The Huggermuggers in a new light

From: The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: 1856 Boston



  I THINK the giant must have seen the ship, and ran home at full speed to tell his wife about it. For in the morning early, as Little Jacket and Nabbum and several others of the boldest of the crew had just landed their boat, and were walking on the beach, whom should they see but Huggermugger and his wife hastening towards them with rapid strides. Their first impulse was to rush and hide themselves, but the Huggermuggers came too fast towards them to allow them to do so. There was nothing else to do but face the danger, if danger there was. What was their surprise to find that the giant and giantess wore the most beaming smiles on their broad faces. They stooped down and patted their heads with their huge hands, and called them, in broken English, “pretty little dolls and dears, and where did they come from, and how long it was since they had seen any little men like them—and wouldn’t they go home and see them in their big house under the cliffs?” Mrs. Huggermugger, especially, was charmed with them, and would have taken them home in her arms—“she had no children of her own, and they should live with her and be her little babies.” The sailors did not exactly like the idea of being treated like babies, but they were so astonished and delighted to find the giants in such good humor, that they were ready to submit to all the good woman’s caresses.

  Little Jacket then told them where they came from, and related his whole story of having been shipwrecked there, and all his other adventures. As he told them how Huggermugger had carried home the big shell with him in it, sound asleep; how he had let himself down from the mantel-piece, and had tried to escape by cutting at the door; and how, when he heard Huggermugger coming, he had rushed into the boot, and how he had pricked the giant’s toe when he attempted to draw his boot on, and how the boot and he were taken to the cobbler’s—then Huggermugger and his wife could contain themselves no longer, but burst into such peals of laughter, that the people in the ship, who were watching their movements on shore through their spy-glasses, and expected every moment to see their companions all eaten alive or carried off to be killed, knew not what to make of it. Huggermugger and his wife laughed till the tears ran down their faces, and made such a noise in their merriment, that the sailors wished they were further off. They, however, were in as great glee as the giant and giantess, and began to entertain such a good opinion of them, that they were ready to assent to any thing the Huggermuggers proposed. In fact, except in matter of size, they could see very little difference between the giants and themselves. All Zebedee Nabbum’s warlike and elephant-trapping schemes melted away entirely, and he even began to have a sort of conscientious scruple against enticing away the big fellow who proved to be such a jolly good-humored giant. He was prepared for resistance. He would have even liked the fun of throwing a noose over his head, and pulling him down and harpooning him, but this good-humored, merry laughter, this motherly caressing, was too much for Zebedee. He was overcome. Even Little Jacket was astonished. The once dreaded giant was in all respects like them—only O, so much bigger!

  So, after a good deal of friendly talk, Huggermugger invited the whole boat’s crew to go home with him to dinner, and even to spend some days with him, if they would. Little Jacket liked the proposal, but Zebedee said they must first send back a message to the ship, to say where they were going. Huggermugger sent his card by the boat, to the rest of the ship’s company—it was a huge piece of pasteboard, as big as a dining-table—saying, that he and Mrs. H. would be happy, some other day, to see all who would do him the honor of a visit. He would come himself and fetch them in his fish-basket, as the road was rough, and difficult for such little folks to travel.

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