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Just about every fantasy world has at least one race whose defining characteristic is that they're short. 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.

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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.


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Examples

Comic Books
  • The ancestral High Ones in ElfQuest were as tall as humans, being shapeshifting extraterrestrials, but over the course of time many of their descendants evolved into shorter forms.
  • In Raymond Briggs' 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 averts the trope by having 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.

Film

  • The Dark Crystal actually has two short-ish races, the smallish Gelfling 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.
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  • Though not the comic relief variety, the beings from Superman And The Mole People (don't really fit the Mole Men trope because they aren't rodent-like, just like tiny humans mostly)

Literature

  • 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 that universe 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.
  • In The Marvellous Land of Snergs, the proverbial Snergs are one race of short, stout humanoids.

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."

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

  • Warcraft also 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.
  • Final Fantasy XI: Tarutaru take the cuteness factor, throw in some Verbal Tics, and aim for being as adorable and sweet as possible. This naturally results in plenty of Narm whenever they try and act serious.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Lilties are a very small and cute race. They're also super-adorable (and can crossbreed with people). Oh, and they used to be The Empire and can be extremely hardy and gruff, are incredibly strong for their size, can forge some mean weaponry, and can hold a grudge with the best of dwarves. Do not cross a Lilty of you know what's good for you.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: The Lalafell are a diminutive race of adorable childlike people that love their Added Alliterative Appeal. The Plainsfolk have a more standard history of being farmers and shepherds, but much like the Lilties the Dunesfolk of Ul'dah live in a Wretched Hive of a Merchant City filled with blood sports, vicious gangsters, corrupt merchants, Loan Sharks, DirtyCops and is run by The Syndicate in a Decadent Court that undermine their Puppet King. They also have an added bonus of having a history of violent racial strife. Both versions, however, have a history of being carried off by Giant Flyers and are often noted to be the favorite food of larger monsters.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap gives you the titular Minish. Your Nice 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.

Web Original

  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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

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