A certain tailor had a son, who happened to be small, and no bigger than a Thumb, and on this account he
was always called Thumbling. He had, however, some courage in him, and said to his father, "Father, I must
and will go out into the world."
Now the little tailor was outside in the wide world, and he travelled about, and went to a master in his craft, but
the food was not good enough for him. "Mistress, if you give us no better food," said Thumbling, "I will go
away, and early to-morrow morning I will write with chalk on the door of your house, 'Too many potatoes, too
little meat! Farewell, Mr. Potato-King.' The mistress grew angry seized a dishcloth, and drove him out of the
The little tailor journeyed on and came to a great forest, and there he fell in with a band of robbers who had a
design to steal the King's treasure. When they saw the little tailor, they thought, "A little fellow like that can
creep through a key-hole and serve as picklock to us."
Thumbling got safely through a crevice into the treasure-chamber, opened the window beneath which the
robbers were standing, and threw out to them one thaler after another. When the little tailor was in
the full swing of his work, he heard the King coming to inspect his treasure-chamber, and crept hastily into a hiding-
place. The King noticed that several solid thalers were missing, but could not conceive who could have stolen
them, for locks and bolts were in good condition, and all seemed well guarded.
Then by degrees the little tailor threw all the thalers out, dispatching the last with all his might, then hopped
nimbly upon it, and flew down with it through the window. The robbers paid him great compliments. They now
divided the booty, but the little tailor only asked for a kreuzer because he could not carry more.
He hired himself as man-servant in an inn. The maids, however, could not endure him, for he saw all they did
secretly, without their seeing him. Soon afterwards when one of the maids was mowing in the garden, and saw
Thumbling jumping about, she mowed him up quickly with the grass, tied all in a great cloth, and secretly threw
it to the cows. (One of them) swallowed him down without hurting him. Next morning the cow was killed.
Happily Thumbling did not meet with one blow at the cutting up and chopping; he got among the sausage-
At length in winter he was taken down again, as the black-pudding had to be set before a guest. When the
hostess was cutting it in slices, he took care not to stretch out his head too far lest a bit of it should be cut off;
at last he saw his opportunity, cleared a passage for himself, and jumped out. The little tailor, however, would
not stay any longer in a house where he fared so ill, so at once he set out on his journey again.
But his liberty did not last long. In the open country he met with a fox who snapped him up in a fit of absence.
"Hollo, Mr. Fox," cried the little tailor, "it is I who am sticking in your throat, set me at liberty again." "Thou art
next to nothing for me, but if thou wilt promise me the fowls in thy father's yard I will let thee go.» When the
father once more saw his dear son, he willingly gave the fox all the fowls which he had. "For this I likewise
bring thee a handsome bit of money," said Thumbling, and gave his father the kreuzer which he earned on his
travels. "But why did the fox get the poor chickens to eat?" - "Oh, you goose, your father would surely love
his child far more than the fowls in the yard!"