From: Kobboltozo: A Sequel to the Last of the Huggermuggers (1869)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Lee and Shepard 1869 Boston
AND now you must hear the strangest part of my narrative,” said the carpenter.
“It relates to Kobboltozo. As I drew near our island, the wind took me to a part of it where I had never been, and I was obliged to moor my little bark under some steep rocks. There I found one of those caves, of which our island seems to be so full, and far in its deepest recesses I saw—what remains of Kobboltozo.’’
“Is he dead, then?” they asked.
“No—on the contrary he is living in a state of the most perfect contentment with himself and every thing else. He has found at last, he thinks, the giant’s shell-fish. And a wonderful shell-fish indeed it must be—though its effects are rather different from what might be expected. Kobboltozo lives in that dim cave, and does nothing but eat oysters and smile at his reflection in the water, and strut up and down like a peacock—for he imagines that he is growing larger and handsomer every day. But the wonderful part of it is that, really, instead of getting hold of the genuine article, he feeds on something possessing just the opposite quality. He is in reality growing rapidly smaller and more disproportioned, instead of larger and shapelier. His head remains its original size, while his legs seem to be dwindling to mere spider’s legs!
“And what do you think he was doing when I first discovered him? He was standing on a huge pyramid of empty oyster shells, in the attitude of some mighty sultan, with the whole world beneath him as his obedient slave, and soliloquizing in this way:—
‘Having risen to these magnificent heights of power, I shall grow to still greater. This island shall be subject to our will. But this island shall be no more than our footstool; our power shall extend to other lands—a world of serfs shall do us reverence. We shall’—
“Here,” said Hammawhaxo, “his majesty, the cobbler, discovered me, and recognized his old comrade.
‘Hah!’ he cried, ‘this low—born slave, this son of the hammer and saw! we knew him once, methinks —he, shall be our grand vizier, our minister of state, for the fellow has been serviceable to me. Approach, carpenter, and receive the honor we intend for thee!’
“‘Come, old Kobb,’ said I, ‘leave these ridiculous airs—you are no more a king than I am. Come down from that pile of oyster shells, and take your hat and come with me. Leave this dark cavern, where you have no companions but bats, water—rats, and seabirds, and let’s go back to our village.’
“‘Your village, not mine,’ said Kobboltozo, “no miserable dwarfs for me—let them perish— let them waste away with fevers— let them kill one another—let them lose themselves in caves and holes of the earth. What care I! We will invoke the gnomes or the mermen, and they will bring us a ship—we will invade other countries, and bring back their nobles and their fair women captives, and found a new government here’—
“He was going on in this strain, when I again interrupted him, by proposing that he should come with me; that I had a vessel all ready.
“He shook his head and smiled, and looked at me with majestic contempt. ‘Some day,’ he said, ‘we shall come, and you will recognize us as your giant king—for the present, it pleases our sovereign will to remain here!’
“Finding it useless to reason with him, I was obliged to abandon him to his fate.
“So there the infatuated fellow remains, eating his oysters, and dwindling away to a mere insect. In a year from this time, I calculate that he will be just about the size of a pin’s head.”
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