There was once a king and queen, who had a dear little daughter no bigger than you thumb. Her name was Thumbling. Her papa and mamma loved her very dearly, and never let her get out of their sight. Thumbling had a cradle made out of a nut-shell, and when her mamma sat down by the window to look out at the bright sunshine, the trees, the flowers and the birds, she used to put the little cradle close by her on the window-sill. In front of the window was a beautiful garden, and every day Thumbling used to run out in the garden to play and to enjoy the breeze, and the birds, and the flowers.
One day while Thumbling was playing in the garden, a green grassed-hopper came springing towards her and said: "Jump on my back, Thumbling, and I will be our horse."
This pleased Thumbling greathly; she bounded on the grasshopper's back, and away they went hop, hip, out of the garden and through the green fields; at last, however, Thumbling got very tired, for the grasshopper made very high leaps, and she called out to him to stop, just as they reached the banks of a small stream. The stream was very smooth, and seemed to flow very gently, and Thumbling thought to herself, "How I wish I could go for a sail on the beautiful smooth water."
Just then a fish came swimming along; he seized a leaf that was floating on top of the water, and bending it into the shape of a boat, called out: "Step into this pretty boat, little girl, I will be your captain."
Thumbling got in the leaf, and the fish carried her for a long, long sail. At last Thumbling was very tired, and asked the fish to pull the boat to shore. He did so, and Thumbling stepped out of the boat onto dry land. She looked around and saw that she was in a field, covered with green, but she could not see her home, and she did not know how she could ever find her way back to it. Then she began to cry and to call for her papa and mamma, but they could not hear her, because they were so far away.
A little field mouse, however, stepping out of her nest, saw Thumbling, felt sorry for her, and took her home to her nest. Here Thumbling lived for some time, but she grieved for her mamma and home. One day when Thumbling and the field mouse were out walking, they saw a little swallow sitting on a mound of earth, and crying bitterly, because it had a thorn in its foot, and could not fly home to its baby swallows. Little Thumbling kneeled down by the swallow, pulled the thorn out of its foot, washed away the blood, and soon the swallow felt quite well again.
She was about to fly away, when she turned to Thumbling and said: "Thumbling, you have been very kind to me, and I would like to do something for you; jump on my back, and I will carry you to your mother. I live under the eaves of your house, and I have heard our mamma crying for you."
Thumbling thanked the field mouse, stepped on the swallow's back, and away they flew through the air; when they got home it was night, and the swallow laid Thumbling in the nut-shell cradle, where her mamma found her the next morning.
A Fictional Short Story by
Agnes Taylor Ketchum & Ida M. Jorgensen