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~By Hans Christian Andersen~

Once upon a time.. there lived a woman who
had no children. She dreamed of having a
little girl, but time went by, and her
dream never came true.

She then went to visit a witch, who gave
her a magic grain of barley. She planted
it in a flower pot. And the very next day,
the grain had turned into a lovely flower,
rather like a tulip. The woman softly kissed
its half-shut petals. And as though by magic,
the flower opened in full blossom. Inside
sat a tiny girl, no bigger than a thumb.
The woman called her Thumbelina.

For a bed she had a walnut shell, violet
petals for her mattress and a rose petal
blanket. In the daytime, she played in a
tulip petal boat, floating on a plate
of water. Using two horse hairs as oars,
Thumbelina sailed around her little lake,
singing and singing in a gentle sweet voice.

Then one night, as she lay fast asleep in
her walnut shell, a large frog hopped through
a hole in the window pane. As she gazed down
at Thumbelina, she said to herself:
"How pretty she is! She'd make the perfect
bride for my own dear son!"

She picked up Thumbelina, walnut shell
and all, and hopped into the garden.
Nobody saw her go. Back at the pond,
her fat ugly son, who always did as mother
told him, was pleased with her choice.
But mother frog was afraid that her pretty
prisoner might run away. So she carried
Thumbelina out to a water lily leaf ln the
middle of the pond.
"She can never escape us now," said
the frog to her son.
"And we have plenty of time to prepare
a new home for you and your bride."

Thumbelina was left all alone. She felt
so desperate. She knew she would never
be able to escape the fate that awaited
her with the two horrid fat frogs. All
she could do was cry her eyes out.

However, one or two minnows who had been
enjoying the shade below the water lily
leaf, had overheard the two frogs talking,
and the little girl's bitter sobs.
They decided to do something about it.

So they nibbled away at the lily stem till
it broke and drifted away in the weak current.
A dancing butterfly had an idea:
"Throw me the end of your belt! I'll help
you to move a little faster!" Thumbelina
gratefully did so, and the leaf soon
floated away from the frog pond.

But other dangers lay ahead. A large beetle
snatched Thumbelina with his strong feet
and took her away to his home at the top
of a leafy tree.
"Isn't she pretty?" he said to his friends.
But they pointed out that she was far too
different. So the beetle took her down the
tree and set her free.

It was summertime, and Thumbelina wandered
all by herself amongst the flowers and
through the long grass. She had pollen for
her meals and drank the dew.

Then the rainy season came, bringing
nasty weather. The poor child found it
hard to find food and shelter. When
winter set in, she suffered from the
cold and felt terrible pangs of hunger.

One day, as Thumbelina roamed helplessly
over the bare meadows, she met a large
spider who promised to help her. He took
her to a hollow tree and guarded the door
with a stout web. Then he brought her some
dried chestnuts and called his friends
to come and admire her beauty.

But just like the beetles, all the other
spiders persuaded Thumbelina's rescuer to
let her go. Crying her heart out, and quite
certain that nobody wanted her because she
was ugly, Thumbelina left the spider's house.

As she wandered, shivering with the cold,
suddenly she came across a solid little
cottage, made of twigs and dead leaves.
Hopefully, she knocked on the door.
It was opened by a field mouse.

"What are you doing outside in this weather?"
he asked. "Come in and warm yourself."
Comfortable and cozy, the field mouse's
home was stocked with food.
For her keep, Thumbelina did the housework
and told the mouse stories.

One day, the field mouse said a friend
was coming to visit them.
"He's a very rich mole, and has a lovely house.
He wears a splendid black fur coat, but he's
dreadfully shortsighted. He needs company
and he'd like to marry you!"

Thumbelina did not relish the idea.
However, when the mole came, she sang
sweetly to him and he fell head over
heels in love. The mole invited Thumbelina
and the field mouse to visit him, but..
to their surprise and horror, they came
upon a swallow in the tunnel. It looked
dead. Mole nudged it with his foot, saying:

"That'll teach her! She should have come
underground instead of darting about the
sky all summer!"
Thumbelina was so shocked by such cruel
words that later, she crept back unseen
to the tunnel.

And every day, the little girl went to nurse
the swallow and tenderly give it food.
In the meantime, the swallow told Thumbelina
its tale.

Jagged by a thorn, it had been unable to
follow its companions to a warmer climate.
"It's kind of you to nurse me," it told
Thumbelina. But, in spring, the swallow
flew away, after offering to take the
little girl with it.

All summer,Thumbelina did her best to
avoid marrying the mole. The little girl
thought fearfully of how she'd have to
live underground forever.

On the eve of her wedding, she asked to
spend a day in the open air. As she gently
fingered a flower, she heard a familiar song:
"Winter's on its way and I'll be off to
warmer lands. Come with me!" Thumbelina
quickly clung to her swallow friend,
and the bird soared into the sky.

They flew over plains and hills till they
reached a country of flowers. The swallow
gently laid Thumbelina in a blossom.
There she met a tiny, white-winged fairy:
the King of the Flower Fairies.

Instantly, he asked her to marry him.
Thumbelina eagerly said "yes", and sprouting
tiny white wings, she became the Flower Queen!

Remembering All Abused Children
Throughout the World
Who Need Our Prayers Daily..


Hans Christian Andersen

"New Fairy Tales" Online By Rosemary Lake

"Tales From Oban..The Knowledge Keeper"
Of Animals..Myths And Legends..

"Campfire Stories"..Ghost Stories,
Indian Legends and Tales Of The Outdoors

"Eldrbarry's Stories"..Many, Many Stories,
Including Some Christmas And Religous Ones


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