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Little People

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LITTLE PEOPLE come in all sizes, from knee-high right up to the shoulder of the average human, and in a variety of breeds. The general Rule is that the smaller kinds are more like humans, while the larger ones get hairier and hairier, beginning with hairy feet and ending with hairy everything. All of them live in secret retired places, in either WOODS or MOUNTAINS, and come out only to join the Tour and help in SAVING THE WORLD. They are surprisingly cheerful, efficient, and brave, and usually win through where humans fail. If you have one or more on your Tour, count yourself lucky. Apart from anything else, Little People are allowed to make JOKES.

Just about every fantasy world has at least one race whose defining characteristic is that they're not just short, but small. Typically around the size of a human child with an age in single digits. They typically fill the role of "comic relief" in an adventuring group (when they're not the protagonists). If any race of the Little People is to be considered tall compared to the rest of those races, it's most likely gonna be a Dwarf. Because they resemble a child, there's a good chance the Little People are magic users.

Dwarves, Hobbits, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Christmas Elves, and some Fairies are specific subtropes. If these people are really little and are the main characters, it is a Mouse World; for other mouse-sized people, see Lilliputians.

Not to be confused with the animated series of the same name. Also not to be confused with Real Life little people — for tropes relating to humans with dwarfism, see Little People Are Surreal and Depraved Dwarf.


Comic Books
  • ElfQuest: The ancestral High Ones were as tall as humans, being shapeshifting extraterrestrials, but over the course of time many of their descendants evolved into shorter forms.
  • The Man: A young boy has to hide and look after a demanding and bossy little man.

Fan Works

  • With Strings Attached: Although the first story has no race of small folk, The Keys Stand Alone has a large number of small folk races running around the rebooted C'hou. Some outworlders are small folk as well, such as Theecat.

Films — Live-Action

  • The Dark Crystal has two short-ish races, the smallish Gelflings and the even smaller "Pod People" (who look kind of like potatoes and live in big seed pods). Then again, there are no human characters, and everyone else is either a reptilian or a something like a very tall angel, so the scale isn't totally clear.


  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: The small men, a mysterious species which have large owl-like eyes, their features wizened with hands and feet of disproportionate (to humans) size. Most only meet humans to trade with them (but will walk off instantly if the deal isn't what they like) and speak in a strange language. They live under the earth and mine, while they appear to be entirely male at first (but small women are shown later-it's the men that venture outside apparently). All of them are later revealed to live in a massive city which they've carved underground. They're capable of great magic, especially illusions and apparently vanishing or appearing at will (it's revealed that's due to traveling in the shadow world).
  • The Chronicles of Prydain: Doli, Gwystal and the rest of The Fair Folk are smaller than humans in size.
  • Cirque du Freak: The Little People, created from the souls of the dead by Mr. Des Tiny to be his servants, are the true source in the setting of all of these legends around the world. They have stitched-together grey skin, glowing green eyes set too high on their faces, no hair, no eyelids, no sense of smell or taste, no speech unless Tiny decides to bless them with it, and they must wear special masks because if they breathe the air, they'll die. Multiple main characters are transformed into these over the course of the series.
  • Discworld has dwarfs, pictsies (Violent Glaswegian smurfs), goblins (mostly peaceful edge folk with a surprising talent for mechanisms), and gnomes (the least detailed, although the first to appear, but known to be good shoemakers).
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: The proverbial Snergs are a race of short, stout humanoids.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: There's a wide assortment of minute races running about in various sizes and levels of hairiness. Some will likely be copies of Tolkien's Hobbits. They live in hidden places in woods and mountains, and tend to be cheerful, brave and stalwart. They are also the only group that the story will regularly permit to have a sense of humor.

Live Action TV

  • Blake's 7. In "The Web", the characters encounter the Decima, a genetically-engineered Servant Race four-feet high on a planet covered in five-foot high bracken.
  • Bonanza: Several episodes had dwarves as either comic antagonists or sympathetic guests, including "Hoss and the Leprechauns" and "It's a Small World."
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Harfoots invoke this more so than the Third Age Hobbits in that their talent for hiding makes them mysterious creatures of legend to the other races of Men, akin to beings from folklore such as fairies or leprechauns. Their segments are also the most lighthearted parts.

Mythology and Folklore

  • Many mythical depictions of elves were like this (Santa's elves, for instance), until Tolkien repopularized the 'tall' elves of ancient myth into modern fantasy.
  • Leprechauns.
  • There are a number of stories of little people in Native American Mythology, such as the pukwudgies of the Delaware and Wampanaug tribes.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Dragonlance setting has the Kender, which served as a different take on the Little People at the time (even if it was considered the Scrappy race due to annoying players playing up the kender's natural curiosity, fearlessness, and kleptomania). This helped evolve the Halfling in later editions past "hobbits with the serial numbers filed off".
    • Dwarves are short, but they don't fit the cute or childlike part of the trope. They tend to be characterized as dour, tough, and warlike, and they tend to make good fighter characters.
  • The Small Folk is (strangely enough) about (very) little people, living secretly on the margins of the modern world.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Ratlings, though they don't have much presence in the game besides being specialist snipers for the Imperial Guard. They're essentially grimdark hobbits, being kleptomaniac little fornicators.

Video Games

  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura averts the comic relief bit. Gnomes are Corrupt Corporate Executives who organize the mass kidnapping and rape (by ogres) of human women to breed half-ogres for use as a bodyguard race.
  • Arknights has the Durin, a diminutive underground race who are a fusion of classic dwarves and Hobbits. They're incredibly skilled engineers and shockingly good fighters but also completely carefree and love to do nothing but party, drink, and eat.
  • Dark Chronicle: The Firbits are half the size of the protagonists, addicted to grape juice, and their eyes are always covered with hair or glasses. While relatively mature, they have a habit of lapsing into childish responses, not unlike the Moon Folk from the previous game.
  • Everquest II has a vast array of little folks for players to take on, including five races (Fae, Arasai, Froglok, Gnome and Ratonga) who are half the height of humans or less!
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Granblue Fantasy has the Harvins. They're about half the height of a human adult, with Pointy Ears and childlike faces even as adults. They're portrayed as having a natural affinity for magic and academics though they're no slouches when it comes to weapons.
  • League of Legends: The yordles are short humanoids who come in a number of variants; some are furry and animal-like, such as Teemo and Rumble, while others are more like small humans, such as Corki and Poppy.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap gives you the titular Minish. Your hat / Exposition Fairy who is a Minish himself, cursed by the Big Bad into said hat form also doubles as a way to shrink down to their size, thereby enabling interaction with them.
  • Warcraft has gnomes and dwarves as its Little People. Also goblins, but their only comic trait is their tendency to make things go boom. The Battle for Azeroth expansion adds the Fox Folk Vulpera, based on Fennec Foxes.
  • Whateley Universe: Koehnes (and the race of Sidhe she's from). She has just showed up on campus and set herself as servant to Fey despite the fact that Fey has a roommate and lives in a dorm.

Web Original

  • Lucky Day Forever: The Proles. This trope is used to show that they are the lower class of a society ruled by tall, rich Whites.

Western Animation

  • Amphibia: Frogs are larger than their Earth counterparts, but still only a few feet tall. Even a pre-teen human girl like Anne towers over most of them. Newts and toads are bigger, but still generally shorter than adult humans (though the latter are often larger overall because they're so stocky). Olms and giant salamanders are genuinely enormous even compared to humans.
  • Steven Universe: Several of the gem castes are about the size of young children, including Rubies, Sapphires, Peridots (at least the ones made in Era 2), Aquamarines, and Larimars. A few are even smaller.

Alternative Title(s): Little Person