in Syria, in the reign of Richard Coeur de Lion; ‘Hycophric, or Hycothrift,” as the mister-wight observes, being probably a corruption of Frederick.’ This happy exertion of etymological acumen is not wholly due to Hearne, who only adopted a hint given by Mr. Philip Le Neve whilome of the College of Arms. Their conjectures, however, accord but slightly with the traditions given by the accurate Spelman, in his Icenia. From the most remote antiquity, the fables and achievements of Hickisric have been obstimately credited by the inhabitants of the township of Tylney. “ Hickijric' is venerated by them as the assertor of the rights and liberties of their ancestors. The ‘monstrous giant, who guarded the Marsh, was, in truth, no other than the tyrannical lord of the manor, who attempted to keep his copyholders out of the common field, called Tilney Smeeth; but who was driven away, with his retainers, by the prowess of Tom, armed with only his axle-tree and cart-wheel. Spelman has told the story in good Latin, and we subjoin it to the text.* We have not room to detail the pranks which Tom performed when his ‘natural strength, which exceeded twenty common men,” became manifest; but they must be noticed as being correctly Scandinavian. Similar were the achievements of the great northern champion Gretter, when he kept geese upon the common, as told in his Saga. We are not very deeply read in northern lore, but we
hope that Messrs. Grimm will agree with us that Tom's youth re-traces the tales of the prowess of the youthful Siegfried, detailed in the Niflunga Saga, and in the Book of Heroes. It appears from Hearne, that the supposed axle-tree with the superincumbent wheel was represented on “Hycothrift's grave stone, in Tylney churchyard, in the shape of a cross.” This is the form in which all the Runic monuments represent the celebrated hammer or thunderbolt of the son of Odin, which shattered the sculls and scattered the brains of so many luckless giants. How far this surmise may be suported by Tom's skill and strength in throwing the hammer (Part. . Chap. 48.) we will not pretend to decide. If, on the other hand, any of our antiquarian readers should think it right to withhold their assent to the proposition that Thor can be identified with Tom Hickathrift, they may have the full benefit of our doubts. The common people have a happy faculty of seeing whatever they chuse to believe, and of refusing to see the things in which they disbelieve. It may therefore be supposed, that the rude sculpture which the Tylneyites used to call the offensive and defensive arms of their champion, was truly nothing more than a cross, of which the upper part is inscribed in a circle, a figure often found on ancient sepulchres. - From Tom Hickathrift and Thor we must proceed to their immortal compeer JAcK THE GIANT KILLER. In Jack's memoirs, a Wormius, a Rudbeck, a Bartholinus, a Schimmlemann, a Stephanius, or a Peringskiold might discover indubitable resemblances to the fictions of the Edda. Jack, as we are told, ‘having got a little money, travelled into Flintshire, and came to a large house in a lonesome place; and, by reason of his present necessity, he took courage to knock at the gate, when, to his amazement, there came forth a monstrous Giant with two heads, yet he did not seem so fiery as the former Giants, for he was a Welch Giant.’t. This Welch Giant was rendered less “fiery' than he would maturally have been, in consequence of “breakfasting, as the story says, “ on a great bowl of hasty pudding, instead of keeping to the warm invigorating national diet, toasted cheese. To this low feeding we also attribute the want of sagacity which enabled Jack “to outwit him, notwithstanding his two heads. The history states that Jack undressed himself, and as the Giant was walking towards another apartment, Jack heard him say to himself, ‘Though here you lodge with me this night, You shall not see the morning light, My club shall dash your brains out, -quite.’ “Say you so, says Jack, is that one of your Welch tricks 2 I hope to be as cunning as you. Then getting out of bed he found a thick billet, and laid it in the bed in his stead, and hid himself in a dark corner of the room. In the dead time of the night came the Giant with his club, and struck several blows on the bed where Jack had artfully laid the billet, and then returned to his own room, supposing, as the romance writer observes with emphatical simplicity, “that he had broken all Jack's bones.” In the morning early Jack came to thank him for his lodging. ‘ Oh! said the Giant, how have you rested, did you see anything last night? No, said Jack, but a rat gave me three or four slaps with his tail.’ To this adventure, though the locusin quo is placed in Flintshire by the English writer, we find a parallel in the device practised by the Giant Skrimner when he and Thor journeyed to Skrimner's Castle of Utgaard, and related at large in the twelfth chapter of the Edda of Snorro. At midnight the mighty son of earth laid himself to sleep beneath an oak, and snored aloud. Thor, the giantkiller, resolved to rid himself of his unsuspicious companion, and struck him with his tremendous hammer. ‘Hath a leaf fallen wpon me from the tree? exclaimed the awakened Giant. The Giant soon slept again, and ‘snored,’ as the Edda says, “as loudly as if it had thundered in the forest.’ Thor struck the Giant again, and, as he thought, the hammer made a mortal indentation in his forehead. “What is the matter?" quoth Skrimner, ‘hath an acorn fallen on my head?’ A third time the potent Giant snored, and a third time did the hammer desceud, “with huge two-handed sway,’ and with such force that Thor weened the iron had buried itself in Skrimner's temples. ‘Methinks, quoth Skrimner, rubbing his cheek, “ some moss hath fallen on my face.” Thor might be well amazed at the escape of the Giant;-but Skrimner, acting exactly like Jack, had out-witted his enemy, by placing an immense rock on the leafy couch where Thor supposed he was sleeping, and which received the blows of the hammer in his stead. The fictions of the north, and indeed of the east, are no less distinguishable in the robbery which Jack, who, after all, was an unprincipled young dog, committed on a simple cousin of his,** a huge and
* A Norfolk antiquary has had the goodness to procure for us an authentic report of the present state of Tom's sepulchre. It is a stone soros, of the usual shape and dimensions; the sculptured lid or cover no longer exists. It must have been entire about fifty years ago, for when we were good, Gaffer Crane would rehearse Tom's achievements, and tell us that he had cut out the moss which filled up the inscription with his penknife, but he could not read the letters, - t See History of Jack and the Giants.’ Part I. Chap. v. p. 14.—The edition which we use has no date, but was “Printed and sold by J. Pitts, No. 14, Great St. Andrew's Street, Seven Dials.” It is far less correct than the older edition printed at York by ‘J. Kendrew, near the Collier-gate.” Yet, on the whole, as Dr. HARwooD justly observes on a similar occasion, (View of the various Editions of the Classics with remarks by Edward Harwood, D.D. London. 1775, p. 214.) “it has fewer inaccuracies than a scholar might justly expect from a London edition.”
mational * History of Jack, &c. Part I. chap. vi. pp. 18–21. - monstrous