By Fedor Flinzer. Freely translated by J.H. Ewing.
Dear children, listen whilst I tell
What to a certain Elf befell,
Who left his house and sallied forth
Adventure seeking, south and north,
And west and east, by path and field,
Resolved to conquer or to yield.
A thimble on his back he carried,
With a rose-twig his foes he parried.
It was a sunny, bright, spring day,
When to the wood he took his way;
He knew that in a certain spot
A Bumble Bee his nest had got.
The Bee was out, the chance was good,
But just when grabbing all he could,
He heard the Bee behind him humming,
And only wished he'd heard him coming!
In terror turned the tiny man,
And now a famous fight began:
The Bee flew round, and buzzed and stung,
The Elf his prickly rose-staff swung.
Now fiercely here, now wildly there,
He hit the Bee or fought the air.
At last one weighty blow descended:
The Bee was dead--the fight was ended.
Exhausted quite, he took a seat.
The honey tasted doubly sweet!
The thimble-full had been upset,
But still there were a few drops yet.
He licked his lips and blessed himself,
That he was such a lucky Elf,
And now might hope to live in clover;
But, ah! his troubles were not over!
For at that instant, by his side,
A beast of fearful form he spied:
At first he thought it was a bear,
And headlong fell in dire despair.
He lost one slipper in the moss,
And this was not his only loss.
With paws and snout the beast was nimble,
And very soon cleared out the thimble.
This rifling of his honey-pot
Awoke our Elfin's wrath full hot.
He made a rope of linden bast,
By either end he held it fast,
And creeping up behind the beast,
Intent upon the honey feast,
Before it had the slightest inkling,
The rope was round it in a twinkling.
The mouse shrieked "Murder!" "Fire!" and "Thieves!"
And struggled through the twigs and leaves.
It pulled the reins with all its might,
Our hero only drew them tight.
Upon the mouse's back he leapt,
And like a man his seat he kept.
His steed was terribly affrighted,
But he himself was much delighted.
"Gee up, my little horse!" he cried,
"I mean to have a glorious ride;
So bear me forth with lightning speed,
A Knight resolved on doughty deed.
The wide world we will gallop round,
And clear the hedges at one bound."
The mouse set off, the hero bantered,
And out into the world they cantered.
At last they rode up to an inn:
"Good Mr. Host, pray who's within?"
"My daughter serves the customers,
Before the fire the Tom-cat purrs."
For further news they did not wait--
The mouse sprang through the garden-gate--
They fled without a look behind them.
The question is--Did Thomas find them?