Mrs. Huggermugger grows thin and fades away

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



  SCRAWLER, though delighted to get hold of such a story to put into his book, could not help feeling a superstitious fear that the prediction might be verified, and some misfortune befall the good Huggermuggers. It could not come from him or any of his friends, he was sure; for Zebedee Nabbum’s first idea of entrapping the giant was long since abandoned. If he was ever to be taken away from the island, it could only be by the force of persuasion, and he was sure that Huggermugger would not voluntarily leave his wife.

  Scrawler only hinted then to Huggermugger, that he feared Kobboltozo was his enemy. But Huggermugger laughed, and said he knew the dwarf was crabbed and spiteful, but that he did not fear him. Huggermugger was not suspicious by nature, and it never came into his thoughts that Kobboltozo, or any other dwarf could have the least idea of his great secret.

  Little Jacket came now frequently to the giant’s house, where he became a great favorite. He had observed, for some days, that Mrs. Huggermugger’s spirits were not so buoyant as usual. She seldom laughed—she sometimes sat alone and sighed, and even wept. She ate very little of shell-fish—even her favorite frog had lost its relish. She was growing thin—the once large, plump woman. Her husband, who really loved her, though his manner towards her was sometimes rough, was much concerned. He could not enjoy his lonely supper—he scarcely cared for his pipe. To divert his mind, he would sometimes linger on the shore, talking to the little men, as he called them. He would strip off his long boots and his clothes, and wade out into the sea to get a nearer view of the ship. He could get near enough to talk to them on board. “How should you like to go with us,” said the little men, one day, “and sail away to see new countries? We could show you a great deal that you haven’t seen. If you went to America with us, you would be the greatest man there.”

  Huggermugger laughed, but not one of his hearty laughs—his mind was ill at ease about his wife. But the idea was a new one, of going away from giant-land to a country of pygmies. Could he ever go? Not certainly without his wife—and she would never leave the island. Why should he wish to go away? “To be sure,” he said, “it is rather lonely here-all our kindred dead—nobody to be seen but little ugly dwarfs. And I really like these little sailors, and shall be sorry to part with them. No, here I shall remain, wife and I, and here we shall end our days. We are the last of the giants—let us not desert our native soil.”

  Mrs. Huggermugger grew worse and worse. It seemed to be a rapid consumption. No cause could be discovered for her sickness. A dwarf doctor was called in, but he shook his head—he feared he could do nothing. Little Jacket came with the ship’s doctor, and brought some medicines. She took them, but they had no effect. She could not now rise from her bed. Her husband sat by her side all the time. The good-hearted sailors did all they could for her, which was not much. Even Zebedee Nabbum’s feelings were touched. He told her Yankee stories, and tales of wild beasts—of elephants, not bigger than one of her pigs—of lions and bears as small as lapdogs—of birds not larger than one of their flies. All did what they could to lessen her sufferings. “To think,” said Zebedee, “aint it curious—who’d a thought that great powerful critter could ever get sick and waste away like this!”

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