A wife wanted a child so much that she bought a barleycorn from a witch. She planted the corn into a pot, and it grew into a tulip containing a tiny girl who was only an inch high. Thumbelina slept in a walnut and sailed on a petal in a plate full of water. One night she was abducted by a toad and then held captive on a water lily. The fish felt sorry for her and gnawed off the stem, and a white butterfly helped her escape.
Thumbelina found shelter for the winter in the hole of a field mouse, but had to flee when the mouse wanted her to marry a mole who would keep her underground forever. A swallow Thumbelina had previously nursed back to health took her to the warm countries and put her on a white flower. A little man, not taller than Thumbelina herself, satin the middle of the flower. It was love at first sight!