Once upon a time, there lived a lonely old woman who longed for a child. One day, a friendly witch provided her with a magic grain. She planted it, and a tulip sprouted, unfolding to reveal a thumb-sized little girl. The old woman was delighted and named the little girl Thumbelina.
Thumbelina slept in a walnut shell with a blanket of rose petals. One night, an ugly toad saw her through the window, was enamored by her beauty, and decided she would make the perfect wife for her son. While Thumbelina slept, the toad kidnapped her and left her on a lily pad in the middle of a river to introduce her to her toad son.
However, Thumbelina realized the toad’s plan and cried herself to sleep. A friendly swallow flew by, heard Thumbelina’s cries, and rescued her. Thumbelina thanked the swallow and they quickly became friends.
Thumbelina spent the summer in fields, living off berries and dewdrops. One day, she was discovered by a beetle, who took her away to show off to his friends. The beetle friends found her too different, and the disappointed beetle dropped Thumbelina back in the field.
Winter approached, and Thumbelina made herself a house inside a wheat stalk. However, she was soon discovered by a field mouse, who invited Thumbelina to come live with her in her warm burrow. There, she met a blind mole, who wanted to marry Thumbelina. The field mouse encouraged this, but the thought of living underground forever terrified Thumbelina.
Before she could be forced to marry the mole, her friend the swallow returned, offering her a chance to escape. Thumbelina climbed onto the swallow’s back and they flew away to a far-off land of flowers.
There, Thumbelina met a tiny flower-fairy prince, who was as tiny as her. They fell in love, and the prince proposed to her. Thumbelina happily accepted. The prince gave her a pair of wings to accompany her new title as a flower-fairy princess, and they lived happily ever after.
The tale of Thumbelina reminds us that, no matter one’s size, everyone has the capacity to experience grand adventures and find their place in the world.