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A fairy tale for children with a great moral

History of Pollicino: the origins, the songs, and the nursery rhymes

Pollicino is one of the most famous fairy tales for children, from which songsvideos and nursery rhymes were taken. Of the story of Tom Thumb There are two versions, one of Charles Perrault, and the other of the Brothers Grimm, both leave a morality that speaks not only to children. Pollicino is the triumph of cunning, which helps when everything plays against. The fairy tale teaches to be united in adversity to overcome abandonment, relying on your own strength, and to be wary of those who only make promises.

Pollicino: the two versions of the fairy tale for children

The story of Pollicino, whose original name is Le Petit Poucet,  appears for the first time in the collection “The Tales of Mama the Goose”, dated 1697. Originally written by Charles Perrault, the children’s fairy tale tells of the vicissitudes of Pollicino, last of 7 brothers, as tall as an inch, who despite the size manages to save the situation. The same fable was later translated into Italian by Carlo Collodi, who renames it “Puccettino”. Further on, Pollicino is then remodeled by the Grimm Brothers, who derive the fable of Hänsel and Gretel. Another version of the story sees the child not as a member of a large family, but as the desired son of a peasant couple. The plot of the two versions is different, but the moral is always the same: even the smallest can accomplish big things.

Thumbelina’s tale: morality

Pollicino is the story of a child whose intelligence and strength are underestimated because of his stature. This child, no bigger than an inch, teaches us that it is not necessary to be a giant to do great things, that there is always a way to overcome evil and arrogance, using cunning rather than muscles. The whole story for children plays around the concept of eating and being eaten, but the strongest message that the fairy tale leaves is that it is possible to overcome the fear of abandonment, relying on your own strength, without relying on strangers prodigal of promises, which they are not kept.

History of Pollicino: the story for children

The story of Pollicino tells of the youngest of the seven children of a lumberjack. At the time a heavy famine had hit the city, and the parents could no longer feed all those mouths. The father then had an idea: abandon the children in the woods. The man had not reckoned with the cunning of the last of his children, just the youngest, who, having heard the parents’ speeches, had come up with a plan. Here is a shortened version of the children’s tale.

Once upon a time there was a very poor family: the father, a woodcutter, the mother and seven children. They gave the smallest name Pollicino because when he was born he was as tall as an inch. There was a year of great famine and the family had nothing more to feed. One evening, the parents decided to abandon their children in the woods because they did not want to watch them starve. Pollicino heard the parents’ speeches, then he went out into the courtyard and filled his pockets with white pebbles. The next day, Father took the children to the woods; Pollicino dropped the pebbles behind him and, following the trail backwards, managed to return home with the brothers; the parents, already repentant of their choice, welcomed them with open arms. After some time, however, the parents decided to abandon their children again in the woods, and again Pollicino heard them, but he could not pick up the pebbles because the front door was closed. To mark the path, he then used the bread crumbs but had a bitter surprise: the birds had pecked all the crumbs and in the evening he was unable to find his way. Then Pollicino climbed a tree to explore the woods and from a distance saw a small light: he guided the brothers in that direction until he found a house. A woman came to open it, who took pity on them, but warned them that this was the home of a terrible child-eating Orc. The Orc returned to the house and managed to find the hidden children thanks to their smell, but, convinced by his wife, he let them go, ready to devour them the next day. The children went to sleep in the room of the Ogre’s daughters: seven hungry little orchids who were already sleeping with seven crowns on their heads. Pollicino, not trusting the Orco, at night decided to exchange his and his brothers’ caps for the chaplets, and he did well: the Orc came in the dark to slaughter them but feeling his heads, he chose the caps and killed his own daughters. He and the brothers then fled and in the morning the Orc, finding out what he had done, chased them wearing the magical boots of the 7 Leagues, which allow you to travel a long way in a few steps. Pollicino hid his brothers in a cave and the Ogre, tired of looking for them, fell asleep in the woods. Then he took off his boots making him harmless and sent the brothers home; he returned to the ogre’s wife and with a stratagem had all his wealth handed over. When he returned home with the Orc treasure, Pollicino freed his family from poverty and placed himself at the service of the King as a messenger,

Origins of Pollicino, the fairy tale for children

The story of Tom Thumb for children takes place in ‘ vintage medieval, in which shortages were common. Some features of history recall ancient legends and classical mythology. An example? The pebbles that Pollicino spreads along the road recall the thread that Arianna uses to find her way in the labyrinth of the Minotaur. In the same way, the two protagonists manage to defeat larger and more powerful entities than they are, representing the victory of the weaker. A struggle that also recalls the antagonism of David and Goliath. The ogre, for its part, seems to recall the figure of the giant Polyphemus, the protagonist of the Odyssey. These stories of classical literature may, therefore, have influenced the story of Pollicino.

 

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