Kobboltozo astonishes Mr. Scrawler

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



  Now it chanced that some of the dwarfs I have spoken of, were not on the best of terms with the Huggermuggers. Kobboltozo was one of these. And the only reason why he disliked them, as far as could be discovered, was, that they were giants, and he (though a good deal larger than an ordinary sized man) was but a dwarf. He could never be as big as they were. He was like the frog that envied the ox, and his envy and hatred sometimes swelled him almost to bursting. All the favors that the Huggermuggers heaped upon him, had no effect in softening him. He would have been glad at almost any misfortune that could happen to them.

  Now Kobboltozo was at the giant’s house one day When Mr. Scrawler was asking questions of Huggermugger about his origin, and observed his disappointment at not being furnished with all the information he was so eager to obtain; for Mr. Scrawler calculated to make a book about the Huggermuggers and all their ancestors, which would sell. So while Mr. Scrawler was taking a stroll in the garden, Kobboltozo came up to him and told him he had something important to communicate to him. They then retired behind some shrubbery, where Kobboltozo, taking a seat under the shade of a cabbage, and requesting Mr. Scrawler to do the same, looked around cautiously, and spoke as follows:—

  “I perceive that you are very eager to know something about the Huggermuggers’ origin and history. I think that I am almost the only one in this island, besides them, who can gratify your curiosity in this matter. But you must solemnly promise to tell no one, least of all the giants, in what way you came to know what I am going to tell you, unless it be after you have left the island, for I dread Huggermugger’s vengeance if he knows the story came from me.”

  “I promise,” said Scrawler.

  “Know then,” said Kobboltozo, “that the ancestors of the Huggermuggers—the Huggers on the male side, and the Muggers on the female—were men and women not much above the ordinary size—smaller than me, the poor dwarf. Hundreds of years ago they came to this island, directed hither by an old woman, a sort of witch, who told them that if they and their children, and their children’s children, ate constantly of a particular kind of shell-fish, which was found in great abundance here, they would continue to increase in size, with each successive generation, until they became proportioned to all other growth in the island—till they became giants—such giants as the Huggermuggers. But that the last survivors of the race would meet with some great misfortune, if this secret should ever be told to more than one person out of the Huggermugger family. I have reasons for believing that Huggermugger and his wife are the last of their race; for all their ancestors and relations are dead, and they have no children, and are likely to have none. Now there are two persons who have been told the secret. It was told to me, and I tell it to you!

  As Kobboltozo ended, his face wore an almost fiendish expression of savage triumph, as if he had now settled the giants’ fate forever.

  “But,” said Scrawler, “how came you into possession of this tremendous secret; and, if true, why do you wish any harm to happen to the good Huggermuggers?”

  “I hate them!” said the dwarf. “They are rich—I am poor. They are big and well-formed—I am little and crooked. Why should not my race grow to be as shapely and as large as they; for my ancestors were as good as theirs, and I have heard that they possessed the island before the Huggermuggers came into it? No! I am weary of the Huggermuggers. I have more right to the island than they. But they have grown by enchantment, while my race only grew to a certain size, and then we stopped and grew crooked. But the Huggermuggers, if there should be any more of them, will grow till they are like the trees of the forest.

  “Then as to the way I discovered their mystery. I was taking home a pair of shoes for the giantess, and was just about to knock at the door, when I heard the giant and his wife talking. I crept softly up and listened. They have great voices—not difficult to hear them. They were talking about a secret door in the wall, and of something precious which was locked up within a little closet. As soon as their voices ceased, I knocked, and was let in. I assumed an appearance as if I had heard nothing, and they did not suspect me. I went and told Hammawhaxo, the carpenter—a friend of mine, and a dwarf like me. I knew he didn’t like Huggermugger much. Hammawhaxo was employed at the time to repair the bottom of a door in the giant’s house, where the rats had been gnawing. So he went one morning before the giants were up, and tapped all around the wainscoting of the walls with his hammer, till he found a hollow place, and a sliding panel, and inside the wall he discovered an old manuscript in the ancient Hugger language, in which was written the secret I have told you. And now we will see if the old fortune-teller’s prophecy is to come true or not.”

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