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No longer able to feed their five boys, a woodcutter and his wife reluctantly decide to abandon their children in a forest.
Fortunately the youngest of the boys, nicknamed Little Tom Thumb, overhears the parents' conversation. Forewarned, he stows some white pebbles in his pockets with the intention of dropping them one after the after as their parents lead Little Tom and his siblings into the forest.
The following day, the father executes his evil plan. But Little Tom Thumb and his brothers quickly find their way back home thanks to the pebble track.
When the parents again find themselves in dire straits they abandon their children in the forest once more. This time, however, the breadcrumbs that Little Tom drops are eaten by birds and the brothers can't find their way back.
They then arrive in front of a thatched cottage and ask to stay the night. The woman living there tries to persuade them to go away because her husband is an ogre who eats little children. But the five brothers, preferring the ogre to the wolves in the forest, insist on coming in.
Returning from the hunt, the ogre quickly discovers the little children that his wife has hidden. He immediately decides to devour them, but his wife manages to convince him to wait until the following day to enjoy his feast.
During the night, the ogre wakes up starving and decides to eat the children there and then.
But once again, Little Tom Thumb's intelligence will save his life and those of his brothers.