Perrault's Fairy Tales - Perrault's Fairy Tales

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http://go.to/web_books Perrault's Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault's Perrault's Fairy Tales http://www.angelfire.com/nb/classillus/images/perrault/tom.html 1 of 13 9/7/2008 6:27 PM
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Illustrated by Gustave Dore Little Tom Thumb We can no longer feed our children Once upon a time there lived a woodcutter and his wife, who had seven children, all boys. The eldest was only ten years old, and the youngest was seven. People were astonished that the woodcutter had had so many children in so short a time, but the reason was that his wife delighted in children, and never had less than two at a time. They were very poor, and their seven children were a great tax on them, for none of them was yet able to earn his own living. And they were troubled also because the youngest was very delicate and could not speak a word. They mistook for stupidity what was in reality a mark of good sense. This youngest boy was very little. At his birth he was scarcely bigger than a man’s thumb, and he was called in Perrault's Fairy Tales http://www.angelfire.com/nb/classillus/images/perrault/tom.html 2 of 13 9/7/2008 6:27 PM
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consequence “Little Tom Thumb.” The poor child was the scapegoat of the family, and got the blame for everything. All the same, he was the sharpest and shrewdest of the brothers, and if he spoke but little he listened much. There came a very bad year, when the famine was so great that these poor people resolved to get rid of their family. One evening, after the children had gone to bed, the woodcutter was sitting in the chimney corner with his wife. His heart was heavy with sorrow as he said to her: “It must be plain enough to you that we can no longer feed our children. I cannot see them die of hunger before my eyes, and I have made up my mind to take them tomorrow to the forest and lose them there. It will be easy enough to manage, for while they are amusing themselves by collecting fagots we have only to disappear without their seeing us.” In the morning he went to the edge of the brook “Ah!” cried the woodcutter’s wife, “do you mean to say you are capable of letting your own children be lost?” In vain did her husband remind her of their terrible poverty; she could not agree. She was poor, but she was their mother. In the end, however, reflecting what a grief it would be to see them die of hunger, she consented to the plan, and went weeping to bed. Little Tom Thumb had heard all that was said. Having discovered, when in bed, that serious talk was going on, he had got up softly, and had slipped under his father’s stool in order to listen without being seen. He went back to bed, but did not sleep a wink for the rest of the night, thinking over what he had better do. In the morning he rose very early and went to the edge of a brook. There he filled his pockets with little white pebbles and came quickly home again. They all set out, and little Tom Thumb said not a word to his brothers of what he knew.
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2009 for the course GER 250 taught by Professor Jenkins during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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Perrault's Fairy Tales - Perrault's Fairy Tales

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