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Calineczka VP ubt.jpeg
Illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen
Author Hans Christian Andersen
Original title Tommelise
Other titles Little Ellie
Little Totty
Little Tiny
Translator Mary Howitt (English, 1846)
Charles Boner (English, 1846)
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Characters Thumbelina
Field Mouse
Fairy Prince
Genre(s) Literary fairy tale
Published in Fairy Tales Told for Children (2nd volume)
Publication type Fairy tale collection
Publisher C. A. Reitzel
Media type Print
Publication date 16 December 1835
Published in English 1846 (first)
Notable adaptations Thumbelina (animated movie, Don Bluth)

"Thumbelina" is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It was first published in Copenhagen, Denmark in the second volume of Fairy Tales Told for Children in 1836. Andersen's inspirations were miniature fictional characters such as Tom Thumb and the Lilliputians in Gulliver's Travels. The story has been adapted to various media including an animated movie by Don Bluth.

Story[change | change source]

Thumbelina is born from a flower. She is just as big as a thumb. One night, Thumbelina is asleep in her walnut shell cradle when a toad steals her. Thumbelina is placed on a lily pad for safekeeping. Friendly fish free her. A bug carries her off but decides he doesn't like her and throws her away. Thumbelina wanders alone until she finds a home with a field mouse. The child cleans the house and keeps the field mouse company. She tends to a swallow who has fallen into the mouse's tunnel during the winter. The field mouse wants Thumbelina to marry her neighbor, a wealthy and scholarly mole. Thumbelina does not like the mole. The swallow helps Thumbelina escape. He carries her to a warm country far away. There she meets a tiny flower fairy prince and marries him. He gives her a pair of wings so she can fly from flower to flower with him and the other flower fairies.

References[change | change source]

  • Opie, Iona and Peter. 1974. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford UP. p. 219.
  • Wullschlager, Jackie. 2001. Hans Christian Andersen. Knopf. pp. 162-163.
  • Zipes, Jack, (Ed.). 2000. The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Oxford UP. p. 523

Other websites[change | change source]