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A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1905 (Frances Hodgson Burnett is also the author of The Secret Garden). It was originally a short story that Frances Burnett published but her publisher liked it so much that he asked her to expand on the story when it started becoming incredibly popular.

A Little Princess is a children’s story that follows the life of Sara Crewe, a young girl from a wealthy family who suddenly loses everything including her fortune when her father passes away. The story teaches kids valuable lessons about the realities of class in society. Download A Little Princess PDF free below to get to know Sara!

A Little Princess


A Little Princess PDF Book Cover

Title: A Little Princess

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published: 1905

Pages: 168

Format: A4 PDF

Release Date: 1 January 1994

Copyright Status: Public Domain In The USA

Read A Little Princess Online

Read A Little Princess online if you prefer! Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it might take a couple of moments for the file to load. Once loaded, you can click “Presentation Mode” in the viewer below to read full-screen.

And if you enjoy this free Frances Hodgson Burnett book, please share it with your friends 🙂

A Little Princess Movies

There have been quite a few movie adaptations of A Little Princess.

  • 1917 – Starring Mary Pickford as Sara
  • 1939 – Starring Shirley Temple as Sara
  • 1995 – Starring Liesel Matthews as Sara
  • 1995 – Filipino adaptation – Starring Camille Prats as Sara
  • 1996 – Animated film – Directed by Laura Shepherd
  • 1997 – Russian adaptation – Starring Anastasiya Meskova as Sara

A Little Princess | 1995 | Offical Trailer

The 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess was directed by Alfonso Cuaron and although not a massive box office hit it did win a number of awards and was critically acclaimed. It received two Oscar nominations for art direction and cinematography.

A Little Princess Summary

Sara Crewe is a 7-year-old girl who lives with her father, Captain Ralph Crewe, in India. He is a wealthy English man who is raising Sara on his own because his wife passed away. He adores Sara and wants nothing but the best for her. He decides that, instead of remaining in India, she should attend boarding school in London. He enrolls her in Miss Minchin’s Seminary for Young Ladies. Although Sara doesn’t want to leave her father she promises herself that she will be brave.

Captain Crewe wants Sara to receive the best of everything so he pays the headmistress, Miss Minchin, extra for a private room, a personal maid, and even a private carriage and pony for Sara. Initially, Miss Minchin dotes on Sara because of her money but she is secretly very envious and bitter.

In spite of Sara’s special treatment and extra luxuries, she doesn’t become conceited or mean. She stays true to her good nature and quickly makes friends with some of the students as well as a scullery maid called Becky. When everyone at the school starts calling Sara “Princess”, she embraces the name because she believes all princesses are good and kind-hearted.

When Sara turns eleven, Miss Minchin arranges a lavish party for her. However, Miss Minchin receives news that Captain Crewe has passed away after catching Jungle Fever. Not only that, but he also lost his fortune in a bad investment in diamond mines.

Miss Minchin is furious because she is now left with the bill for the lavish party, Sara’s school fees, and the other luxuries her father was supposed to pay for. Miss Minchin promptly takes away all Sara’s possessions and makes her live upstairs in a horrible cold attic. She forces her to work as a servant and humiliates her.

Over the next few years, Miss Minchin’s treatment of Sara becomes increasingly worse. Not only does she treat Sara badly but the other servants do as well, all except for Becky who remains a good friend to her. Over time Sara is forced to work long hours, her clothes become worn out and she doesn’t have enough food to eat. To help her through her difficulties Sara pretends that she is actually a princess disguised as a servant and she sometimes she even imagines that she is a prisoner in the Bastille.

Although Sara is really struggling she remains kind and gentle. One day she picks up a coin on the street and buys herself some bread at a local bakery. She sees a girl that is about her age begging for food and she decides to give her the bread even though she is starving herself. The baker sees what she does and although he would like to reward her for her kindness, he can’t find her. He decides to pay her kindness forward by giving the beggar girl food and shelter.

There is a very wealthy gentleman by the name of Mr. Carrisford who lives next door to the school. he has an Indian assistant by the name of Ram Dass and they both notice Sara and feel bad for her. One day Ram Dass’s pet monkey escapes into the adjoining attic where Sara lives and Ram Dass and Sara become friends.

Ram Dass tells Mr. Carrisford about Sara’s terrible living conditions so they secretly start to buy her things to make her life a bit more comfortable. They leave the gifts in her room when she is either out or asleep and Sara and Becky believe that magical elves are bringing the gifts to her.

One day Mr. Carrisford sends Sara a gift of new clothes and Miss Minchin begins to panic thinking that Sara may have a wealthy relative who is sending her gifts. She starts to treat Sara with a bit more dignity and even allows her to go to class rather than work as a servant.

One evening, Ram Dass’s monkey escapes to Sara’s room again and Sara decides to take him home herself. When she visits Mr. Carrisford’s house the next day it comes up in conversation that she was born in India. They question her and they soon discover that she is Captain Crewe’s daughter.

They are overjoyed because they have been searching for Sara for two years. Mr. Carrisford is an old friend and business partner of Captain Crewe. He also feel ill when Captain Crewe was ill but he managed to survive and has been searching for Sara since then.

He tells Sara that her father’s investment before his death was a great success after all and that she is now very wealthy. He also tells her that he and Ram Dass were the ones who brought gifts to her attic. He asks Sara to come and live with them and she accepts. She also asks Becky to live with them as her personal servant.

On finding everything out, Miss Minchin tries to sweet-talk Sara into coming back to the school and even threatens to keep her friends from her. Mr. Carrisford promptly puts her in her place and she is furious because she has lost her chance at getting more money.

The story ends with both Sara and Mr. Carrisford’s health and happiness improving tremendously. He becomes a father figure to her and they couldn’t be happier!


A Little Princess is another beautiful story written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and it should be on everyone’s must-read list. You can download a copy of our A Little Princess PDF here to read and enjoy.

Next: Anne of Avonlea – Lucy Maud Montgomery

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