The Feast of the Dwarfs.

From: Kobboltozo: A Sequel to the Last of the Huggermuggers (1869)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Lee and Shepard 1869 Boston



  HAVING dragged up stairs the ladder, the dwarfs bore it with them into the great hall, and raised it against the table, which stood in the centre of the room. There was great talking and shouting and laughing as they mounted the table, and capered to and fro upon it.

  “Ha, ha!” they cried, “only think of it—the giant’s house is ours—the island is ours—the dwarfs are kings of the land—every thing is ours! Hurrah! Quick—let us have our feast here, on this very table—ere sundown! “

  So while some ran out to bring bread and meat, and fish and vegetables, and fruits and plates, and knives and forks, and spoons and tumblers, others dragged out one of the giant’s saucepans, and lit a fire on the hearth, and began preparations for cooking. All found something to do. The women were as active as the men. Whatever they could fetch ready-cooked from their houses, they brought; and whatever could serve them in the giant’s house, they unscrupulously used. What chiefly delighted them was the discovery of some bottles of ale, and also a half empty beer-barrel, which they contrived to tap and set its contents flowing. The bottles they could not so easily manage, as they were very tightly corked.

  When the feast was ready, they all mounted upon the table, and seated themselves at the banquet. Kobboltozo, as president, opened the feast with a speech, in which he congratulated his friends on the departure of Huggermugger, and the possession of the giant’s house and island by the dwarfs.

  “Friends,” he said, “let us hail with joy this auspicious day. He who once lorded it over us, the giant whom we feared—he who by reason of his tremendous size could not fail to be a tyrant over us smaller people, has gone—gone forever, let us hope, and the island belongs to us. Now we are all free and equal. No one can say, ‘I am greater than my neighbor.’ Every one is at liberty to act as he pleases. What doubt is there that we shall now prosper in our affairs, and all grow rich—all grow powerful?

  “Friends, I propose a toast: ‘Hurra for liberty and equality, and each man for himself.’”

  So they all fell to eating and drinking. There was great merriment and noise. Pretty soon the strong giant-beer got into their heads, and the feast became a wild orgy. They shouted, they laughed, they embraced, they stood up, they danced, they turned summersets among the plates and glasses, they quarreled and pelted each other—nothing could exceed the wild reckless extravagance of this feast.

  Presently some one proposed to drink Huggermugger’s health, in a bottle of his own ale. There was a general roar of assent. “What a capital idea—ha, ha! drink the giant’s health and a long voyage to his highness!—drink his health in his own ale—ha, ha! He’ll never drink it again. Come, some of you, help me get this big bottle on the table! yo-heave-o!—once more! up with him—there! But how shall we get the cork out? Can anybody find Huggermugger’s corkscrew?”

  “O, but don’t you see,” said another, “its only fastened in with ropes. Here, bring your hatchet, Hammawhaxo!” and the carpenter soon cut the ropes which held the huge cork. But the dwarfs did not know what frisky ale this was—for no sooner were the fastenings cut, than fz—z—zzzf fzFFFZZ—POPP!!!! out flew the cork into their faces, knocking over some half dozen of them, who lay insensible for some time, and out foamed the frothy ale, deluging and nearly drowning a half dozen more, wetting nearly every one from head to foot, and streaming in torrents down from the table.

  This unlucky adventure rather sobered the company for a while, and they concluded to let the other bottles alone.

  One foolish fellow, however, who had drank quite enough, and who had left the festive scene to take a stroll around the room, thought he saw on a small table in a comer a vessel containing water; so whether he instantly became very thirsty, or wished to wash the ale off his face, he climbed upon the table, and approaching the vessel thrust his head into it—but he lost his balance and tumbled half way in. It was Huggermugger’s inkstand—and the dwarf had some difficulty in getting out. When he did so, his head and one half his body was ink-black, while the other was its original color. He did not dare to show himself to his friends in this plight, so he slunk into a dark corner till the feast should break up.

  Another half-tipsy deserter of the jovial company, happening to see a rat-trap open, and still baited with cheese (the rats themselves seemed to have all disappeared since the giant’s departure) walked straight into it—when down went the iron gratings, and he was caught. Becoming alarmed, he called to his companions—but it was some time before anybody came; when they did, they danced around the cage, laughing at him, and poking him with sticks, and it was some time before the poor fellow was let out.

  Meanwhile the sun went down, the twilight stole on, and still they kept up the revel. The moon rose and shone in through the great window, and they had no need of candles. As the night advanced, however, the sky became overcast. Distant thunder was heard. Wild masses of dark cloud drifted across the moon, which now shone bright, now was buried in the clouds. The revelry was at its wildest, when a nearer peal of thunder startled and sobered some of the more timorous. Something nearer and darker than a cloud seemed to overshadow them—and looking up at the great window, what should they see, or fancy they saw, but the great faces of the Huggermuggers between them and the moon, gazing sorrowfully down upon them. The panic spread at once. Rushing, scrambling, tumbling over each other, pitching almost head-foremost down from the table, away they scampered as fast as they could in their tipsy condition. Fast as they could they made for the door, and fled in the desperation of fear, rolling and tumbling down the stairs—and not one was left behind, save Kobboltozo and his friend Hammawhaxo, the carpenter. They alone were sober, cool, and collected. Besides, they had a motive for remaining, and were not sorry that they were left alone in the hall of the Huggermuggers.

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