Tom Thumb is a character of English folklore. The History of Tom Thumb was published in 1621, and was the first fairy tale printed in English. Tom is no bigger than his father’s thumb, and his adventures include being swallowed by a cow, tangling with giants, and becoming a favourite of King Arthur. The earliest allusions to Tom occur in various 16th-century works such as Reginald Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), where Tom is cited as one of the supernatural folk employed by servant maids to frighten children. Tattershall in Lincolnshire, England, reputedly has the home and grave of Tom Thumb.
Aside from his own tales, Tom figures in Henry Fielding’s play Tom Thumb, a companion piece to his The Author’s Farce. It was later expanded into a single piece titled The Tragedy of Tragedies, or the History of Tom Thumb the Great.
In the middle 18th century, books began to be published specifically for children (some with their authorship attributed to “Tommy Thumb”) and, by the middle 19th century, Tom was a fixture of the nursery library. Charlotte Yonge cleansed questionable passages and the tale took on moral overtones. Dinah Mulock however refrained from scrubbing the tale of its vulgarities. Tom Thumb’s story has been adapted to several films including the 1958 George Pal musical tom thumb starring Russ Tamblyn. Tiny folkloric characters like Tom are known in cultures around the world.
The tale of Tom Thumb is the first recorded English fairy tale. The earliest surviving text is a 40-page booklet printed in London for Thomas Langley in 1621 entitled “The History of Tom Thumbe, the Little, for his small stature surnamed, King Arthur’s Dwarfe: whose Life and adventures containe many strange and wonderfull accidents,. published for the delight of merry Time-spenders. “The author is presumed to be Londoner Richard Johnson (1579-1659?) because his initials appear on the last page. The only known copy is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
Segundo Víctor Aurelio Chomón y Ruiz (also Chomont or Chaumont, French: [ʃomɔ]; 17 October 1871 – 2 May 1929) was a pioneering Spanish film director, cinematographer and screenwriter. He produced many short films in France while working for Pathé Frères and has been compared to Georges Méliès, due to his frequent camera tricks and optical illusions. He is regarded as the most significant Spanish silent film director in an international context.
Director: Segundo de Chomón
Writers: Charles Perrault, Segundo de Chomón
Production Co: Pathé Frères