Thumbelina lived between the stream and the forest for many days. She ate the sweet grass that grew near the river and drank the dew and rainwater that collected in leaves.
As pleasant as her life was, Thumbelina missed her mother very much. She wanted to go home very badly. But Thumbelina could not find her way home. Every day she walked a little bit in a different direction. But she was afraid to go too far, and her little legs would get very tired.
The weather began to get cold. Thumbelina knew that she must try to walk as far as she could to find her home, or a warm place to live. She walked to the edge of the forest. There she found a small door in the base of a tree. It was the home of a friendly field mouse.
The field mouse was very happy to see Thumbelina. She never had visitors when the weather grew colder. The field mouse quickly invited Thumbelina to stay with her during the cold winter months. Thumbelina happily agreed to stay.
One day, as Thumbelina and the field mouse sat in the cozy house, they heard a strange noise at the door. A sparrow had been flying south for the winter and had hurt his wing. He could not fly. Thumbelina and the field mouse knew that the sparrow would not survive the winter outside in the cold. They invited him inside.
The sparrow was surprised at the kindness of the field mouse and Thumbelina. He was also surprised to see such a tiny person living with a mouse.
"Are you a fairy princess?" the sparrow asked the tiny Thumbelina.
"What is a fairy?" she asked.
"Someday, when my wing is better, I will show you," the sparrow said.
Thumbelina asked the sparrow if he had been one of the lovely birds that taught her to sing in the birdbath. The sparrow said that he was not, but that he had heard his cousin talking of how he used to sing with a tiny human girl in a garden.
"I did not believe my cousin, but now I do," said the sparrow, twittering with laughter.
Thumbelina's heart leapt when she heard the news of the sparrow's cousin.
"Yes! Yes! It was I who sang with your cousin!" Thumbelina shouted. She jumped up and sang for the field mouse and the sparrow. Her voice was amazing!
The field mouse and the sparrow insisted that Thumbelina sing for them every day. They even made her a singing stage from a human-sized thimble the field mouse had found outside her house.
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