Characters: Three storytellers, Woman, Old Witch, Old Mother Toad, Thumbelina, Toad, Fish 1, Fish 2, Butterfly, Black Beetle, Beetle 1, Beetle 2, Mouse, Mole, Swallow, Tiny Man.
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time, there lived a woman. (Woman is sitting on a chair in the centre of the stage, looking very sad.)
Storyteller 2: The woman was very sad because all she wished for was to have a child of her very own that she could love.
Woman: Oh, how I long for a child to hold in my arms.
Storyteller 3: An old witch was passing by and she heard the woman’s wish. (Old witch hobbles on to the stage and she stops when she hears the woman talking.)
Old Witch: Here, take this barley corn. If you plant it carefully in the ground, your wishes will come true. (Old Witch gives the woman the barley corn but the woman looks very confused.)
Storyteller 1: The woman was confused but she took the barley corn and planted it carefully in the ground.
Storyteller 2: One day…
Woman: What a beautiful red and yellow flower. (She kisses it.)
Storyteller 3: Pop! The flower opened and out jumped a tiny girl.
Woman: Oh my goodness, what a beautiful girl you are, but you are so tiny. You are no bigger than my thumb. I shall call you Thumbelina.
Storyteller 1: The woman and Thumbelina lived happily together.
Storyteller 2: Thumbelina slept in a bed made of a walnut shell and she floated up and down the river in her nice, comfortable shell.
(An old toad comes hopping on to the stage.)
Old Mother Toad: (Looks at Thumbelina.) What’s this? It is a tiny girl. She will make a perfect wife for my son. I will just take this walnut shell and no one will miss her. (She pushes the walnut shell down the river.)
Storyteller 3: Old Mother Toad swims down the river with Thumbelina fast asleep in her walnut shell.
Storyteller 1: When Old Mother Toad got to the swamp, she tied the shell to a waterlily stem.
Old Mother Toad: Toad, Toad, come here look what I found. (Toad comes running on stage. He looks at the sleeping Thumbelina and smiles.)
Toad: She is perfect. (He rubs his hands together and smiles with glee.)
Storyteller 2: The next day, Thumbelina woke up.
Thumbelina: What’s going on? Where am I? This is not my home. (Looks at the toad.) Who are you?
Old Mother Toad: I’m old Mother Toad and this is my son, Toad.
Toad: My mother thought you would make the perfect wife for me. (The two toads hop off stage.)
Thumbelina: But I don’t want to marry a toad and live in a swamp. (Thumbelina tries to free her walnut shell from the waterlily stem but she can’t. She starts to cry.)
(Two fish swim by and they stop when they hear the sobbing.)
Fish 1: What’s the matter?
Thumbelina: Old Mother Toad kidnapped me from my home. She wants me to marry her son.
Fish: We will help you. (They start to bite through the rope.)
Fish 2: At last we have done it. Now you are free.
Thumbelina: Oh, thank you, Fish.
Fish: Good luck, Thumbelina. (They wave goodbye as Thumbelina floats down the river in her walnut shell.)
Thumbelina: Bye, bye. I’m so happy to escape those horrid toads.
(A butterfly lands on the shell.)
Butterfly: Hello, what’s your name? What are you doing?
Thumbelina: I’m Thumbelina. An old toad stole me from my home. She wanted me to marry her son, but two nice fish helped me escape. I just want to go home.
Butterfly: Hold on tight to me and I’ll pull your walnut shell so you can get home faster.
(Enters a big black beetle on to the stage.)
Black Beetle: Look at that butterfly with that beautiful girl. I must take her and show her to the other beetles.
Storyteller 3: The big black beetle swooped down and scooped Thumbelina up and flew off with her.
Butterfly: Hey, come back! You can’t just take her.
Black Beetle: Ha, ha. I just did. See you later, butterfly.
Black Beetle: Look what I found. A beautiful tiny girl.
Beetle 1: She is not beautiful.
Beetle 2: She doesn’t have any feelers.
Beetle 1: And she has only two legs.
Beetle 2: I have never seen anything so ugly in my life. Get rid of her at once.
(Beetle flies off with Thumbelina and then he sees a daisy. He put her down gently on the daisy.)
Black Beetle: I will leave you here, Thumbelina, on this daisy.
Thumbelina: I just want to go home, but I’m stuck here.
Storyteller 1: Soon summer passed and winter came. It began to get colder and colder.
Thumbelina: (Shivering.) I won’t survive the winter if I don’t find a warmer place to stay.
Storyteller 2: She climbs down from the daisy and enters a field, and there she meets a mouse.
Mouse: You look cold and hungry. Come warm yourself by my fire and you can eat my food. You can live with me until winter is over.
Thumbelina: Thank you, mouse. I will cook and clean for you.
Storyteller 3: Thumbelina lived with the mouse for a few weeks. She cooked and cleaned for him. One day, mouse came home. He was very excited.
Mouse: I just got a text from my friend mole. He heard I had the most beautiful girl staying with me. He wants to meet you. Let’s go and visit him.
Storyteller 1: They trundled through the field and they came to a tunnel.
Thumbelina: I don’t want to go down this tunnel.
Mole: It is the only way we can reach Mole’s house.
Storyteller 2: Finally, Thumbelina agreed to go through the tunnel. They were halfway there when they saw a dead swallow.
Thumbelina: We must help him.
Mouse: He is dead.
Thumbelina: Let me put a blanket over him.
Mouse: That is a waste of a good blanket.
(Thumbelina puts the blanket over the swallow and they continue the journey.
Suddenly, Thumbelina hears something and turns around quickly.)
Thumbelina: What’s that?
Mouse: I don’t hear anything. We have to continue our journey it is getting late. Mole is waiting for us.
Thumbelina: It is a soft thump. Listen. It’s the swallow’s heart. He isn’t dead. Mouse, get him some water.
Swallow: Thank you.
Thumbelina: Swallow, I will look after you. Come and stay with us at Mole’s house.
They go off to Mole’s house.
Mole: What’s all this?
Thumbelina: It’s a swallow. We must care for him or he will die.
Mole: Oh very well, come in.
Storyteller 3: At the end of winter, Mole announced.
Mole: Great news, Thumbelina. I’ve decided to marry you.
Mouse: Congratulations, Thumbelina. You are so lucky; Mole is very rich.
Mole: Mouse will return to field and you will stay here with me underground.
Thumbelina: I don’t want to stay underground forever. I want to be outside in the warmth and the sunshine. (She starts to cry.)
Swallow: I’ve an idea. I’m strong enough to leave. Jump on my back and we can fly away.
Storyteller 1: Thumbelina jumped on the swallow’s back and away they flew.
Thumbelina: Bye, Mouse. Thanks for everything.
Mouse: Bye, bye.
Mole: How ungrateful?
Swallow: Do you see those beautiful flowers below.
(Thumbelina nods her head.)
Swallow: Choose one of those flowers and I will put you down there.
Thumbelina: That one, there. (She points to one.)
Storyteller 3: The swallow put her down gently and there sitting in the flower, was a tiny man with a golden crown.
Tiny Man: Hello? Fancy meeting you here.
Thumbelina: I’m Thumbelina. Who are you?
Tiny Man: Every flower has a sprite living in them. I’m the King of all flower sprites.
You are so beautiful. Will you marry me?
Thumbelina: Oh yes.
Tiny man: Here take these wings. Now you can fly from flower to flower and visit the other flower sprites.
Storytellers: They lived happily ever after.
For more plays based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories, click here.
For free Hans Christian Andersen plays, click below.
The Money Pig