There was once a couple who were lonely and wished for a child, even one as big as their thumb. Well, they eventually had a son no bigger than a thumb, and they named him Tom Thumb. One day, his father went off to cut wood and wished someone would bring the cart to him. Tom Thumb said he’d sit in the horse’s ear and guide the horse to his father.
On the road, they passed two men who were surprised to see a horse pulling a cart “without” a driver. So they followed it. When they reached where his father was cutting wood, Tom’s father took him out of the horse’s ear and set him on a stump.
The two men figured they could show off Tom in town and make money, so they tried to buy him. His father said “No,” but Tom told him he might as well, but that he would return.
So the two men paid his father and took Tom. But when the men stopped at dusk in a field, Tom ran off and hid in a mouse hole. The men couldn’t find him and eventually they had to leave.
Later that night, Tom heard two other men walking by planning a robbery. Tom piped up saying he would help them. They were surprised, but agreed to take him. They took him to the house and he slipped into the room with the gold and silver. But then he started talking loudly, which woke a maid.
When the maid went to look to see who was talking, the robbers ran off so as not to be caught, and Tom slipped into the barn. He slept in some hay, and the next morning the hay was fed to a cow who swallowed Tom whole. He cried out from the cow’s stomach, and the maid who was milking the cow figured the cow was talking.
The master figured the cow was possessed, so he had it killed and the stomach was thrown on a dung hill. Before Tom could work his way out of it, a wolf came by and ate it.
So Tom told the wolf where he could get a good meal – his parent’s storehouse. So the wolf crept in and ate his fill, but then he was too fat to squeeze back out. Tom made a great noise and woke his father. His father killed the wolf and let Tom out so the family was reunited again.