Little Thumkin’s Good Deed
Thumbkins lived in a tiny, cozy little house right down beneath a mushroom. The tiny, little house was made of cobwebs which Thumbkins had gathered from the bushes and weeds. These he had woven together with thistle-down, making the nicest little nest imaginable.
One day Thumbkins was passing through the meadow and it began to rain. “Dear me! I shall get soaking wet!” Thumbkins cried as he hurried along.
A mamma meadow-lark, sitting upon her nest, saw Thumbkins running and called to him: “Come here, little man, and get beneath my wing and I will keep you warm and dry!”
So Thumbkins crawled beneath Mamma Meadow-Lark’s wings and, snuggling down close to the bottom of the meadow-lark’s nest, he found three tiny little baby meadow-larks. It was too dark for Thumbkins to see them, but he felt that the baby Meadow-Larks were as warm as toast.
Thumbkins kept very quiet, for the baby meadow-larks were sleepy little fellows, and before he knew it Thumbkins was sound asleep himself, with an arm around one of the baby birds.
Thumbkins did not know how long he had been asleep, but when he awakened the rain had ceased. Thumbkins knew it had stopped raining for he could no longer hear the rain drops pattering upon Mamma Meadow-Lark’s back. So now he climbed out of the nest and looked about.
The ground about the Meadow-Lark’s nest was covered with tiny puddles, and Mamma Meadow-Lark was soaking wet. She looked very uncomfortable. Her feathers stuck out in all directions and a drop of water fell from her head and rolled down her beak.
Thumbkins thought at first Mamma Meadow-Lark was crying, and he said: “Are you cold, Mamma Meadow-Lark?”
“Yes, indeed!” Mamma Meadow-Lark replied as she shook her ruffled feathers, sending the water flying in all directions.
“But, you see,” she continued, “if I did not cover my baby Meadow-Lark chicks they would get very, very cold, for they have little bald heads with not a single feather upon them to protect them! So, while I get wet, it does not matter so much, for I know I have kept my little Meadow-Lark chicks dry and warm and cozy and that, of course, makes me very happy! And I had the pleasure of keeping you warm and dry, too!” Mamma Meadow-Lark added.
“Perhaps Mamma Meadow-Lark is very happy inside!” Thumbkins thought to himself as he stood and looked at her. “But she does not look very happy with such wet feathers.”
“I thank you ever and ever so much, Mamma Meadow-Lark!” Thumbkins said.
“You are indeed very welcome,” Mamma Meadow-Lark replied, “and any time it rains you can come back to my nest and crawl beneath my wing and keep warm and dry. For you are tiny and do not take up much room!”
Thumbkins thanked Mamma Meadow-Lark again, and told her of his nice warm cozy little nest beneath the mushroom. “It is always nice and dry there,” he said, “for the rain runs right off the mushroom and does not touch my little cobweb home!”
That night as he lay in his little thistle-down bed, Thumbkins heard it thundering. “I’m very glad that I haven’t a home built right out upon the bare ground like the meadow-larks!” he said. And as the thunder grew louder, Thumbkins turned over and tried to go to sleep.
Presently the raindrops began to patter on the round top of the mushroom and “drip-dropped” to the ground without getting Thumbkins’ little house the least bit wet. Usually when it rained, the patter of the raindrops upon his mushroom roof lulled Thumbkins right to sleep, but tonight Thumbkins lay wide awake and thought and thought.
“I can’t go to sleep!” Thumbkins said, so he hopped out of his warm little bed and lit his tiny lantern. Then, though it was raining ever so hard, he pulled his little hat well down on his head and ran out into the storm.
Yes! There was Mamma Meadow-Lark sitting upon her nest with her head tucked under her wing, sound asleep. But when he held his tiny lantern close, Thumbkins could see that she shivered as the cold raindrops splashed upon her back.
So Thumbkins ran to the woods where he knew the mushrooms grew, and breaking off the largest one he could find he carried it to where Mamma Meadow-Lark sat sleeping upon her nest, and planted it so the raindrops rolled off the round roof and did not touch her at all.
Then, shivering himself, for he was soaking wet, he ran home as fast as he could, took off his dripping clothes, put on his little pajamas, and climbed into his warm little cozy cobweb bed.
Now of course Thumbkins was happy because he had helped another, and when a person is happy there is nothing to worry about, and when there is nothing to worry about, of course there is nothing to keep one awake.
So Thumbkins fell fast asleep and dreamed the most pleasant dreams.
And they were such happy dreams Thumbkins slept until almost half-past eight the next morning.
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