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Little People

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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 small, blue-hooded, (mostly) mute Little People who work for Mr. Tiny. They're minor characters in the beginning, one of them, Harkat Mulds, quickly becomes a major character.
  • In The Marvellous Land of Snergs, the proverbial Snergs are one race of short, stout humanoids.

Live Action TV

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.

Video Games

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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