“Krissie, what are you doing inside on such a beautiful day? Don’t you have some friends you would like to play with outside?” Grandmother Mae looked at her tiny granddaughter who had recently come to live with her after Mae’s daughter died.
Krissie shook her red mop of curls, sitting at the kitchen table, watching her grandmother making a roast. She cupped her chin and swung her little legs back and forth. Krissie was too tiny to reach the floor with her feet.
“Why not sweetie?” Mae asked. She sat across from her granddaughter who looked so very sad.
“They call me names, like pip-squeak and midget and things. They push me down and run away.” Krissie mumbled.
“What about Kathy two doors down? Won’t she play dolls with you?”
Shaking her head again, a tear slid down her cheek and dripped on the table. “She says I’m a baby and she doesn’t play with babies.”
Mae felt so bad for the child. She was never going to be as tall as the other children. In fact, she would be lucky to reach five feet when she was grown.
“I tell you what. I need to go up in the attic and bring down some boxes of clothes for the church auction. Why don’t you follow me and you can look around up there. I might even have an old toy or two from when your mommy was little.”
In the hallway, Mae reached up and pulled a cord that released a ladder. She went first to turn on the light. The attic had dust swirling from the rush of air. Krissie could see some spider webs too.
“I’m kind of scared. Are there any ghosts up here?”
“If there are any ghosts they are friendly ones I’m sure. See that chest over in the corner? Why don’t you look inside of it and see what you find?”
After helping Krissie open the wooden chest, Mae grabbed the two boxes and left. While downstairs, she received a phone call leaving Krissie in the attic alone.
Krissie noticed something pink at the bottom below some books and pulled out a small box. When she opened it, a tiny ballerina danced in circles around and around while music played. The dancer was beautiful and wore flowers in her hair.
“Oh I wish I could be as pretty as you. You’re tiny but I bet no one would be mean to you.” She gently touched the ballerina.
The music became loud and the ballerina spun so fast it made Krissie dizzy. The air swirled and the dust turned to fog. Krissie covered her face until the attic stopped moving. When she peaked out between her fingers she noticed a man sitting at a table writing in a book.
“Are you a ghost?”
“Oh my, where did you come from? I didn’t even hear you open the door.” The man stopped writing, staring over his spectacles, examining Krissie.
“You’re in my grandma’s attic. I was playing with this box and suddenly, there you were. So are you?”
“Am I what?”
“No, no child, I am an author. My name is Hans Christian Anderson. I write stories and poems mostly. Do you like fairy tales?”
Krissie nodded her head up and down. “My name’s Krissie. Mommy used to read to me before she went to live with the angels. I can’t read yet.”
“Are you sad because your mommy died?”
“Some, but I’m mostly sad because I have no friends.” Krissie shuffled her feet.
“Why would a pretty girl like you not have any friends?”
“Because I’m so little. They called me bad names, push me down and run away.”
“Why I have the perfect story for you that I just recently wrote. It is about a tiny girl by the name of Thumbelina.”
Hans stared at the small cherub before him. “Well this is the story about a mommy who wanted a little girl so badly that she helped this magic woman who gave her a seed to plant for being so nice to her. The plant grew and when the flower opened up the woman saw an itsy-bitsy little girl lying inside the petals. She was so excited that she named her Thumbelina. One night a toad came into her house and stole Thumbelina to give his son. The son didn’t like her at all and so a fish and a butterfly help her escape. Things get worse. A beetle steals her off a Lilly pad. He introduces her to his friends, but they call her awful names and hurt her feelings. He runs off, leaving her to fend for herself in the winter. A mouse takes her in and has Thumbelina clean her house to pay her back. The mouse tries very hard to marry her off to Mr. Mole but Thumbelina refuses.”
“Oh my! Poor Thumbelina. I know exactly how she feels.” Krissie nodded her curls up and down making Hans smile.
“Well, Thumbelina finds an injured bird and nurses him until he is well enough to fly. He agrees to take her with him and leaves her in a beautiful flower garden. Thumbelina meets a tiny fairy flower-prince who falls in love with her and gives her wings so that she can fly with him and play all day together. He even changes her name to Maia.”
“Did his fairies friends like her?”
“Oh yes, they even made her a princess. She danced and flew around the flowers all day, happy because she had so many friends who liked her and accepted her just the way she was. So you see, little one, don’t let those bullies bother you. Some day you will find your place and have many friends who like you for who you are. You just be patient and keep smiling.”
The man disappeared as quickly as he appeared. Krissie clapped and then hugged the box to her chest. She would remember this story forever.