In a large village, full of large people, lived a tiny girl named Tina. Tina was small in size but she had BIG ideas.
When she played at home, she’d imagine what it would be like to live upside down like a bat. When she daydreamed outside, she would imagine a life deep underground where strange, friendly creatures awaited her arrival. Sometimes, she would travel to the clouds and learn how to float on air.
She dreamed big dreams and created big thoughts and built great worlds…but she had no one to share them with, no one who really understood her dreams or how to dream with her. She was the only one who wanted to think big thoughts. She was the only small person in her world.
In her world, everyone was big. And big people were in charge. They had all the important thoughts there were to have. They knew all the rules to follow because they were big and important. Tiny people like Tina weren’t allowed to be in charge, at least not until they were big people too.
But it seemed to Tina that even when people got big, the rules never really changed at all. Everyone just carried on following the same rules they did when they were small. This confused Tina. How could she have such big ideas, such big dreams and no way to make them real?
Tina was determined. Everyday she tried to show big people how she thought about the world. She tried to solve problems with them, find the joy in making mistakes, but it never seemed to work out the way she planned. No one really seemed to listen to her. She was very tiny after all, and it was difficult for big people to come down to her and really hear, really pay attention to what she had to say.
One day while she was playing in the garden, the sprinklers turned on when they weren’t supposed to. “What’s all of this nonsense!” cried her father. “What’s wrong with the timer?” asked her mother, perplexed. As her parents frantically tried to fix the problem, Tiny Tina looked at this wonderful accident and imagined she found a secret cove full of waterfalls!
“Mom, dad, let’s play!” she bellowed joyfully as she began running through the sprinklers, hearing the crushing sounds of water falling on large boulders. Mom and dad were not pleased. “Stop all that running around!” mom yelled, “You’ll get all wet and muddy and track dirt into the house.”
Another time, in the village market square, a huge wind blew all of the fruit and vegetable stands over. Baskets of apples and oranges and pears rolled around chaotically. Pumpkins and onions and radishes bounced in between the legs of many frustrated tall people. Tina imagined that each piece of rolling fruit and bouncing vegetable was an animal recently escaped from the zoo. She pretended to be the head zoo keeper rushing to catch all of the animals and bring them back home safely. “Watch out!” cried one of the fruit vendors. “Tina, you’re getting in the way. Stop playing and start HELPING!” cried another.
This was Tina’s life so far. She tried to keep her resolve. She tried to stay positive and believe that one day big people would see her as more than just a tiny, little thing with no real thoughts or dreams. Someday she would be more than a tiny girl who had to follow every big person rule. But as the days went on, she felt herself becoming more and more discouraged. She was starting to give in. She was starting to believe that maybe her big ideas weren’t so great after all…
And then one day, something big happened. A large scary dragon came to the village. “I have travelled far and wide,” she bellowed, “…seeking someone who can answer this question: How do you make a dragon laugh?” The dragon was weary and angry and tired. She was looking for someone, anyone who could make her laugh. She needed to laugh.
The villagers were perplexed…how could they make a dragon laugh? She was the biggest thing they ever saw in their entire lives. She was covered in thick, dark scales. She had long, sharp claws and large, terrifying wings. Did dragons like jokes? Did dragons have tickle spots? The tall people were too scared to test out their ideas.
Tiny Tina, however, had no fear at all…at least, not as much as the big people. She began imagining all of the ways that she would attempt to make a dragon laugh. Maybe she could tickle the dragon’s feet? But simple feathers would be too small. Maybe she could find something soft like a feather but large enough for the dragon to feel it on her tough, scaly dragon feet…and she found something!
She found a tall person who was busy sweeping around his front door. He hadn’t seen the big, scary dragon. He was too busy taking care of big people stuff. (Though chances were that he would have eventually seen her – she was hard to miss after all!) Tina tapped the tall man on his knee. He thought she was his silly cat, trying to have a morning play. She politely called up to the tall man, “Excuse me mister, can I borrow that broom?” He still didn’t hear her. So she yelled, “MISTER! I NEED YOUR BROOM!”
This time, he looked down, confused at how such a small person could dare to speak to a tall person so forcefully….but then he saw the dragon and forgot all about Tina once again. Frustrated, Tina grabbed the broom from the place where the tall man dropped it while gazing in horror and awe at the large, scary dragon looking down on the village and its (now-not-so) tall people. He immediately ran into his house, slammed the door and closed his curtains. Before Tina ran back to the dragon, she could only see a small opening in the curtains with his wide, fearful eyes staring through.
“How strange tall people can be sometimes,” Tina mused. Up until this point, big people seemed to know everything. At least that’s the way it seemed since they had no problem pointing out all of the things Tina did wrong on a daily basis. And now, here was the biggest problem any of them had ever seen, and there were no big people who were courageous enough to face it. “Well, perhaps being tiny will work out this time,” she whispered to herself.
She raced to the town center, passing by dozens of bewildered tall people who stared in awe at