This week something a little different. Regular readers will know my fondness for old fairy tales. This is my imagined story of Thumbelina’s mother.The original fairy tale of Thumbelina is by Hans Christian Andersen. Hans never told what happened to Thumbelina’s ‘mother’ after Thumbelina was kidnapped. So:
Thumbelina Is Missing
Thumbelina was tiny, no bigger than a thumb joint to the tip of a thumb. She had been ‘born’ to an old woman who had no child of her own, from a flower given by a witch. Tiny as Thumbelina was, the old woman loved her greatly.
Thumbelina’s bed was a walnut shell, which she slept in very comfortably in the old woman’s home. It was a small house with only two rooms, a bedroom and a kitchen. Thumbelina’s bed was on the table under the window in the kitchen. One morning when the old woman came downstairs, Thumbelina was missing. But not just Thumbelina, her bed had gone too.
To Thumbelina her walnut shell bed was as heavy as your bed is to you, so the old woman knew Thumbelina couldn’t move it far. How did she get it off the table though?
The old woman searched high and low for Thumbelina. First under the table and chairs, all around the floor and behind the dresser. She looked in the single drawer under the table, where she kept her cutlery. She even looked in the pile of logs beside the fireplace and peered into a mouse hole she discovered. There was no sign of Thumbelina, she had vanished utterly.
The old woman was becoming desperate. The only thing she could think of to do was to go to the witch that had given her the flower from which Thumbelina had emerged. It would take the old woman many hours to reach the witches house, so she set off at sunrise the next morning.
As she left her home to visit the witch the old woman passed the pond where a great frog and her son lived. She stopped and asked the frog, ‘do you know where my daughter, Thumbelina, is?’ The frog answered truthfully ‘I do not know, old woman.’, but her reply whilst true hid another truth.
In the middle of the night the frog had stolen Thumbelina, taking her in her walnut shell bed from the old woman’s home, to marry her son but, Thumbelina had escaped the frogs.
When the old woman reached the witches house, the door was open. The witch called out to the old woman tocome in, even before either of them saw each other. ‘I felt you coming.’ said the witch. ‘I know its about Thumbelina, what’s happened?’ The old woman explained, with tears in her eyes, that Thumbelina was missing.
The witch closed her eyes then spoke without opening them ‘I can’t see Thumbelina and I can’t tell you where she is or how she went missing, but I can feel that she is safe. She isn’t happy but I think she will be. The tiny angels will find her.’ ‘Will they bring her back to me?’ asked the old woman. ‘That I cannot say’, replied the witch. The old woman left for home, thanking the witch and though not happy, relieved that Thumbelina was apparently safe.
Months later while the old woman was tending her small garden, a butterfly alighted on a flower near where the old woman was planting some seeds. A high, sweet voice spoke to the old woman. She looked up, not seeing anyone or knowing who spoke. Then she looked closer at the butterfly and saw that it wasn’t a butterfly at all. It was a tiny man no bigger than Thumbelina had been, but this tiny man had wings and could fly. ‘Who are you, asked the old woman’, and what are you?’
‘I’m Cyren’ said the tiny winged man and as for what I am, don’t you know?’ The old woman shook her head. ‘Only a few people, sometimes people like you, have seen us. We’re flower fairies, though some call us the Tiny Angels. The old woman caught her breath for a moment as the witches words about the Tiny Angels came back to her.
‘You’re like my Thumbelina.’ ‘Rather, she’s like me.’ Cyren replied. ‘But she hasn’t wings.’ ‘She was too young the last time you saw her, she flies now just like all of us.’ ‘It’s true then, what the witch told me, she’s safe and well?’ ‘She’s fulfilled her destiny.’ The tiny fairy told the old woman. ‘She’s the queen of us all, she’s become the Flower Queen.’