My husband thinks that we should leave our little boys in the forest when they’re out tying fagots tomorrow. I can’t do it! Yet, we’re so desperately poor. Not one of them is old enough to earn a living. The youngest is puny, and he hardly ever speaks a word. When he was born, he was no bigger than my thumb. He might fare better than his brothers, though, because while he always takes the blame, he’s cunning. And when he speaks, he always has something to say.
How can I leave my darlings in the woods to fend for themselves? But if we keep them here, we’ll be reduced to eating one another! I went to bed in tears. Pray that little Tom Thumb will arise as their leader!
Tom Thumb’s Mother in Tom Thumb, Blue Fairy Book. Illustration by Gustave Dore.