Thumbling as journeyman (Thumbling's Travels)


Tomling på rejse

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." - "That's right, my son," said the old man, and took a long darning-needle and made a knob of sealing-wax on it at the candle, "and there is a sword for thee to take with thee on the way." Then the little tailor wanted to have one more meal with them, and hopped into the kitchen to see what his lady mother had cooked for the last time. It was, however, just dished up, and the dish stood on the hearth. Then he said, "Mother, what is there to eat to-day?" - "See for thyself," said his mother. So Thumbling jumped on to the hearth, and peeped into the dish, but as he stretched his neck in too far the steam from the food caught hold of him, and carried him up the chimney. He rode about in the air on the steam for a while, until at length he sank down to the ground again. 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.'" - "What wouldst thou have forsooth, grasshopper?" said the mistress, and grew angry, and seized a dishcloth, and was just going to strike him; but my little tailor crept nimbly under a thimble, peeped out from beneath it, and put his tongue out at the mistress. She took up the thimble, and wanted to get hold of him, but little Thumbling hopped into the cloth, and while the mistress was opening it out and looking for him, he got into a crevice in the table. "Ho, ho, lady mistress," cried he, and thrust his head out, and when she began to strike him he leapt down into the drawer. At last, however, she caught him and drove him out of the house.
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." - "Hollo," cried one of them, "thou giant Goliath, wilt thou go to the treasure-chamber with us? Thou canst slip thyself in and throw out the money." Thumbling reflected a while, and at length he said, "yes," and went with them to the treasure-chamber. Then he looked at the doors above and below, to see if there was any crack in them. It was not long before he espied one which was broad enough to let him in. He was therefore about to get in at once, but one of the two sentries who stood before the door, observed him, and said to the other, "What an ugly spider is creeping there; I will kill it." - "Let the poor creature alone," said the other; "it has done thee no harm." Then Thumbling got safely through the 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 he went away again, and said to the sentries, "Be on the watch, some one is after the money." When therefore Thumbling recommenced his labours, they heard the money moving, and a sound of klink, klink, klink. They ran swiftly in to seize the thief, but the little tailor, who heard them coming, was still swifter, and leapt into a corner and covered himself with a thaler, so that nothing could be seen of him, and at the same time he mocked the sentries and cried, "Here am I!" The sentries ran thither, but as they got there, he had already hopped into another corner under a thaler, and was crying, "Ho, ho, here am I!" The watchmen sprang there in haste, but Thumbling had long ago got into a third corner, and was crying, "Ho, ho, here am I!" And thus he made fools of them, and drove them so long round about the treasure-chamber that they were weary and went away. Then by degrees he 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. "Thou art a valiant hero," said they; "wilt thou be our captain?"

Thumbling, however, declined, and said he wanted to see the world first. They now divided the booty, but the little tailor only asked for a kreuzer because he could not carry more.

Then he once more buckled on his sword, bade the robbers goodbye, and took to the road. First, he went to work with some masters, but he had no liking for that, and at last 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, and he told their master and mistress what they had taken off the plates, and carried away out of the cellar, for themselves. Then said they, "Wait, and we will pay thee off!" and arranged with each other to play him a trick. Soon afterwards when one of the maids was mowing in the garden, and saw Thumbling jumping about and creeping up and down the plants, she mowed him up quickly with the grass, tied all in a great cloth, and secretly threw it to the cows. Now amongst them there was a great black one, who swallowed him down without hurting him. Down below, however, it pleased him ill, for it was quite dark, neither was any candle burning. When the cow was being milked he cried,

"Strip, strap, strull,
Will the pail soon be full?"
But the noise of the milking prevented his being understood. After this the master of the house came into the cow-byre and said, "That cow shall be killed to-morrow." Then Thumbling was so alarmed that he cried out in a clear voice, "Let me out first, for I am shut up inside her." The master heard that quite well, but did not know from whence the voice came. "Where art thou?" asked he. "In the black one," answered Thumbling, but the master did not understand what that meant, and went out.
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-meat. And when the butcher came in and began his work, he cried out with all his might, "Don't chop too deep, don't chop too deep, I am amongst it." No one heard this because of the noise of the chopping-knife. Now poor Thumbling was in trouble, but trouble sharpens the wits, and he sprang out so adroitly between the blows that none of them touched him, and he escaped with a whole skin. But still he could not get away, there was nothing for it but to let himself be thrust into a black-pudding with the bits of bacon. His quarters there were rather confined, and besides that he was hung up in the chimney to be smoked, and there time did hang terribly heavy on his hands.

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 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 right," answered the fox. "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." - "With all my heart," replied Thumbling. "Thou shalt have all the cocks and hens, that I promise thee." Then the fox let him go again, and himself carried him home. 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!"
Der var engang en skrædder, som havde en søn, der ikke var større end en tomme, og derfor blev kaldt Tomling. Men mod i brystet havde han, og en dag sagde han til sin far: "Jeg vil ud og se mig om i verden." - "Det var ret, min søn," sagde den gamle, tog en lang stoppenål, satte en klat lak på enden og sagde: "Der har du et sværd med på vejen." Den lille fyr ville spise hjemme endnu en gang, før han drog af sted, og løb ud i køkkenet for at se, hvad de skulle have til middag. Gryden stod allerede på komfuret. "Hvad skal vi have at spise i dag?" spurgte Tomling. "Se selv," svarede moderen. Tomling kravlede nu op på komfuret og kiggede ned i gryden, men strakte hals, så dampen fra gryden løftede ham op og bar ham ud igennem skorstenen. I nogen tid svævede han i luften, men omsider sank han ned på jorden. Nu var den lille ude i den vide verden, og da han havde flakket om i nogen tid, tog han tjeneste hos en skrædder, men han syntes slet ikke om den mad, han fik der. "Hvis vi ikke får noget bedre at spise," sagde han til konen, " skriver jeg i morgen med kridt på døren: "For mange kartofler, for lidt kød. Farvel, kartoffelkonge." - "Hvad snakker du om, din spirrevip," sagde konen vredt, tog en lap og slog efter ham, men han smuttede ind under et fingerbøl, og sad der og kiggede ud og rakte tunge af hende. Hun tog fingerbøllet bort og ville gribe ham, men han hoppede ind imellem lapperne, og da hun tog dem bort, sprang han ned i bordsprækken. "Æ bæ," råbte han og stak hovedet op, og da hun ville slå ham, krøb han ned i skuffen. Langt om længe fik hun dog fat på ham og jagede ham på porten.

Den lille skrædder begyndte igen sin vandring og kom ind i en stor skov, hvor han mødte en flok røvere, som var på vej til kongens skatkammer. Da de så skrædderen, tænkte de: "Den lille fyr kan være til stor nytte for os, han kan kravle ind gennem nøglehullet. Halløj," råbte de til ham, "du store Goliath, vil du med til kongens skattekammer? Du kan krybe derind og kaste guldet ud til os." Tomling betænkte sig lidt, men sagde så ja og gik med dem. Da de kom til skattekammeret, undersøgte han døren for at finde en revne, han kunne slippe igennem, og til sidst fandt han en, der var bred nok. Men den ene af skildvagterne ved døren fik øje på ham og sagde til den anden: "Sikken en væmmelig edderkop. Jeg træder den ihjel." - "Lad dog det stakkels dyr krybe," sagde den anden, "det har jo ikke gjort dig noget." Tomling slap da lykkelig og vel ind i værelset, lukkede vinduet op og kastede den ene daler efter den anden ud til røverne. Men allerbedst som han var i færd med det, hørte han kongen komme og gemte sig i hast i en krog. Kongen kunne nok se, at der manglede en del guld, men kunne ikke begribe, hvem der havde stjålet det, for alle låse og slåer var hele. Da han gik sin vej, sagde han til vagten: "Pas godt på. Der har været en eller anden i lag med guldet." Da Tomling igen tog fat på sit arbejde, hørte de pengene derinde rasle, men før de fik døren lukket op, var skrædderen smuttet hen i en krog. Det var dem ikke muligt at finde nogen, og Tomling sad i sit skjul og drillede dem og råbte: "Her er jeg," så de fløj efter lyden. Men han var for længe siden i en helt anden krog, og sådan blev han ved, til de var så trætte, at de opgav at søge videre. Så kastede han resten af pengene ud af vinduet, den sidste daler slyngede han af al magt og sprang så selv op på den og slap på den måde ud af vinduet. Røverne kunne ikke blive trætte af at rose ham og spurgte ham til sidst, om han ville være deres anfører. Tomling takkede for æren, men sagde, han ville først se sig om i verden. Derpå delte de byttet, men skrædderen tog kun et ganske lille guldstykke med sig. Det var alt, hvad han kunne bære.

Da han igen havde spændt sin kårde om livet sagde han farvel til røverne og begav sig på vej. Han tog arbejde hos nogle mestre, men det var ikke efter hans hovede, og til sidst tog han tjeneste som karl i en gæstgivergård. Men pigerne kunne ikke lide at han så let kunne komme bag på dem, uden at de mærkede det, og kunne passe på alt, hvad de gjorde, og fortælle herskabet, hvis de engang imellem stak lidt til sig. "Vi skal nok komme ham til livs," sagde de, og aftalte, at de ville spille ham et puds. En dag, da pigen slog græs ude i haven, og Tomling sprang frem og tilbage foran hende, fik hun fat i ham, da hun samlede græsset sammen, og bandt i en fart det hele ind i et tørklæde. Derpå lagde hun det ud til køerne, og en stor sort en åd Tomling uden at gøre ham den mindste fortræd. Men han syntes slet ikke om at være i koens mave, hvor der hverken var luft eller lys. Da pigen kom for at malke den, råbte han:

"Malk nu i en fart,
Så du er færdig snart,"

men der var ingen, der hørte det. Lidt efter kom manden ind i stalden og sagde, at den sorte ko skulle slagtes. Tomling blev bange og råbte højt: "Lad mig først komme ud." Manden hørte det nok, men vidste ikke, hvor stemmen kom fra. "Hvor er du?" spurgte han. "Jeg sidder inde i den sorte," råbte Tomling, men manden kunne ikke forstå, hvad det skulle betyde, og gik sin vej.

Den næste morgen blev koen slagtet. Men heldigvis traf ingen af snittene Tomling. Derimod kom han ind imellem det kød, der skulle laves pølser af. Da slagteren kom til og begyndte at hakke, skreg han af alle livsens kræfter: "Ikke så dybt, ikke så dybt, jeg ligger jo hernede." Men hakkekniven gjorde sådan et spektakel, at ingen hørte ham. Det kneb nu for den stakkels Tomling at bjærge sig, men han slap dog helskindet fra det. Enten han peb eller skreg, blev han derpå puttet i en blodpølse. Der var kun meget lidt plads til at røre sig, og så blev han ovenikøbet hængt op ved skorstenen for at tørres. Først om vinteren blev han taget ned for at spises, og nu gjaldt det om at tage sig i agt for kniven. Men lige i rette tid sprang han ud af pølsen og løb straks sin vej.

I det hus, hvor han havde lidt så meget, ville han dog ikke blive længere. Hans frihed varede imidlertid ikke længe. Ude på marken var der en ræv, der snappede ham. "Rare, lille ræv," råbte han, så højt han kunne, "kender du mig ikke? Lad mig slippe fri igen." - "Det kunne der være noget i," sagde ræven, "du er dog så lille, at jeg ikke kan have videre glæde af dig. Men får jeg så alle din fars høns?" - "Det lover jeg dig," råbte Tomling, "du skal få dem allesammen." Ræven bar ham nu selv hjem til hans forældres hus, og da hans far så ham, blev han så glad, at han gerne gav ræven alle sine høns. "Jeg har også noget godt med til dig," sagde Tomling og gav ham det lille guldstykke, han havde taget i skattekammeret.

"Men hvorfor gav du ræven alle de små høns?" spurgte han lidt efter. "Dit lille tossehovede," svarede faderen og kyssede ham, "du kan da nok forstå, at du er mere værd for mig end hele min hønsegård."

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