The Last of Huggermugger

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



  MR. SCRAWLER now thought it was time for him to speak. He had only refrained from communicating to Huggermugger what the dwarf had told him, from the fear of making the poor giant more unhappy and ill than ever. But he saw that he could be silent no longer, for there seemed to be a suspicion in Huggermugger’s mind, that it might be these very people, in whose ship he had consented to go, who had found out and revealed his secret.

  Mr. Scrawler then related to the giant what the dwarf had told him in the garden, about the concealed MS., and the prophecy it contained.

  Huggermugger sunk his head in his hands, and said: “Ah, the dwarf—the dwarf! Fool that I was; I might have known it. His race always hated mine. Ah, wretch! that I had punished thee as thou deservest!

  “But, after all, what matters it?” he added, “I am the last of my race. What matters it, if I die a little sooner than I thought? I have little wish to live, for I should have been very lonely in my island. Better is it that I go to other lands—better, perhaps, that I die ere reaching land.

  “Friends, I feel that I shall never see your country—and why should I wish it? How could such a huge being as I live among you? For a little while I should be amused with you, and you astonished at me. I might find friends here and there, like you; but your people could never understand my nature, nor I theirs. I should be carried about as a spectacle; I should not belong to myself, but to those who exhibited me. There could be little sympathy between your people and mine. I might, too, be feared, be hated. Your climate, your food, your houses, your laws, your customs—every thing would be unlike what mine has been. I am too old, too weary of life, to begin it again in a new world.”

  So, my young readers, not to weary you with any more accounts of Huggermugger’s sickness, I must end the matter, and tell you plainly that he died long before they reached America, much to Mr. Nabbum’s vexation. Little Jacket and his friends grieved very much, but they could not help it, and thought that, on the whole, it was best it should be so. Zebedee Nabbum wished they could, at least, preserve the giant’s body, and exhibit it in New York. But it was impossible. All they could take home with them was his huge skeleton; and even this, by some mischance, was said to be incomplete.

  Some time after the giant’s death, Mr. Scrawler, one day when the ship was becalmed, and the sailors wished to be amused, fell into a poetic frenzy, and produced the following song, which all hands sung, (rather slowly) when Mr. Nabbum was not present, to the tune of Yankee Doodle:—

Yankee Nabbum went to sea
A huntin’ after lions;
He came upon an island where
There was a pair of giants.
He brought his nets and big harpoon,
And thought he’d try to catch ‘em,
But Nabbum found our very soon
There was no need to fetch ‘em.

Yankee Nabbum went ashore,
With Jacky and some others,
But Huggermugger treated them
Just like his little brothers.
He took ‘em up and put ‘em in
His thunder-in’ big fish basket;—
He took ‘e-m home and gave ‘em all
They wanted, ere they asked it.

The giants were as sweet to them
As two great lumps of sugar,—
very Queen of Candy was
Good Mrs. Huggermugger.
But, ah! the good fat woman died,
The giant too departed,
And came himself on Nabbum’s ship,
Quite sad and broken hearted.

He came aboard and sailed with us,
A sadder man and wiser—
But pretty soon, just like his wife,
He sickened and did die, Sir.
But Nabbum kept his mighty bones—
How they will stare to see ‘em,
When Nabbum has them all set up
In Barnum’s great Museum!

  Nothing is clearly known, strange to say, as to what became of this skeleton. In the Museum, at Philadelphia, there are some great bones, which are usually supposed to be those of the Great Mastodon. It is the opinion, however, of others, that they are none other than those of the great Huggermugger all that remains of the last of the giants.

  NOTE.—I was told, several years since, that Mr. Scrawler’s narrative of his adventures in Huggermugger’s island, was nearly completed, and that he was only waiting for a publisher. As, however, nothing has as yet been heard of his long expected book, I have taken the liberty to print what I have written, from the story, as I heard it from Little Jacket himself, who is now grown to be a man. I have been told that Little Jacket, who is now called Mr. John Cable, has left the sea, and is now somewhere out in the Western States, settled down as a farmer, and has grown so large and fat, that he fears he must have eaten some of those strange shell-fish, by which the Huggermugger race grew to be so great. Other accounts, however, say that he is as fond of the sea as ever, and has got to be the captain of a great ship; and that he and Mr. Nabbum are still voyaging round the world, in hopes of finding other Huggermuggers.

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