|The Water Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby to give the book its complete title tells the story of Tom, a young orphan chimney-sweep in Victorian London. Tom is apprenticed to the mean Mr Grimes, who employs such children to work in inhuman and often dangerous conditions, sweeping out the chimneys of large houses. When Tom is assigned to work at Harthover House, a stately mansion, he is dazzled by the luxury and elegance of the place. He stumbles into the bedroom of the daughter of the house and his appearance startles her so much that she “screams like a peacock!” Tom is equally frightened and he rushes out of the house, falls into a river and drowns! But this is only the beginning of a great underwater adventure.