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scarce ever spoke a word


"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite polite-like.19 "Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast?" For he hadn’t had anything to eat, you know, the night before and was as hungry as a hunter.

"It’s breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman, "it’s breakfast you’ll be if you don’t move off from here. My man is an ogre20 and there’s nothing he likes better than boys broiled on toast. You’d better be moving on or he’ll soon be coming."

"Oh! please, mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I’ve had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says Jack. "I may as well be broiled as die of hunger."THERE was, once upon a time, a man and his wife fagot-makers2 by trade, who had several children, all boys. The eldest was but ten years old, and the youngest only seven.3

They were very poor, and their seven children4 incommoded them greatly, because not one of them was able to earn his bread. That which gave them yet more uneasiness was that the youngest was of a very puny constitution, and , which made them take that for stupidity which was a sign of good sense. He was very little, and when born no bigger than one's thumb, which made him be called Little Thumb.1

The poor child bore the blame of whatsoever was done amiss in the house, and, guilty or not, was always in the wrong;5 he was, notwithstanding, more cunning and had a far greater share of wisdom than all his brothers put together; and, if he spake little, he heard and thought the more.
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