The story of the little girl with the hunched back

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived all alone in a teeny tiny cottage made of mud. The cottage was much too small for the little girl. At every turn she bumped into something and got a new bruise.  “Ouch! I’ve got another bruise. What a nuisance! Poor me!”

The older and bigger the girl grew, the more cramped her cottage became, and the more often she bumped into things. She had to stoop so much to fit into her cottage that her back was all hunched over.

One morning she left her house to gather some berries out in the woods.

There she met a little fox.

“Hello there!” said the little fox. “Tell me, why do you have such a hunched back, and so many bruises?”

“Oh, little fox,” replied the girl, “I live in a teeny tiny mud cottage on the other side of the river. It’s so small, I’m always bumping into something.”

“Goodness me,” said the Fox in amazement. “I’ve never heard such a thing. My burrow is just right for me. Comfortable as anything and really big.”

The little girl walked on, her little body even more stooped than before. But the sun laughed and tingled on her skin. And soon she was absorbed in her berry picking again, and filled her basket with delicious fruit.

Then she met a beaver. The beaver asked about her hunched back too. When she told him about her little mud cottage, the beaver replied: “I once had a lodge that was too close to the water. It was always getting flooded, and all my belongings would get wet. So I decided to cobble together a new lodge. Further up. One that doesn’t flood so quickly.”

“Really, beaver? You did that? Was it very hard?”

“Oh no, not really. Mrs Beaver helped me, and we finished the work in no time.”

After they’d said their goodbyes, the little girl kept thinking about the beaver’s story. She was so busy pondering that she missed some of the best berries in the woods.

Lost in thought, she ran straight into a curious creature. “Oops! Who are you?” asked the little girl.

“I’m the Blackberry Fairy, and who are you?”

“I’m the little girl with the hunched back.”

“Oh dear, why are you so hunched over, little girl?” asked the Blackberry Fairy.

“My mud cottage is so small, I don’t really fit into it.”

Then the fairy asked: “In your house, can you dance around in a circle with your arms stretched out?”


“Can you jump up and down like mad in one spot?”


“Can you play with a ball, or invite your friends over to eat berries?”

“No, I can’t do any of those things.”

Then the Blackberry Fairy took the little girl by the hand and said: “Come along, I’ll show you my house!”

When they went in, the little girl was wide-eyed with amazement. There was so much space in the fairy’s house. They danced and jumped and passed the ball back and forth. The little girl could stand up with her back completely straight without bumping her head. In fact there was even plenty of room to grow much bigger.

“You have such a lovely house, Blackberry Fairy. What a pity my house is so small!” said the little girl, and slumped down again.

“But you can have a house like this too, little girl! Come on, we’ll put some signs up on the trees and try to find you some helpers who know about building houses.”

And off the fairy flitted and set to work. The little girl lent a willing hand. Remembering the beaver, who had lots of building experience, she went to see him and asked if he could help her.

Soon they’d assembled a small group, which worked tirelessly every day on the little girl’s new cottage. Once a week, the Blackberry Fairy and the little girl stopped by together to check that all the building work was going according to plan, and that the new mud house really was turning out the way the little girl wanted it to be.

The next spring the house was finally finished and the little girl was able to move in. Now she not only had enough space to dance and jump and play ball – she also didn’t have to live alone any more. She had Frederick and Frieda, her two kittens, and Gypsy, her dog with the cuddly, soft fur. And she even had two patient little woodworms, Hilda und Tilda, who never got tired of the little girl, however much she chattered away in the evening.

Now the little girl stood up straight again, and could move as freely as she liked, without bumping into anything. It was wonderful, and every day she felt a fresh breeze blowing through her heart and soul.

And so she lived in peace and freedom, year after year, having all the space she needed to be who she really was.



Copyright: Anja Löbert, contact at