Tom Thumb

   This is the English version of an international humorous *fairytale in which a woman's wish to have a son 'even if he is no bigger than my husband's thumb' is literally granted - in this case, by *Merlin. Tom receives magic gifts from his godmother the Fairy Queen, but his tiny size leads to many mishaps, as when he falls into a pudding, is carried off by a raven, is swallowed by a grazing cow, a fish, a giant, and so on. The earliest surviving version appeared in 1621 and is probably by a popular pamphleteer, Richard Johnson (1573-?1659); however, earlier references to the hero by name show that he was already known in the 1570s. Johnson's humour is mildly coarse; Tom makes his exit from the cow via a cowpat, and causes such 'rumbling and tumbling' in the giant's guts that the latter vomits him 'at least three miles into the sea'. Later versions were made more 'suitable' for children; some end with Tom dying heroically in battle with a spider.
   His name was used by early publishers of children's verses, for instance Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book (1744) and The Famous Tommy Thumb's Little Story-Book (c.1760); at this period 'Tommy Thumb songs' was the usual English term for *nursery rhymes.
   The full text of the 1621 pamphlet, with a commentary, is in Opie and Opie, 1974: 30-3; it is also edited by C. F. Buhler, The History of Tom Thumbe (1965).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Tom Thumb — is a traditional hero in English folklore who is no bigger than his father s thumb. Various allusions to Tom Thumb are included in sixteenth century works; in his Discovery of Witchcraft , Reginald Scot includes Tom Thumbe in a list of folkloric… …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Thumb — Tom Pouce Tom Pouce Tom Pouce[1] est un héros du folklore britannique dont la taille n excédait pas celle du pouce de son père …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tom Thumb — Anzahl: 1 Hersteller: Canton Eisenwerk bei Baltimore Baujahr(e): 1830 Ausmusterung: 1830 Achsformel: 1A Länge: 4 m (freier Nachbau) Höhe: 3,9 m (freier Nachbau) Höchst …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tom Thumb — a character in a ↑fairy tale (=a story for children in which magical things happen) who was only as big as a person s thumb …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Tom Thumb — Tom′ Thumb′ n. 1) myt a diminutive hero of folk tales 2) an extremely small person; dwarf …   From formal English to slang

  • Tom Thumb — n. a tiny hero of many English folk tales …   English World dictionary

  • Tom thumb — Les Aventures de Tom Pouce Les Aventures de Tom Pouce Le chêne, début du conte... Titre original tom thumb Réalisation George Pál …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tom Thumb — noun The fictional character who is no bigger than his fathers thumb and is the protagonist and hero of the fairy tale The History of Tom Thumb …   Wiktionary

  • Tom Thumb — Willow Wil low, n. [OE. wilowe, wilwe, AS. wilig, welig; akin to OD. wilge, D. wilg, LG. wilge. Cf. {Willy}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) Any tree or shrub of the genus {Salix}, including many species, most of which are characterized often used as… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tom Thumb — I. /tɒm ˈθʌm/ (say tom thum) noun 1. a diminutive hero of folk tales. 2. a diminutive man; a dwarf. 3. (lower case) a very small cracker (cracker1 def. 2). 4. a small greyish cicada. II. /tɒm ˈθʌm/ (say tom thum) noun a small open boat in which… …   Australian English dictionary

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