Little Tiny or Thumbelina
Once there was a woman who desired to have a baby, but she couldn’t make it happen. Finally, the woman went to see a fairy and asked, “I really want a baby. Can you please help me find one?”
The fairy said, “No problem! Take this special barleycorn, which is different from the ones that chickens eat or grow on farms. Put it in a flowerpot and see what happens.”
The woman thanked the fairy and gave her twelve shillings, which was the cost of the special barleycorn. She went back home and planted the barleycorn. Suddenly, a big and beautiful flower started growing, which looked a bit like a tulip, but with its leaves tightly closed as if it were still a young bud. The woman said, “Wow, what a pretty flower!” She gave a kiss to the red and golden leaves of the flower, and as she did, the flower blossomed. She realized that it was a real tulip. Inside the flower, on top of the soft green stamens, there was a very fragile and elegant little girl sitting. The little girl was so tiny that she was not even half as big as a thumb. They called her “Thumbelina” or “Tiny” because she was incredibly small. Thumbelina’s bed was made from blue-violet leaves and covered with a soft rose-leaf blanket. She slept in a tiny walnut shell that was polished beautifully. Thumbelina slept in her little bed at night, but during the day she played on a table. The woman had put a plate of water on the table for her to enjoy. There were pretty flower garlands around the plate of water, and their stems were in the water. A big tulip leaf floated on the water, and Thumbelina used it as a boat to sail around on the plate. The little girl sat on the tulip leaf and used two white horsehair oars to row herself from one side of the plate to the other. It was a very lovely and charming sight to watch her rowing around. Tiny had a very soft and sweet voice, and she could sing beautifully. No one had ever heard such lovely singing before. One night, while Thumbelina was sleeping in her cozy bed made of flower leaves, a big, ugly, and wet toad crawled inside through a broken window and jumped onto the table where she was sleeping. The toad looked at Thumbelina and thought, “She would make a pretty wife for my son.” Then, the toad picked up the walnut shell in which Thumbelina was sleeping and jumped out of the window with it, taking her into the garden.
The toad and her son lived near a wide stream in the garden, in a damp area called the swamp. The son of the toad was even uglier than his mother. When he saw the beautiful little girl in her lovely bed, all he could say was, “Croak, croak, croak.”
The toad said, “Shh, don’t talk so loudly or you’ll wake her up. She might run away because she is very light like a swan’s feather. Let’s put her on a water-lily leaf in the stream, which will be like an island for her because she’s so small, and she won’t be able to escape. While she’s there, we’ll quickly prepare the room under the marsh where you and she will live when you get married.”
There were some water lilies that grew far away from the shore in the stream. They had big green leaves that looked like they were floating on the surface of the water. The toad saw a big water-lily leaf, which was further away than the other leaves. She took the walnut shell with Tiny in it and swam towards that leaf.