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Short Stories

Thumbelina

Note to parents & educators: downloadable & editable lesson sheet. This story has been carefully chosen to help serve as a lesson about being resourceful in difficult situations as well as nurturing growth and ideas. The lesson includes post-reading tasks which focuses on key vocabulary and comprehension questions

A long time ago and far, far away an old woman was sitting in her rocking chair thinking how happy she would be if she had a child.

Then, she heard a knock at the door and opened it. A lady was standing there and she said, "If you let me in, I will grant you a wish." The old woman let the woman in firstly because she felt pity, secondly because she knew what she'd wish for...a child. After she washed the lady up and fed her, she saw that she was really beautiful.

The lady slept soundly all night long and then right before she left, she said, "Now, about your wish. What do you want?"

The lady thought about most people's wishes to be richest in the world, most powerful person, the smartest, and the prettiest. But the old woman wished for something the lady could not believe. She said, "I would like a child."

"What did you say?" she asked because she was astonished at what the old lady asked for. The old lady repeated what she said. "I would like a child."

The lady then placed a tiny seed in the old woman's hand and gave her instructions. "Plant this seed, water it carefully, watch over it, and give it your love. If you do all those things, then you will have a child."

So, the old woman did all of those things the lady had told her to. In a week, there was a beautiful yellow flower in place of the seed. The next day, the flower bloomed.

Inside the flower was a beautiful little girl who was the size of the woman's thumb so she a called her Thumbelina. She made her a little dress out of golden threads. Thumbelina slept in a walnut shell and brought the old woman joy and happiness.

But, one day when Thumbelina went down for her nap, a frog hopped through the open window and said, "You will be a perfect bride for my son," and she took Thumbelina to a lily pad and hopped off to find her son.

Thumbelina cried and some little guppies heard her and chewed the roots off the lily pad to help her escape. Thumbelina's lily pad floated away. A few hours later, she finally stopped floating.

During the summer, she ate berries and drank the dew off the leaves. But then winter came and she needed shelter. A kindly mouse let her stay with it, but it said, "You'll have to marry my friend, Mole, because I cannot keep you for another winter."

The next day she went to see Mole. In one of tunnels, she found a sick bird and said, "Poor thing, I will bury it." Then she found out that it was still alive and she cared for it until was ready to fly. It flew off. That fall she nearly had to marry Mole. But then she heard a familiar tweet and an idea popped up in the bird's head.

"You can come down to the warm country," said the bird, so Thumbelina hopped on the bird's back and flew to the warm country. The people there who were like her renamed her Erin. She married a prince and she lived happily ever after.


THE END


Post-Reading Task

1. Vocabulary

For each bolded word from in the story, write down its Part of Speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction) and its meaning in the following table. Some examples are shown.

Word
Part of Speech
Meaning
rocking chair


wish
noun
A hope or desire that is made real with magical powers.
pity
verb To laugh at someone.
powerful
adjective Having a lot of power to control people and events.
astonished
adjective Very surprised.
seed
   
plant
verb To put seeds or a plant in the ground to make it grow.
watch over
phrasal verb To watch and protect something.
bloom
   
thread
   
walnut


shell
   
hop (hopped)
verb To jump on one foot or with both feet at the same time.
bride
   
lily pad
   
hop off (hopped off)
phrasal verb To jump off something.
guppy
noun A small kind of fish people often keep in aquariums in their homes.
escape
noun, verb To get away from a bad situation.
dew
   
shelter
   
tunnel
   
marry
verb To become the husband or wife of someone.
tweet
   
pop up
phrasal verb Something that appears suddenly.
hop on (hopped on)
   

2. Questions about the story

1) What wish did the lady give to the old woman?

2) Why did the frog take Thumbelina away from the old woman’s house?

3) How did Thumbelina escape from the frog’s lily pad? Did she get some help?

4) What animal was “Mole”? And did Thumbelina marry him?

5) What kind of people live in ‘warm country’? And, how did Thumbelina get there?

6) What is a ‘wish’ you would like to come true for yourself?

7) From the story:  “Plant this seed, water it carefully, watch over it, and give it your love. If you do all those things, then you will have a child.

What are other things you can plant? How would you ‘watch over’ them?

 

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