Tom


    1. Tom a'Lincoln
      Red Rose Knight

      The illegitimate son of Arthur, known as the Red Rose Knight. His mother was called Angelica. He was raised by a shepherd and Arthur made him a commander in the army, in which capacity he defeated the Portuguese. He had a natural son (called the Faerie Knight) by Caelia, the Fairy Queen. Tom went to the realm of Prester John and eloped with Anglitora, the daughter of that monarch, and they had a son called the Black Knight.

      When Anglitora discovered Tom was illegitimate, she left him and became the mistress of the lord of a castle and, when Tom arrived, she murdered him. His ghost told the Black Knight all and the latter killed Anglitora. He met the Faerie Knight and they travelled together, eventually coming to England.

      The romance of Tom a' Lincoln was written by Richard Johnston (born 1573; date of death uncertain).


    2. Tom Thumb

      The tiny, adventurous hero whose story appears in the History of Tomb Thumbe (1621), probably written by Richard Johnson. (Tom Thumb was well-known prior to this book; various references appear in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.) On the title page, Tom Thumb is called "King Arthurís dwarfe".

      In the story, he is born when his father, Thomas of the Mountain, Arthurís ploughman, sends his barren wife to seek Merlinís help in conceiving a child - any child, "be hee no bigger then my very Thumbe". Merlin translated Thomasís request literally. Tom Thumbís birth was attended by the Queen of the Fairies and her sprites. He grew to manhood in only four minutes. The fairy queen, who became his godmother, later bestowed upon him a hat which taught him all the worldís knowledge, a girdle which allowed him to change his form at will, a ring that turned him invisible, and a pair of shoes that almost instantly took him wherever he wanted to go.

      Tomís story is full of comical adventures, many of which involve being swallowed - accidentally or deliberately - by various creatures. In one such episode, he was swallowed by a giant, vomited into the ocean, and eaten by a fish, which was caught and served at Arthurís table. Tom was discovered by Arthur, and he so entertained the king that he was appointed a courtier and endowed with great riches.

      Tom Thumb is also the title character of two parodies by Henry Fielding: Tom Thumb and its revision, The Tragedy of Tragedies. Created by Merlin for Gaffar Thumb and his wife, Tom proved himself a noble giant-slayer, for which Arthur rewarded him by betrothing him to his daughter Huncamunca. For Huncamuncaís love, Tom had to contend with both Lord Grizzle, another suitor, and Queen Dollallolla, who loved Tom. He survived a murder attempt only to be eaten by a cow during his wedding procession. In the original version, his spirit arose but was slain by Grizzle.