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A Beautiful Sight

From The Little Green Goblin by James Ball Naylor.

 

dropcap-LLittle Bob Taylor was mad, discouraged, and thoroughly miserable. Things had gone wrong—as things have the perverse habit of doing with mischievous, fun-loving boys of ten—and he was disgruntled, disgusted. The school year drawing to a close had been one of dreary drudgery; at least that was the retrospective view he took of it. And warm, sunshiny weather had come—the season for outdoor sports and vagrant rambles—and the end was not yet. Still he was a galley slave in the gilded barge of modern education; and open and desperate rebellion was in his heart.

One lesson was not disposed of before another intrusively presented itself, and tasks at home multiplied with a fecundity rivaling that of the evils of Pandora’s box. Yes, Bob was all out of sorts. School was a bore; tasks at home were a botheration, and life was a frank failure. He knew it; and what he knew he knew.

He had come from school on this particular day in an irritable, surly mood, to find that the lawn needed mowing, that the flower-beds needed weeding,—and just when he desired to steal away upon the wooded hillside back of the house and make buckeye whistles! He had demurred, grumbled and growled, and his father had rebuked him. Then he had complained of a headache, and his mother had given him a pill—a pill! think of it—and sent him off to bed.

Bob was out of sorts

Bob was out of sorts with himself

So here he was, tossing upon his own little bed in his own little room at the back of the house. It was twilight. The window was open, and the sweet fragrance of the honeysuckle flowers floated in to him. Birds were chirping and twittering as they settled themselves to rest among the sheltering boughs of the wild cherry tree just without, and the sounds of laughter and song came from the rooms beneath, where the other members of the family were making merry. Bob was hurt, grieved. Was there such a thing as justice in the whole world? He doubted it! And he wriggled and squirmed from one side of the bed to the other, kicked the footboard and dug his fists into the pillows—burning with anger and consuming with self-pity. At last the gathering storm of his contending emotions culminated in a downpour of tears, and weeping, he fell asleep.

“Hello! Hello, Bob! Hello, Bob Taylor!”

Bob popped up in bed, threw off the light coverings and stared about him. A broad band of moonlight streamed in at the open window, making the room almost as light as day. Not a sound was to be heard. The youngster peered into the shadowy corners and out into the black hallway, straining his ears. The clock down stairs struck ten deliberate, measured strokes.

“I thought I heard somebody calling me,” the lad muttered; “I must have been dreaming.”

He dropped back upon his pillows and closed his eyes.

“Hello, Bob!”

The boy again sprang to a sitting posture, as quick as a jack-in-a-box, his eyes and mouth wide open. He was startled, a little frightened.

“Hel—hello yourself!” he quavered.

“I’m helloing you,” the voice replied. “I’ve no need to hello myself; I’m awake.”

Bob looked all around, but could not locate the speaker.

“I’m awake, too,” he muttered; “at least I guess I am.”

“Yes, you’re awake all right enough now,” the voice said; “but I nearly yelled a lung loose getting you awake.”

“Well, where are you?” the boy cried.

A hoarse, rasping chuckle was the answer, apparently coming from the open window. Bob turned his eyes in that direction and blinked and stared, and blinked again; for there upon the sill, distinctly visible in the streaming white moonlight, stood the oddest, most grotesque figure the boy had ever beheld. Was it a dwarfed and deformed bit of humanity, or a gigantic frog masquerading in the garb of a man? Bob could not tell; so he ventured the very natural query:

“What are you?”

“I’m a goblin,” his nocturnal visitor made reply, in a harsh strident, parrot-like voice.

“A goblin?” Bob questioned.

“Yes.”

“Well, what’s a goblin?”

“Don’t you know?” in evident surprise.

“No.”

“Why, boy—boy! Your education has been sadly amiss.”

“I know it,” Bob replied with unction, his school grievances returning in full force to his mind. “But what is a goblin? Anything like a gobbler?”

“Stuff!” his visitor exclaimed in a tone of deep disgust. “Anything like a gobbler! Bob, you ought to be ashamed. Do I look anything like a turkey?”

“No, you look like a frog,” the boy laughed.

“Shut up!” the goblin croaked.

“I won’t!” snapped the boy.

“Look here!” cried the goblin. “Surely you know what goblins are. You’ve read of ’em—you’ve seen their pictures in books, haven’t you?”

“I think I have,” Bob said reflectively, “but I don’t know just what they are.”

“You know what a man is, don’t you?” the goblin queried.

“Of course.”

“Well, what is a man?”

“Huh?” the lad cried sharply.

“What is a man?”

“Why, a man’s a—a—a man,” Bob answered, lamely.

“Good—very good;” the goblin chuckled, interlocking his slim fingers over his protuberant abdomen and rocking himself to and fro upon his slender legs. “I see your schooling’s done you some good. Yes, a man’s a man, and a goblin’s a goblin. Understand? It’s all as clear as muddy water, when you think it over. Hey?”

“You explain things just like my teacher does,” the boy muttered peevishly.

“How’s that?” the goblin inquired, seating himself upon the sill and drawing his knees up to his chin.

“Why, when we ask him a question, he asks us one in return; and when we answer it, he tangles us all up and leaves us that way.”

“Does he?” the goblin grinned.

“Yes, he does,” sullenly.

“He must be a good teacher.”

“He is good—good for nothing,” snappishly.

The goblin hugged his slim shanks and laughed silently. He was a diminutive fellow, not more than a foot in height. His head was large; his body was pursy. A pair of big, waggling ears, a broad, flat nose, two small, pop eyes and a wide mouth made up his features. His dress consisted of a brimless, peaked cap, cutaway coat, long waistcoat, tight fitting trousers and a pair of tiny shoes—all of a vivid green color. His was indeed an uncouth and queer figure!

“Say!” Bob cried, suddenly.

“Huh?” the goblin ejaculated, throwing back his head and nimbly scratching his chin with the toe of his shoe.

“What are you called?”

“Sometimes I’m called the Little Green Goblin of Goblinville.”

“Oh!”

“Yes.”

“But what’s your name?”

“Fitz.”

“Fitz?”

“Yes.”

“Fitz what?”

“Fitz Mee.”

“Fits you?” laughed Bob. “I guess it does.”

“No!” rasped the goblin. “Not Fitz Hugh; Fitz Mee.”

“That’s what I said,” giggled the boy, “fits you.”

“I know you did; but I didn’t. I said Fitz Mee.”

“I can’t see the difference,” said Bob, with a puzzled shake of the head.

“Oh, you can’t!” sneered the goblin.

“No, I can’t!”—bristling pugnaciously.

“Huh!”—contemptuously—“I say my name is Fitz Mee; you say it is Fitz Hugh; and you can’t see the difference, hey?”

“Oh, that’s what you mean—that your name is Fitz Mee,” grinned Bob.

“Of course it’s what I mean,” the goblin muttered gratingly; “it’s what I said; and a goblin always says what he means and means what he says.”

“Where’s your home?” the boy ventured to inquire.

“In Goblinville,” was the crisp reply.

“Goblinville?”

“Yes; the capital of Goblinland.”

“And where’s that?”

“A long distance east or a long distance west.”

“Well, which?”

“Either or both.”

“Oh, that can’t be!” Bob cried.

“It can’t?”

“Why, no.”

“Why can’t it?”

“The place can’t be east and west both—from here.”

“But it can, and it is,” the goblin insisted.

“Is that so?”—in profound wonder.

“Yes; it’s on the opposite side of the globe.”

“Oh, I see.”

The goblin nodded, batting his pop eyes.

“Well, what are you doing here?” Bob pursued.

“Talking to you,” grinned the goblin.

“I know that,” the lad grumbled irritably. “But what brought you here?”

“A balloon.”

“Oh, pshaw! What did you come here for?”

“For you.”

“For me?”

“Yes; you don’t like to live in this country, and I’ve come to take you to a better one.”

“To Goblinland?”

“Yes.”

“Is that a better country than this—for boys?”

“Yes, indeed.”

“In what way is it better?” Bob demanded, shrewdly. “Tell me about it.”

“Well,” the goblin went on to explain, unclasping his hands and stretching his slender legs full length upon the window-sill, “in your country a boy isn’t permitted to do what pleases him, but is compelled to do what pleases others. Isn’t that so?”

“Yes, it is,” the lad muttered.

“But in our land,” the goblin continued, “a boy isn’t permitted to do what pleases others, but is compelled to do what pleases himself.”

“Oh!” ejaculated Bob, surprised and pleased. “That’s great. I’d like to live in Goblinland.”

“Of course you would,” said the goblin, placing a finger alongside of his flat nose and winking a pop eye. “Your parents and your teacher don’t know how to treat you—don’t appreciate you; they don’t understand boys. You’d better come along with me.”

“I’ve a notion to,” Bob replied thoughtfully. Then, abruptly: “But how did you find out about me, that I was dissatisfied with things here?”

“Oh, we know everything that’s going on,” the goblin grinned; “we get wireless telephone messages from all over the world. Whenever anybody says anything—or thinks anything, even—we learn of it; and if they’re in trouble some one of us good little goblins sets off to help them.”

“Why, how good of you!” Bob murmured, in sincere admiration. “You chaps are a bully lot!”

“Yes, indeed,” the goblin giggled; “we’re a good-hearted lot—we are. Oh, you’ll just love and worship us when you learn all about us!”

And the little green sprite almost choked with some suppressed emotion.

“I’m going with you,” the boy said, with sudden decision. “Will your balloon carry two, though?”

“We can manage that,” said the goblin. “Come here to the window and take a squint at my aërial vehicle.”

Bob crawled to the foot of the bed and peeped out the window. There hung the goblin’s balloon, anchored to the window-sill by means of a rope and hook. The bag looked like a big fat feather bed and the car resembled a large Willow clothes-basket. The boy was surprised, and not a little disappointed.

“And you came here in that thing?” he asked, unable to conceal the contempt he felt for the primitive and clumsy-looking contraption.

“Of course I did,” Fitz Mee made answer.

“And how did you get from the basket to the window here?”

“Slid down the anchor-rope.”

“Oh!” Bob gave an understanding nod. “And you’re going to climb the rope, when you go?”

“Yes; can you climb it?”

“Why, I—I could climb it,” Bob replied, slowly shaking his head; “but I’m not going to.”

“You’re not?” cried the goblin.

“No.”

“Why?”

“I’m not going to risk my life in any such a balloon as that. It looks like an old feather bed.”

“It is a feather bed,” Fitz answered, complacently.

In my land a boy is compelled to do what pleases himself

“WHAT!” exclaimed Fitz Mee

“What!”

The goblin nodded sagely.

“Whee!” the lad whistled. “You don’t mean what you say, do you? You mean it’s a bed tick filled with gas, don’t you?”

“I mean just what I say,” Fitz Mee replied, positively. “That balloon bag is a feather bed.”

“But a feather bed won’t float in the air,” Bob objected.

“Won’t it?” leered the goblin.

“No.”

“How do you know? Did you ever try one to see?”

“N—o.”

“Well, one feather, a downy feather, will fly in the air, and carry its own weight and a little more, won’t it?”

“Yes,” the lad admitted, wondering what the goblin was driving at.

“Then won’t thousands of feathers confined in a bag fly higher and lift more than one feather alone will?”

“No,” positively.

“Tut—tut!” snapped the goblin. “You don’t know anything of the law of physics, it appears. Won’t a thousand volumes of gas confined in a bag fly higher and lift more than one volume unconfined will?”

“Why, of course,” irritably.

“Well!”—triumphantly,—“don’t the same law apply to feathers? Say!”

“I—I don’t know,” Bob stammered, puzzled but unconvinced.

“To be sure it does,” the goblin continued, smoothly. “I know; I’ve tried it. And you can see for yourself that my balloon’s a success.”

“Yes, but it wouldn’t carry me,” Bob objected; “I’m too heavy.”

“I’ll have to shrink you,” Fitz Mee said quietly.

Shrink me?” drawing back in alarm bordering on consternation.

“Yes; it won’t hurt you.”

“How—how’re you going to do it?”

“I’ll show you.”

The goblin got upon his feet, took a small bottle from his waistcoat pocket and deliberately unscrewed the top and shook out a tiny tablet.

“There,” he said, “take that.”

“Uk-uh!” grunted Bob, compressing his lips and shaking his head. “I don’t like to take pills.”

“This isn’t a pill,” Fitz explained, “it’s a tablet.”

“It’s all the same,” the boy declared obstinately.

“Won’t you take it?”

“No.”

“Then you can’t go with me.”

“I can’t?”

The goblin shook his head.

“Isn’t there some other way you can—can shrink me?”

Again Fitz Mee silently shook his head.

“W-e-ll,” Bob said slowly and reluctantly, “I’ll take it. But, say?”

“Well?”

“What’ll it do to me—just make me smaller?”

“That’s all.”

“How small will it make me?”

“About my size,” grinned the goblin.

“Oo—h!” ejaculated Bob. “And will it make me as—as ugly as you are?” in grave concern.

The goblin clapped his hands over his stomach, wriggled this way and that and laughed till the tears ran down his fat cheeks.

“Oh—ho!” he gasped at last. “So you think me ugly, do you?”

“Yes, I do,” the lad admitted candidly, a little nettled.

“Well, that’s funny,” gurgled the goblin; “for that’s what I think of you. So you see the matter of looks is a matter of taste.”

“Huh!” Bob snorted contemptuously. “But will that tablet change my looks? That’s what I want to know.”

“No, it won’t,” was the reassuring reply.

“And will I always be small—like you?”

“Look here!” Fitz Mee croaked hoarsely. “If you’re going with me, stop asking fool questions and take this tablet.”

“Give it to me,” Bob muttered, in sheer desperation.

And he snatched the tablet and swallowed it.

Immediately he shrunk to the size of the goblin.

“My!” he cried. “It feels funny to be so little and light.”

He sprang from the bed to the window-sill, and anticly danced a jig in his night garment.

“Get into your clothes,” the goblin commanded, “and let’s be off.”

Bob nimbly leaped to the floor, tore off his night-robe and caught up his trousers. Then he paused, a look of comical consternation upon his apple face.

“What’s the matter?” giggled the goblin.

“Why—why,” the boy gasped, his mouth wide open, “my clothes are all a mile too big for me!”

Fitz Mee threw himself prone upon his stomach, pummeled and kicked the window-sill, and laughed uproariously.

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Just why were his clothes to large, and what happened next you may ask? Well you will have to download the Little Green Goblin to find out for yourself.

The Little Green Goblin by James Ball Naylor – the 12 adventures of Bob and the Little Green Goblin.

ISBN: 9788835375777

DOWNLOAD LINK: https://bit.ly/33XA2Uk

10% of the publisher’s profits are donated to charity.
Yesterday’s books for today’s Charities.

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THERE was and there was not at all (of God’s best may it be!), there was a king. When the day of his death was drawing nigh, he called his son to him, and said: ‘In the day when thou goest to hunt in the east, take this coffer, but only open it when thou art in dire distress.’

 

The king died, and was buried in the manner he had wished. The prince fell into a state of grief, and would not go outside the door. At last the ministers of state came to the new king, and proposed to him that he should go out hunting. The king was delighted with the idea, and set out for the chase with his suite.

 

They went eastwards, and killed a great quantity of game. On their way home, the young monarch saw a tower near the road, and wished to know what was in it. He asked one of his viziers to go and try to find out about it. He obeyed, but first said:

 

‘I hope to return in three days, and if I do not I shall be dead.’

 

Three days passed, and the vizier did not return. The king sent a second, a third, a fourth, but not one of them came back. Then he rose and went himself. When he arrived, he saw written over the door: ‘Enter and thou wilt repent; enter not and thou wilt repent.’

 

‘I must do one or the other,’ said the king to himself, ‘so I shall go in.’

 

He opened the door and went in. Behold! there stood twelve men with drawn swords. They took his hand and led him into twelve rooms. When he was come into the twelfth, he saw a golden couch, on which was stretched a boy of eight or nine years of age. His eyes were closed, and he did not utter a word. The king was told:

 

‘Thou mayst ask him three questions, but if he does not understand and answer all of them, thou must lose thy head.’

 

The king became very sad, but at last remembered the coffer his father had given him. ‘What greater misfortune can I have than to lose my head?’ said he to himself. He took out the coffer and opened it; from it there fell out an apple, which rolled towards the couch. ‘What help can this be to me?’ said the king.

 

But the apple began to speak, and told the following tale to the boy:–‘A certain man was travelling with his wife and brother, when night fell, and they had no food. The woman’s brother-in-law went into a neighbouring village to buy bread; on the way he met brigands, who robbed him and cut off his head. When his brother did not return, the man went to look for him; he met the same fate. The next day the unhappy woman went to seek them, and there she saw her husband and brother-in-law lying in one place with their heads cut off; around was a pool of blood. The woman sat down, tore her hair, and began to weep bitterly. At that moment there jumped out a little mouse. It began to lick the blood, but the woman took a stone, threw it at the mouse, and killed it. Then the mouse’s mother came out and said: “Look at me, I can bring my child back to life, but what canst thou do for thy husband and his brother?” She pulled up an herb, applied it to the little mouse, and it was restored to life. Then they both disappeared in their hole. The woman rejoiced greatly when she saw this; she also plucked of the same herb, put the heads on the bodies, and applied it to them. Her husband and brother-in-law both came back to life, but alas! she had put the wrong heads on the bodies. Now, my sage youth! tell me, which was the woman’s husband?’ concluded the apple.

 

He opened his eyes, and said: ‘Certainly it was he who had the right head.’

 

The king was very glad.

 

‘A joiner, a tailor, and a priest were travelling together at one time,’ began the apple. ‘Night came on when they were in a wood; they lighted a huge fire, had their supper, and then said: “Do not let us be deprived of employment, each of us shall in turn watch, and do something in his trade.” The joiner’s turn came first. He cut down a tree, and out of it he fashioned a man. Then he lay down, and went to sleep, while the tailor mounted guard. When he saw the wooden man, he took off his clothes and put them on it. Last of all, the priest acted as sentinel. When he saw the man he said: “I will pray to God that He may give this man a soul.” He prayed, and his wish was granted.’

 

‘Now, my boy, canst thou tell me who made the man?’

 

‘He who gave him the soul.’

 

The king was pleased, and said to himself: ‘That is two.’ The apple again went on: ‘There were a diviner, a physician, and a swift runner. The diviner said: “There is a certain prince who is ill with such and such a disease.” The physician said: “I know a cure for it.” “I will run with it,” said the swift runner. The physician prepared the medicine, and the man ran with it. Now tell me who cured the king’s son?’ said the apple.

 

‘He who made the medicine,’ replied the boy. When he had given the three answers, the apple rolled back into the casket, and the king put it in his pocket. The boy arose, embraced the king, and kissed him: ‘Many men have been here, but I have not been able to speak before: now tell me what thou wishest, and I will do it.’ The king asked that his viziers might be restored to life, and they all went away with rich presents.

 

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From Georgian Folk Tales (1894) compiled and translated by Marjory Wardrop

ISBN: 978-1-907256-12-7

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_gft.html

 

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

 

Georgian Folk Tales 1894