Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/49

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37
THUMBELINA

summer,' she thought. 'How much pleasure he gave me, the dear beautiful bird!'

The Mole now closed up the hole through which the daylight shone in, and accompanied the ladies home. But at night Thumbelina could not sleep at all; so she got up out of her bed, and wove a large beautiful carpet of hay, and carried it and spread it over the dead bird, and laid soft cotton, which she had found in the Field Mouse's room, at the bird's sides, so that he might lie warm in the cold ground.

'Farewell, you pretty little bird!' said she. 'Farewell! and thanks to you for your beautiful song in the summer, when all the trees were green, and the sun shone down warmly upon us.' And then she laid her head on the bird's breast, but at once was greatly startled, for it felt as if something were beating inside there. That was the bird's heart. The bird was not dead; he was only lying there torpid with cold; and now he had been warmed, and came to life again.

In autumn all the swallows fly away to warm countries, but if one happens to be belated, it becomes so cold that it falls down as if dead, and lies where it falls, and then the cold snow covers it.

Thumbelina fairly trembled, she was so startled; for the bird was large, very large, compared with her, who was only an inch in height. But she took courage, laid the cotton closer round the poor bird, and brought a leaf of mint that she had used as her own coverlet, and laid it over the bird's head.

The next night she crept out to him again—and now he was alive, but quite weak; he could only open his eyes for a moment, and look at Thumbelina, who stood before him with a bit of decayed wood in her hand, for she had no other lantern.

'I thank you, you pretty little child,' said the sick Swallow; 'I have been famously warmed. Soon I shall get my strength back again, and I shall be able to fly about in the warm sunshine.'

'Oh,' she said, 'it is so cold without. It snows and freezes. Stay in your warm bed, and I will nurse you.'

Then she brought the Swallow water in the petal of