Jonathan Small is the main antagonist and villain of the 1890 novel The Sign of Four written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Small is later portrayed by Norman Page (1923), Graham Soutten (1932), Edward Yankie (2001), Jalaal Hartley (2014) and Masachika Ichimura (2014).


Mary Morstan explains to Sherlock and Watson about her missing father and the recent discovery of six expensive pearls. The trio meet Thaddeus Sholto, son of Major Sholto and brother of Bartholomew Sholto who takes them to Pondicherry Lodge, the home of the Sholto's. There, Bartholomew Sholto is found dead. A bootprint is found formed of creosote but next to the print is a print made from a wooden leg. Sherlock tells Mr Athelney Jones to find Jonathan Small, a wooden legged man. After a long chase along The Thames, Jonathan Small's friend, Tonga, is shot and killed. Small confesses that years before he was a soldier of the Third Buffs in India and lost his right leg in a swimming accident to a crocodile. After some time, when he was an overseer on a tea plantation, the Indian Rebellion of 1857 occurred and he was forced to flee for his life to the Agra fortress. While standing guard one night he was overpowered by two Sikh troopers who gave him a choice of being killed or being an accomplice to waylaying a disguised servant of a Rajah who sent the servant with a valuable fortune in pearls and jewels to the British for safekeeping. The robbery and murder took place and the crime was discovered, although the jewels were not. Small got penal servitude on theAndaman Islands, and after twenty years he overheard that John Sholto has lost money gambling. Small sees his chance and makes a deal with Sholto and Arthur Morstan: Sholto will recover the treasure and in return send a boat to pick up Small and the Sikhs. Sholto double-crosses both Morstan and Small and steals the treasure for himself. Small vows vengeance and escapes the Andaman Islands with an islander named Tonga. It was the news of his escape that shocked Sholto into his fatal illness. Small arrives too late to hear of the treasure's location but leaves the note which refers to the name of the pact between himself and his three Sikh accomplices. When Bartholomew found the treasure, Small planned to only steal it but claims a miscommunication led Tonga to kill him as well.


Small is described as around 50 years old and posses a wooden leg after swimming in a river, and having it bitten off by a crocodile.

Villainous Acts

  • Stealing the Agra Treasure from Pondicherry Lodge.
  • Murdering a prison guard.
  • Escaping from prison, fueled by the thought of murdering Major Sholto.
  • Manipulating Captain Morstan and Major Sholto.
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