Once there was a wife who longed for a little girl. So she went to see an old wise woman to ask for her help. "I wish for a little girl more than anything in the world," sighed the wife. "Won't you please help me?" "With all my heart," replied the kindly old woman, and she gave the wife a barley seed. "This is not like the seed the farmer sows," said the old woman. "This is a special seed, which you must take home and plant in a pot." The wife took the seed and planted it. Soon a beautiful yellow and red flower grew. The wife thought it was so beautiful that she couldn't help kissing it. At once, the petals unfurled. There in the middle sat a delicate girl with golden hair. She was tiny, smaller even than a thumb, so the wife named her Thumbelina. The wife and tiny girl were happy together. During the day, Thumbelina played on the table, singing songs in her sweet voice. At night, she slepted soundly in a bed from a walnut shell, with rose-petal blankets. One night an ugly toad came hopping in through the window and saw Thumbelina asleep. "What a pretty wife she will make for my son," she said, and she picked up the bed, then hopped out of the window, down to the stream. She placed the bed on a water lily. "She cannot escape from here," thought the toad. When Thumbelina awoke and saw where she was she began to cry. "Dry your tears," croaked the toad, swimming over. "You are to marry my son, and you shall live together down in the mud." But the toad's son was very ugly. Poor Thumbelina did not want to marry him. "Who will save me now?" she sobbed. Luckily, the fish in the stream felt sorry for the beautiful girl. When the toad was sleeping, they chewed the stem of the lily leaf on which Thumbelina sat. At once, the flowing water carried Thumbelina and the leaf off down the stream, far away from the ugly toads. She was just beginning to feel happy again, when suddenly a large beetle buzzed down, seized her and flew high into a tree. Finally, he put her down on a leaf. "How pretty you are," the beetle told the tiny girl. "Would you like some honey?" It wasn't long before the other lady beetles heard about the tiny girl, and came to see Thumbelina for themselves. "She only has two legs. How ugly!" laughed one, giving Thumbelina a prod. "Look! She has no feelers," cried another. "How odd!" Embarrased by their laughter, the male beetle picked up the tiny girl and set her down on a daisy below. All summer and autumn Thumbelina lived in the wood. She made a bed from grass, sheltered by a leaf. She ate nectar from flowers, drank dew from the leaves and sang with the birds. When winter arrived it grew very cold. The birds flew away, leaving Thumbelina alone. Her clothes were worn and she could find nothing to wrap around herself. She was also very hungry; she had to find food and shelter from the winter. She walked trhough the wood until she came to a hole where a field mouse lived. Thumbelina knocked on the door. When the kindly mouse saw the little girl, she was filled with pity. "Come in, child," she said. "You must be frozen." The mouse listened in silence as Thumbelina told her story. Then she smiled. "Why don't you come and live with me?" she suggested. "To repay me, you can help to clean my house, tell me stories and sing me songs." So Thumbelina stayed with the mouse and did what she was asked. One day the mouse told Thumbelina that her friend the mole would be visiting. "He is most handsome," she said. "He would make you a fine husband." When the mole arrived, he took quite a fancy to Thumbelina. "This is a passage between my home and yours," he said, showing Thumbelina a dark tunnel. "You are most welcome to use it to visit me anytime. But do be careful. There is a dead bird in there." Thumbelina looked into the tunnel. There on the floor lay a dead swallow. When she saw the poor bird, tears filled her eyes. "I will bring him a cover," she whispered, stroking is feathers. As Thumbelina placed the cover over the swallow, she was surprised to feel his heart beating. The tiny girl was filled with joy. The bird was alive! All through the long winter, Thumbelina cared for the swallow. Finally, when spring arrived, Thumbelina knew her friend was strong enough to fly once more. "It's time for you to leave," said Thumbelina bravely. Then she made a hole in the roof of the tunnel, so the swallow could escape. "Why don't you come with me," said the swallow. But Thumbelina could not leave the mouse after all her kindness. So she gave the bird one last hug, then watched as her friend flew away. That night, the mole asked Thumbelina to marry him. Although she did not want to, Thumbelina agreed, just to make the mouse happy. Every evening the mole visited to talk about the wedding, as Thumbelina stitched her wedding clothes. "My home is very snug," he would tell her. "No nasty bright sunlight at all." Thumbelina's heart sank. The more she listened, the unhappier she felt. How could she possibly live without the sun? Finally, the day came when the mole would fetch his wife and take her deep into his dark hole. Thumbelina thought her heart might break. "Goobye sun," she cried. "Goodbye flowers." And she kissed a nearby daisy. Suddenly, there was a fluttering of wings. Thumbelina looked up to see her friend the swallow flying above. "Oh, Swallow," she cried, "today I must say goodbye to the sunshine forever." And she told him all about the mole and his dark, dark hole. "Come with me," said the swallow. "It will be cold here again soon, but I am flying far away to a warm country, where the sun always shines." "Yes, yes!" cried Thumbelina, climbing onto the swallow's back. "I could never make the mole happy. He should marry Mouse instead." The swallow soared into the air, swooping over mountains and forests, until at last they came to a warm country, where the sun shone brightly. He came to rest near a lake, where a ruined palace covered the trailing vines rose up into the sky. "This is my home," said the swallow, placing Thumbelina gently on the petals of a flower.Thumbelina rubbed her eyes in amazement. There inside the flower sat a tiny young man no bigger than a thumb, with gossamer wings. As soon as she laid eyes on him, Thumbelina fell instantly in love. "I am the King of the flower spirits," said the tiny man, gazing at the beautiful girl before him. Then he took of his crown and placed it gently upon Thumbelina's head. "Will you be my bride and become Queen of the flower spirits?" he asked. "With all my heart," replied Thumbelina, unable to believe how happy she felt. At last, she had found her true home.

THANK YOU FOR READING! This is not from Shugo Chara.

Coming soon: Little Red Hen

Litte Red Hen story will be available on 29th April, 2012.

1st of Stories for Girls .

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