Short of food, a woodcutter and his wife decide to abandon their five sons in the forest. The youngest, nicknamed Hop-o'-My-Thumb, overhears their conversation. During their journey into the forest, he plans to drop small white stones to find his way back home. The next day, the father follows through with his sinister plan but Hop-o'- My-Thumb and his brothers get back home thanks to the stones. Upon their return, the parents again find themselves struggling in poverty and decide to try another attempt at leaving their children in the forest. Unfortunately, the breadcrumbs dropped by Hop-o'-My-Thumb get eaten by the birds and the children cannot find their way home. Instead, they arrive at a cottage where they ask for shelter and the lady of the house sends them away because her husband is a child-eating ogre. Deciding that an ogre is better than the forest wolves, the children insist on staying. Back from hunting, the ogre quickly discovers the young children hidden by his wife. He wants to eat them immediately but his wife convinces him to postpone until the next day. During the middle of the night, the ogre wakes up hungry, but once again, Hop-o'-My-Thumb's cleverness will save his brothers' life as well as his own.