Ballet In the Park: “Thumbelina, A Fairy’s Tale”
Thumbelina, A Fairy’s Tale – based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson A Fairy’s Tale follows the misadventures of a young girl destined to find true love and gain her wings. Born of magic, tragically lost, and determined to find her own way in the world; audiences will delight in the comedic telling of this story based on works by Hans Christian Anderson.
In a small village, at a difficult time in history, there lived a woman, Astrid, whose deepest desire was to have a child to love and care for and raise on her own. One day in the village square there was a riot, and a poor beggar was getting trampled. Astrid, who was kind and caring, rescued the beggar from the crowd. Little did she know that the poor beggar was the Good Witch Dorothea in disguise. As a reward for her kindness, Dorothea gave Astrid a single barley corn and told her to plant it, tend the seedling, give it plenty of sunshine and one day very soon her deepest desire will be fulfilled. It wasn’t long before a flower grew and opened its petals to reveal a tiny child, no bigger than a thumb.
Astrid fell instantly in love and decided to call the child Thumbelina. Thumbelina grew into a kind and caring person, but never grew larger than the size of a thumb. One day Mr. Toad saw Thumbelina and decided she would make an excellent wife for one of his five sons. So, Mr. Toad kidnapped Thumbelina in her sleep. She awoke in a strange place on a lily pad in the middle of a stream, where it was difficult for her to escape. Mr. Toad introduced his five sons to her and told Thumbelina she would get to pick one the next day and they would be married soon after. In tears, lost and alone, Thumbelina’s crying was overheard by a Fish and a Butterfly who decided to help her escape.
With the Fish and Butterfly, Thumbelina enjoyed her time basking in the summer sun and watching the leaves turn as Fall arrived. But it was getting cold and Thumbelina needed a warm place to live for the winter. As luck would have it, she came to a small door in a mound of dirt in a corn field. There lived Mrs. Mouse who took pity on Thumbelina and invited her to stay the winter if she would help keep the mouse-house clean and tidy. Thumbelina was happy to help and happy to be warm for the winter. Mrs. Mouse’s next-door neighbor was the very wealthy Mole whose house was 20 times bigger and always full of food – for you never know when times will get tough. Mrs. Mouse thought it would bring her great favor if she could get Thumbelina and the Mole to marry, so she introduced them to each other over tea and began to weave her web.
Mole was smitten with Thumbelina and invited them both to visit his home any time they wished. The Mole suggested that perhaps Thumbelina would like it so much that they could marry and live underground happily ever after. The thought of marrying Mole and living underground, never again to see the sunshine or hear birds sing or play with Fish and Butterfly, saddened Thumbelina deeply. But she agreed to visit Mole’s home nonetheless. On the way there, they came across a small bird, a Swallow, that had been caught by a winter storm and froze as it tried to fly south to warmth. Thumbelina was sad to see such a sight and wanted to do something kind for the bird, knowing it would not sing or fly ever again.
Thumbelina made a blanket of corn silk and covered the Swallow out of respect. She visited the Swallow regularly. And one day, there was a stirring under the blanket and the Swallow sprung to life! She had not been dead. She simply needed a bit of warmth and someone to care for her. Thumbelina was overjoyed and Swallow became a fast friend. But Swallow still needed to migrate South to a warmer climate. Knowing that Thumbelina did not want to marry Mole, Swallow offered to lead Thumbelina away to a place where the sun shone, where there was always food and shelter, and where she might, just might, meet the love of her life… Thumbelina and Swallow caught the Wind who carried them to a land like none other. When they arrived, the field was a sea of golden sunflowers, and the sky was the brightest blue. There was the scent of a gentle rain in the air, and all seemed right in the world. They descended to the field where Thumbelina was surprised to see fairies that were the same size as herself. She had never met anyone else her size! And there among the sunflowers stood the Sunflower Prince. When they saw each other for the first time, well, you know how Fairy Tales go… It was Love at first sight.
The Sunflower Fairies welcomed Thumbelina and Swallow and celebrated their arrival with much dancing and merriment. Overcome with love for Thumbelina, the Prince asked for her hand in marriage. Thumbelina said, “Yes.” Without delay, everyone celebrated the union and as a wedding gift, Thumbelina received her own pair of fairy wings. Flitting about, having found true love and true friends, Thumbelina was living her own “Happily Ever After.”