(Image is from here)
Long long ago there was a woman who wanted to have a kid very much. But she couldn’t obtain her wish, so she went to a witch. “I wish to have a kid very much. Can you help me?” She asked the witch. “That can be easily managed,” said the witch, “here is a special kind of barleycorn. Put it in your flower pot and see what will happen.” The witch handed the woman a barleycorn and the woman gave the witch twelve shillings as the price for the barleycorn.
The woman hurried home and planted the barleycorn seed to her flower pot. Immediately the seed sprouted and grew bigger and bigger with a beautiful flower on the top. The flower looked like a tulip bud with its leaves closely tight. “What a beautiful flower!” the woman said happily. She couldn’t help kissing the flower. While she did so, the flower opened. In the flower, on the green velvet stamens sat a delicate and graceful little maiden. The woman was delighted. Since the maiden was about half an adult thumb tall, they called her Thumberlina, or Little Tiny.
Thumberlina lived a happy life at the woman’s house. In the day time, she entertained herself by rowing a boat in a plate full of water, which the woman placed on a table for Tiny with wreathes of pretty flowers around the plate. Tiny used a large tulip leaf as her boat and two white horse hairs as the oars. She rowed the boat from side to side of the plate while singing beautiful songs. Her voice was so beautiful that there was nothing like her singing had ever been heard before. In the night time, Tiny slept on blue soft violet leaves which served as her bed. The bed was placed in a cradle made of finely polished walnut shell. Tiny enjoyed her sound sleep and sweet dreams under a rose petal.
One night, however, an old ugly toad crept in through a broken pane of glass in the window. When she saw Tiny she was amazed. “What a beautiful maiden sleeping under the rose petal! She is perfect to be the wife for my son.” So she took the walnut shell where Tiny was sleeping in, and jumped out of the window toward the swamp she lived in.
At the swampy margin of a stream lived the toad and her son. Her son was even uglier than his mother. When he saw the beautiful maiden, he was mostly pleasant, all he could say was to cry: “croak, croak.” “Don’t speak so loud, or you’ll wake her up.” The old toad reminded her son. “Let’s put her on the large water-lily leaf in the middle of the water, which will be like an island for her since she is so tiny, and she could not escape from there. While she is away, we’ll hurry up to prepare the state-room under the marsh, in which you are to live after you and the maiden got married.” The mother toad said. “Croak, croak…” That’s all the younger toad could say. The noise wakened Little Tiny. She opened her eyes and saw two toads in front of her, and she was almost scared to death. “This is
my son, and he will be your husband. We’re going to prepare the bridal chamber. You can just rest on the water-lily leaf.” The mother toad put the cradle, where Little tiny was still sitting in, on the large water-lily leaf, and both the toads left.
Poor Little Tiny found herself on a water-lily leaf in the middle of the water. She was so scared that she began to cry. The golden fish in the stream overheard the conversation between the mother toad and her son, and they were clear about the whole story. Hearing the Little Tiny cry so hard, they felt sorry for her. So they assembled around the water-lily root, and together they bit off the lily stem. Then the water-lily leaf began to float down the stream, carrying Little Tiny far far away.
While Tiny was still floating on the stream, a cockchafer saw her, “what a beautiful lady!” The cockchafer thought. So he flew to the water-lily leaf, took Little
Tiny, and flew back to the tree, where all this cockchafer’s friends gathered. When the female cockchafers saw Little Tiny, they got jealous at her beautiful look. So they all said the opposite:”oh, look, how ugly she is.” “She got two legs, looking like humankind.” “She doesn’t have wings.” When the cockchafer who took Little Tiny in the tree heard his friends’ comments, he lost his opinion, so he said to Tiny,” You look ugly. I don’t want to keep you. You can go wherever you like.”
Tiny had nowhere to go. For a very long time, she lived in the forest near a corn field. She wove herself a bed with blades of grass, and hung it up under a broad leaf, to protect herself from the rain. She sucked the honey from the flowers for food, and drank the dew from their leaves every morning. Although she felt lonely most of the time, she still led a happy life in the forest, especially when the birds sang sweet songs in the morning and evening time.
Then here came winter. The temperature dropped so low. The leaves turned yellow and sere, which became so fragile that Tiny couldn’t use them to wrap around herself without breaking it. Flowers had withered away, and the trees and grass were covered with snow for most of the time. It was extremely hard to find food. Little tiny felt frozen and hungry, she wandered in the corn field, where the corns had been cut long time ago, and there was nothing remained but bare dry stubble standing up out of the frozen land. Suddenly, she spotted a field-mouse hole, which led to a den under the dry stubble.
“May I have something to eat please?” begged Little Tiny miserably, standing at the entrance of the hole, shivering with cold. “Oh, you little poor creature, come on in. You can share with me my meal and drink. ” the field mouse said warmly. In mouse’s den, Tiny had a long drink of water and a hearty meal. She felt satisfied. The mouse’s place was warm and comfortable, with a full roomful of corn, a kitchen, and a beautiful dining room.
“We’ll have a visitor tomorrow. My neighbor mole usually visits me once a week. So tomorrow is the date. He’s wealthy and learned, always wearing a black velvet coat. He has a bigger house than I do. ” The mouse told Tiny. “If you can marry him, you’ll lead a wealthy and comfortable life. He is blind, so you can please him by singing beautiful songs and telling interesting stories.” The mouse continued. Poor Tiny! She had the least interest to marry a mole.
On the next day, the mole came. Tiny sang several beautiful songs and told several interesting stories which she learned from the birds in the forest. The mole was fond of her. But Tiny didn’t like the mole because he spoke slightingly of the sun and flowers.
Soon, the mouse told Tiny that the mole liked her and would like to marry her. The mole had selected a lucky day in the coming fall for the wedding. A gorgeous bridal gown was on the way to be designed and to be sewed. Tiny didn’t want to marry the mole, but she didn’t say anything.
There was a tunnel between the mouse’s house and the mole’s. One day, when the mole visited, he informed the mouse and Tiny that there was a dead bird lying in the tunnel, so they must be very careful not to touch the bird on the way to visit his house. On the day when Tiny and the mouse visited the mole, Tiny saw the poor bird lying in the tunnel. It was a swallow. She felt so sorry for him. “Poor bird! He must miss the opportunity to migrate to warmer countries on time and froze to death,” Tiny thought. She took a small blanket from the mouse’s house and covered the swallow to keep him warm. The next day, Tiny went to see the bird. “thump, thump,” Tiny heard weak voice from the bird’s heart. The bird wasn’t really dead, and he was only benumbed by the cold, and the warmth had restored life back to him. Tiny was delighted. She tucked the blanket tighter so the bird could be kept warmer. She fed water and food to the bird. Slowly, the bird recovered. He was grateful to Tiny for she saved his life. When the bird was able to fly, it was spring again. The bird asked if Tiny would like to go with him. Tiny loved to go, but thinking of the mole and his plan, Tiny hesitated, and eventually she rejected his invitation.
The mole wasn’t happy about what Tiny had done for the bird. He didn’t like swallow, or any other kind of kinds. He didn’t want to get out of his hole unless it was absolutely necessary, because he had no interest of light and flowers at all. He confined Tiny in the hole too to accompany him most of the time.
Time flied. It came the wedding day. In the early morning, Tiny felt so sad, because if she married to the mole, she would live underground most of the time, and she couldn’t enjoy the beautiful sun and flowers. She came to the entrance of the hole, and there grew a tiny yellow flower, flickering in the wind. Tiny whispered to the flower:”farewell, beautiful flower. Please tell the swallow when he comes by some day that I miss him very much.” “Tweet, tweet,” just after Tiny finished her words, Tiny heard the swallow’s greetings overhead. Tiny couldn’t believe her eyes. She was most happy to see him.
“The weather is getting colder and colder, and I’m going to fly south. Would you go with me?” The swallow invited Tiny again heartedly. “Yes, I’ll go with you.” Without hesitation this time, Tiny climbed onto Tiny’s back and sat in between the swings.
The swallow rose in the air, they flew over the big ocean and over numerous mountains. At length, they arrived in the warm countries. The sun shined brightly, the sky seemed higher, and the air was filled with flower fragrance. At last they came to a blue lake. By the side of it, shaded by the greenest trees, stood a palace of dazzling white marble. Vines clustered round its lofty pillars, at the top were many swallows’ nests. And one of these was the home of the swallow who carried Tiny.
“This is my house. But it is not comfortable for you to live. You can choose any of the beautiful flowers, and I’ll put you on it. Then you can do whatever you wish to make you happy.” The swallow said.
“That will be delightful.” Tiny said, clapping hands with joy.
A large marble pillar lay on the ground, which, in falling, had been broken into three pieces. Between these pieces grew the most beautiful large white flowers; so the swallow flew down with Tiny, and placed her on one of the broad leaves. But how surprised she was to see in the middle of the flower, a tiny little man, as white and transparent as if he had been made of crystal! He had a gold crown on his head, and delicate wings at his shoulders, and was not much larger than Tiny herself. He was the angel of the flower; for a tiny man and a tiny woman dwell in every flower; and this was the king of them all.
“Oh, howhandsome he is!” whispered Tiny to the swallow.
The little prince was at first quite frightened at the bird, who was like a giant, compared to such a delicate little creature as himself; but when he saw Tiny, he was delighted, and thought her the prettiest little maiden he had ever seen. He took the gold crown from his head, and placed it on hers, and asked her name, and if she would be his wife, and queen over all the flowers.
This certainly was a very different sort of husband to the son of a toad, or the mole; so she said, “Yes,” to the handsome prince. Then all the flowers opened, and out of each came a little lady or a tiny lord, all so pretty it was quite a pleasure to look at them. Each of them brought Tiny a present; but the best gift was a pair of beautiful wings, which had belonged to a large white fly and they fastened them to Tiny’s shoulders, so that she might fly from flower to flower. Then there was much rejoicing, and the little swallow who sat above them, in his nest, was asked to sing a wedding song, which he did as well as he could. In the beautiful song, the little prince and Little Tiny got married.
In the pretty flowers, they lived happy lives together ever after.