From: Kobboltozo: A Sequel to the Last of the Huggermuggers (1869)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Lee and Shepard 1869 Boston
IN THE GIANT’S ISLAND.
AFTER a rather fatiguing tramp, our two travellers reached the deserted mansion. On approaching, they saw that the front door was wide open. They at once suspected that Kobboltozo, or some of the dwarfs were there, and had taken possession of the house. Perhaps they had made havoc of all that the giant had left behind him. They ascended the stairs, but saw no one. There was little change since they had left. But how dreary seemed the great mansion, without the good host and hostess who had once entertained them there! There was something very desolate in such a great house being forevermore untenanted. There stood the two great arm-chairs at either side of the huge chimney, and on the mantelpiece there was still the great shell in which Jacky was brought to the giant’s house. There was the table at which the giant and giantess had sat. There was the bed where Mrs. Huggermugger had died. There were her huge scissors, and knitting-needles, and distaff—there even her dresses hanging on the wall. There were the old boots that had waded through the marshes, and the old fish-basket that had brought home so many muscles,* and oysters, and clams. And high above all was the great window—like an immense studio-window, pouring down a flood of light upon all. Now the Huggermugger’s tramp-tramp was no more heard through the corridors—the wreaths of curling pipe-smoke no more arose to the rafters—the great voices no more came rumbling from room to room—the uproarious laughter was forever silent.
Our visitors roamed about the house with mingled feelings of curiosity and sadness. They expected every moment to meet some of the dwarfs, but found no traces of any living being. All was silent as the grave. Now and then the chirp of a solitary cricket resounded under the desolate hearthstone, like the shrill noise of some one filing. A melancholy big robin sang in the neglected garden outside, and it seemed like a requiem over the departed; and overhead they heard the long wail of the locust, swelling and dying like a bell through the still summer air. Every thing within and without was desolate, deserted, neglected. But there were signs of some one’s having been there since their departure. Not only was the outer door found open, but the floor of the great hall was scattered over here and there with fragments as of a feast,—plates, dishes, bottles, and dry scraps of food were found, which had evidently belonged to the dwarfs, and on the hearth were the remains of half-burnt brands, and cooking utensils of much too diminutive a pattern to have served the giants.
Our two adventurers left the giant’s house, and proceeded towards the village of the dwarfs, expecting every moment to meet some one who would give them some information of what had passed. But they saw no one. They reached at length the village, but found all deserted—not the trace of a living creature. The houses were all forlorn and neglected—some of them without doors, or windows, or chimneys—the fences half fallen, the gate-hinges rusty and broken, great burdocks and thorn-apples and other rank weeds of enormous size growing over and almost concealing them, and every thing evincing the most utter desolation. They went up and down, searching in vain for some living being. They called, but no one answered. At last they saw some one appear at the door of one of the huts, peeping timidly out, and a wan little† figure appeared and came out to meet them.
This little figure was the dwarf Stitchkin, the tailor. Our friends remembered him, though they did not at first recognize him. This little tailor had been sometimes employed to make Huggermugger’s clothes; but having been obliged to look up to such a height when he measured the giant, he always foreshortened his figure, and consequently made his coats excessively short in the waist; so that Mrs. H. persuaded her husband to employ him no longer, at least to make his coats. The little man seemed glad to see our friends back again. When questioned about the disappearance of the rest of the dwarfs, and the dilapidated state of their village, the tailor sighed and said: “My friends, it is my belief that they are all gone—dead or lost—and that I am the only survivor of the dwarfs.”
“And Kobboltozo,” said Jacky, “what has become of him?”
“I know not,” said Stitchkin, “and yet—it is a long story and very singular one. If you wish, you shall hear it. But come, let us leave this wretched place, and seat ourselves under yonder great tree; and there, in the cool shade, I will tell you all I know of the history of Kobboltozo and the other of my race.”
So the three went and seated themselves on the grass under the trees, and after Mr. Nabbum had treated the tailor to some luncheon, out of the provisions he had brought with him from the ship, and refreshed him with a bottle of good ale, Stitchkin gave the narrative from which we compile the following singular history.
* A friend suggests that it was probably a species of muscle on which our giant friends fed, which naturally might have contributed to the increase of their limbs. Another suggests that in their religious creed they might have been mussulmen. But I think my friends were joking.
† It must be remembered that we measure by the giant scale. We call the dwarfs little, because they were so in comparison with Huggermugger.
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