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Page history last edited by Amber Autry 12 years, 2 months ago


Many fairy tale stories contain small characters roughly the size of one’s thumb. Similar characters can be found in tales from Japan, Russia, Chile, Native American cultures, and many European countries. One such tale, “Little Tom Thumb” or “Le Petit poucet” (1621), was included in Charles Perrault’s Stories or Tales of Past Times, 1697 (Zipes, 2000). The character of ‘Tom Thumb’ has been the focal point of many different fairy tales including a few collected by the Grimm Brothers (Zipes, 2000).


According to the Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, one of the “best known [representations]” (Zipes, 2000), of the small hero/heroine is Hans Christian Andersen’s 1836 “Tommelise,” or “Thumbelina” (Opie, 1974). The story of “Tommelise” has gone by many different names including “Little Ellie,” “Little Totty,” “Little Maja,” and “Inchelina.” The tale was labeled “Thumbelina” by H. W. Dulcken in 1864-6 (Opie, 1974). 


Check out the stories for yourself


  • Heiner H. (1999). SurLaLune fairy tales. Retrieved from www.surlalunefairytales.com.
  • Opie P., Opie I. (1974). The Classic Fairy Tales. New York, Oxford; Oxford University Press. 
  • Zipes, J. (2000). The Oxford companion to fairy tales: The western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern. New York; Oxford University Press.

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