Once upon a time, there was a woman who wanted more than anything in the world to have a little girl.
One day she visited an old woman who was said to be very wise, to get her advice.
-I would so like to have a little girl! she said to her.
“Nothing could be easier,” the old woman replied. Take this barley seed and plant it in a pot. You’ll see what happens.
The woman went home and planted the seed. Almost immediately, a green bud appeared and grew very quickly into a beautiful plant with a large bud. A beautiful red and yellow flower resembling a tulip came out.
The woman, amazed, touched the delicate petals, and at that moment the flower opened. In the center was a tiny girl, perfect in every way. But since she was no bigger than the woman’s thumb, she called her Thumbelina.
There was never a more beloved and pampered girl than her. Her cradle was a pretty painted walnut shell; rose petals served as a blanket, and her beautiful pillow was made of purple flowers.
During the day, while her mother worked, Thumbelina played on the table. She had a plate full of water, with a lily leaf swimming in the middle, and Thumbelina loved to move around in it, paddling from one side of the plate to the other in the sunlight that shone through it. At the same time, she sang in a voice so sweet that the little birds stopped to listen from the window.
Thumbelina was happy, until one night a mother toad jumped out of the window and saw the little girl in her bed. She would make a beautiful wife for my son! she thought. And she picked up the sleeping girl and carried her to the riverbank.
So that Thumbelina would not run away, the mother toad put her on a lily leaf in the middle of the river. The little girl was not afraid, because it reminded her of the time when she played on the table. But she still wanted to go home and did not want to marry the son of the mother toad.
When the mother toad went away to build a house for her son among the reeds, Thumbelina was left sobbing on the leaf.
Then a little fish, hearing the little girl crying, poked his head out and said, “You can’t marry that naughty toad spoiled by his mother,” he said, then bit the petal of the lily leaf and dragged the little boat downstream.
Thumbelina felt happier as she saw the beautiful scenery on the shore. A butterfly flew towards her because it wanted to be her friend.
But just then, a big black beetle caught her in flight and carried her to a tree. He thought she was pretty, but when he saw her, his friends laughed and said:
– What a horror! She only has two legs!
The beetle took Thumbelina to a meadow full of flowers. He couldn’t stand it when his friends made fun of her. There, Thumbelina spent happy days, drinking flower nectar and playing with her butterfly friends.
The summer passed like this, but little by little, the days were getting shorter. Winter was approaching and the nights were getting colder. Thumbelina knew that she could not survive the winter if she did not have a home. When the first snowflakes fell, she wrapped herself in a dry leaf and began to look for shelter.
When the little girl, shivering from the cold, began to lose hope, she found a little mouse busy setting up her nest.
“You can stay with me in my little house,” the mouse said kindly.
In this comfortable home, Thumbelina was happy until a mouse friend visited them. He was a male mole who lived underground and soon fell in love with Thumbelina and wanted to marry her.
“You are very lucky,” said the little mouse. This mole is rich. You will never lack for anything.
One day, the mole took Thumbelina to see his underground home. As they walked through a dark tunnel, the mole warned her:
-Now be careful. There’s a dead animal ahead.
Thumbelina got down on her knees. She saw a beautiful bird, whose little heart was still beating faintly.
From then on, Thumbelina took care of the bird, which in the spring was able to fly away to meet its friends. The little girl watched him as he began to fly away, and wanted to escape too. She knew that when she returned, she would have to marry the old mole and live under the ground for the rest of her life.
Summer passed. The autumn leaves were already rustling under her feet when she looked up at the blue sky for the last time. She felt an immense sadness.
Then a voice was heard from above.
-Come with me! I am going to a warmer country to spend the winter. This country will enchant you.
It was the bird whose life she had saved almost a year ago! Thumbelina climbed onto the bird and they both flew over fields and towns. Finally, they arrived in a sunny land, where the air was filled with the scent of wonderful flowers.
The swallow placed Thumbelina on a leaf among the flowers. You can’t imagine her surprise when she saw a little man as small as her sitting among the petals.
“Welcome to my country,” he said. I am the prince of the land of flowers. I am very happy to see you. I will call you Maya.
The girl fell in love with the prince. They got married and lived happily ever after.
If you listen carefully, you may still hear her singing happily in the fragrant air of the land of flowers.
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