Arche Sechsbaum / Hitomi Nonaka
Lisa Tsuchiya
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    Once upon a time, a childless woman paid a visit to the village’s witch and asked for a daughter of her own. In response, the witch gave the woman a single seed of wheat.
    The woman ran back home to plant the seed which immediately grew to form a beautiful flower bud.
  • Admiring its beauty, the woman gently kissed the flower bud, and with that gentle kiss, the bud opened up to reveal a tiny little girl delicately wrapped up within the petals.
  • As the woman looked at the tiny figure with awe, the girl smiled at her and said “Hello, my name is Thumbelina. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
  • From that day on, the woman raised the pixie-like girl with great love and care. Thumbelina would often enjoy floating in a small bowl of water, on a boat made out of flower petals. She also loved to sing in her beautiful voice which made those who heard it stop to listen with admiration.
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    One evening, as Thumbelina slept soundly in her cosy chestnut bed, a toad came leaping up to her bedside. “Oh my, my, what a cute little girl. I’m certain she’s perfectly fit to become my son’s wife.” So, the toad took the girl home, still sleeping cluelessly in her bed.
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    Just as Thumbelina awoke from her sleep, the toad told her, “From today on, you shall become my son’s wife, and start living in this swamp. Make yourself at home here.”
  • Tears welled up in the poor girl’s eyes as she stood all alone on a lotus leaf in the middle of a muddy swamp. “I don’t want to marry a toad, nor do I want to spend my life in this filthy swamp.”
  • Having heard the sobs of Thumbelina, a group of fish came swimming up to the lotus leaf she sat on. “Oh, poor thing. To marry that ugly toad!! What a right tragedy!” “Why don’t we let her go?!”
  • The fish nimbled at the stem of the leaf which connected it to the swamp, and set her free.
    “Thank you so much!” called out Thumbelina to the fish as she drifted on the leaf through the streams of the river.
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    On and on she went drifting aimlessly through the mild streams. Just then a delicate butterfly fluttered past. Thumbelina called out to the butterfly and pleaded for it to drag her along to wherever it was heading to.
  • The butterfly agreed and tied one side of a string to the stem of the leaf and the other to itself. The two chatted together as they went slowly through the gracefully calm rim of the river.
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    However, just then, a beetle who had spotted Thumbelina and mistaken her for a strange looking bug, zoomed up towards her and snatched away the poor girl. The beetle went flying far into the woods and finally perched the girl on a branch at the top of a tall tree.
  • Thumbelina missed the kind butterfly who she had become friends with. Tears sprang from her eyes. And to make things worse, as the other beetles came crawling up to her to take a closer look of what their friend had brought with it, they all started to snigger at the girl.
  • “Oh what an ugly thing it is! It doesn’t have the charm of us beetles!”
    “Why, look at it! It only has two legs!!”
    “It resembles that terrible creature! What was it…..oh, HUMAN. It’s just like a human!”
  • The beetles soon lost interest in her and flew off leaving poor old Thumbelina stuck high up in a tree.
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    Thumbelina had no other choice but to spend the rest of that summer in the unfamiliar forest all alone. She lived on the pollen of flowers and the drops of rain water caught on the leaves of bushes. She slept in a small cot that she had made out of grass.
  • Summer went, then autumn, and then approached the cold winter. “How cold it is.”sighed Thumbelina as she wandered around the woods. Just then, she caught a glimpse of a flicker of warm light from among the grass. And there she found, the small hut of a wild mouse.
  • Running up to the hut, she immediately knocked at the door. Knock, knock…. “Hello? I’m terribly sorry to disturb you but could you kindly offer me some food. I haven’t eaten anything for two whole days.”
  • The door opened and there came out a gentle looking mistress mouse. “Oh, dear! What a poor thing. Come in, come in! You must be feeling cold out there!”
  • Thumbelina was overwhelmed by the warmth of the kind mistress mouse and from that day on, she started to live with the her in the small but cosy hut.
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    Bellow the hut, lived a rich mole. The mole had completely fallen for Thumbelina at first sight and started visiting her every single day. However, Thumbelina herself was not fond of the mole.
  • For he, although a gentleman, did not enjoy the sun and neither showed any interest in flowers nor liked small talk with the birds.
  • One day, Thumbelina found a wounded sparrow down in the underground tunnel, not able to move. Neither the mistress mouse, nor the mole took any notice.
  • However, kind little Thumbelina could not possibly look away. Every day she would go up to the sparrow and take care of him. “Do get better, and let me hear you sing with that lovely chirp of yours. I really do admire your songs.”
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    By the next spring, the sparrow had fully recovered from his wound. “Thank’s to all your care and kindness, I am now able to fly again. Let us leave for the Southern Islands. There’s plenty of flowers. A wonderful place that I’m sure you will love!”
  • The Southern Islands sounded like the best place ever. However, Thumbelina sadly shook her head and said,“I’m grateful for your invitation, but I can’t. I can’t possibly leave my dear mistress mouse.”
  • The sparrow loooked extremely disappointed. “How unfortunate. But I suppose it can’t be helped. Farewell, my dearest little friend.” As he said this, the sparrow flew high above into the bright light of the sun and soon went out of sight.
  • Thumbelina kept looking in the direction to which the sparrow had disappeared off to, as a drop of a glistening tear tumbled down her cheeks.
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    As summer approached, the mistress mouse suddenly said,
    “Surprise, surprise, my dearest Thumbelina. I have good news! That rich sir. mole has asked me for your hand. He wants you as his wife!”
  • To this, Thumbelina truly was surprised. However, not in the way the mistress mouse expected her to be. She was awfully depressed about having to spend the rest of her life in a dark mole hole far underneath the ground.
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    That autumn, as preparations were being made for the marriage, Thumbelina stood in the meadow, looked up at the vast sky with a solemn face and whispered, “Good bye, bright sun, good bye pretty flowers. Soon I shall have to go and …
  • live with the mole in a place where I will be far out of reach from all the light and beauty of what will become the upper world. I don’t know when I’ll next come back up to this lovely world. Please do send all my love and care to the sparrow for me. ”
  • Just then, Thumbelina caught the sound of a familiar voice. “Thumbelina, I have come for you!” To her disbelief it was the sparrow she had taken care of. The sparrow landed beside the girl and looked straight into the gleaming eyes of Thumbelina.
  • “I heard rumors of you and the mole getting married, but how could the dark underground life suit you who radiates the brightest light and charm? Come. You will surely be better off living with me and many other of my friends on the Southern Islands.”
  • Without a second thought, Thumbelina jumped onto the back of the sparrow and headed for what she now considered her only possible destination.
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    The sparrow flew high up into the clouds, just as how Thumbelina remembered him doing the last time. With Thumbelina on his back, the sparrow glided gracefully through forests, across lakes, above snowy mountains, and further off towards the Southern Islands, yet in sight.
  • However, eventually, the two reached a place where a comfortable, dry warmth wrapped up around ones body, and all seemed as though covered in shimmering pixie dust. Every piece you cut out from the panorama view of the landscape seemed to form a splendid picture.
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    The land that spread beyond them was in fact, the Land of Flowers. And as the sparrow descended to ground level, he looked for, amongst the thousands of flowers, one that radiated the most beauty and eventually picked a delicate white lily.
  • He then placed Thumbelina gently on the lily where there, to her surprise, was already another figure. A handsome looking prince of her own size. The prince approached Thumbelina with a welcoming smile, and said, “Welcome to the Land of Flowers.”
  • As Thumbelina turned to face the prince and looked straight into his face with great curiosity, for she had never met anyone like herself, the prince was flattered by her beauty and asked her to marry him immediately.
  • Thumbelina, although having not yet spent more than 5 minutes with the prince, accepted his request and received a pair of fairy wings and a magnificent crown. With her new elegant fairy wings, she flew from flower to flower as she sang gracefully with the sparrow.
  • The sparrow enjoyed every moment he spent with his dearest friend but knew that soon he would have to leave. It was almost time for him to return to Denmark, where he was originally from. “Farewell my true, pretty friend.”
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    Back in Denmark, just near the modest nest of the sparrow lived an old man who was a story writer.
  • After the sparrow returned from the Land of Flowers, where now Thumbelina and the prince happily lived side by side, he perched on the windowsill of the old man’s house and told him about the wonderous adventure that he had had with Thumbelina.
  • And that was how the story of Thumbelina was handed down from one generation to the next, all up until today.