Piemite Sweedlenewt – the diminutive teller of tall tales relaxing
Here’s another timeless tale from the Goblin Tales anthology for your enjoyment.
The Tiny Teller of Tall Tales
In which Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous), curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo), and Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, become drunk and spellbound at the same time, during one long winter evening.
Six long moons had passed since the day Mous was kidnapped and very nearly killed by the insane goblin Glormfist Bezeldrop, when he smashed his way into Mous’ temporary briar patch prison with his vicious spiked metal mace, intent on bloody murder.
By now the hours of daylight were short, while the nights were long. To lift their spirits during the long winter evenings after they had eaten their supper, ably assisted by Neo’s special mead, each of the five goblin brothers told tall tales. The more mead they all drank, the taller the tale. Even old Bejuss had them all in fits of laughter one night when he lisped a tale of when he was a raven chick.
By far the best teller of tall tales was their tiny guest, a plains goblin called Piemite Sweedlenewt, or Mite to his friends. Compared to the goblin brothers, Mite was barely tall enough to reach their middles.
He had been on his travels to the south earning his supper and mead by telling his tales. Like most goblins his size he soon realised that now winter was here, his chances of getting back to his own home before the snow drifts built too high was now impossible. So at Glob’s kind invitation, Mite made himself at home with the brothers and Bejuss for the rest of winter, sleeping in a cupboard draw lined with sphagnum moss in the goblin brother’s kitchen.
To earn his keep after one or other of the brothers told a tale, Mite would draw himself up to his full height of one foot four inches, clasp his hands behind his back and begin.
Each night the feelings of suspense, wonder, anticipation and excitement about what Mite’s next tale may be, filled their minds so much that they all thought their heads would surely burst from it all.
Byz sat up in bed, mug full of mead in one hand. He was surrounded by his favourite spiders, woodlice, slugs, snails and worms and wrapped in his warm spider web blanket, agog with wide eyed expectancy.
Make and Mous were acting like two over excited goblin youngers; both eagerly awaiting the new tale. They sat on the floor in front of tiny Mite who had his back to the roaring fire. Glob sat on his chair beside the window with Bejuss perched on his shoulder. After filling everyones mugs with his special mead, Neo sat on his stool beside the fire. Like the rest he eagerly awaited Mite’s latest tale, while quaffing copious amounts of his delicious mead.
Glob nodded to Mite to begin. “Ternight me dear friends I’s wont’s ter tell yers a tale on long ago n the time afore,” Mite began, after burping loudly and clearing his throat. “Many thousands on summers ago when the world wos still yung, far ter the north on here, there lived a goblin by the name on Gracknil Miserblink. Now Grack as he liked ter be called, wos the gatekeeper twixt our world n the one neath the ground, in the time when queen Persephone Witchclaw ruled Goblindom.
Persephone wos the most bootiful goblin a body ever did see. She was knowns n talked bout by all the world’s different kinds. She had long black hair as soft as goose down, wot cascaded like a black waterfall ter her slim waist, n flowed across her delicate shoulders. She had the fairest, softest green skin yer ever cud imagin.
Folks did say that back then once she had set her mind on yer, yer wos hers ter do wiv as she pleased. In the many wars in those times, goblin warriors willingly died for her in battle, often wiv her name bein the last word on their lips. Before she sent them off ter war, she gave each one a tender kiss on the cheek, increasing the war fever in them ter bloodlust pitch.”
Byz’ hand suddenly shot up, dislodging some of his slimy companions as they slithered or crept across his bed. Mite looked at him a trifle annoyed. But as the simpleminded goblin was one of his generous hosts, he simply said, “wot is it lad?”
“Ooh, ooh, master Mite sir, tells us more bout wots she did looks like, if yer please – urp. Pardons me, I’s sure – urp, pardons agin.” Byz apologized profusely, as he continued to burp loudly. His brothers lent forward in eager anticipation, hungry for Mite’s answer.
Seeing that he now had his captive, if slightly drunken audience, in the palm of his tiny hand, he smiled inwardly and obliged the simpleminded goblin younger. “Why bless yer lad,” he began, “jus imagine her magnificence, Hermione Fingletook, mother on all, bein naked n a good deal younger n shapelier. Back then in the time afore, no goblin queen ever wore any clothes.”
Byz belched loudly and turned bright green with embarrassment, hiding his head under his blanket blushing and burping, making all of his pets fall onto the floor.
Glob chuckled lecherously, giving himself hiccups, secretly dreaming of finding the mother of all without a stitch on.
Make puffed a furious mixture of smoke signals and hiccups from his bestest briar pipe, desperately trying not to imagine such a thing, without much success.
Mous covered his face with his hands and began giggling loudly while blushing almost as deeply as Byz.
Neo burped loudly, hiccupped and turned his face away. His eyes crossed furiously, while clouds of steam rose past his head through the neck of his jerkin.
Bejuss got such a shock when Glob began hiccupping that he dropped the slug he was eating into Glob’s mead mug. He leant forward, quickly retrieved it with his razor sharp twisted beak and swallowed it. As the effects of the alcohol pickled slug took hold inside him, he started to imagine what a full grown birdy looked like without its feathers, retching at the thought.
“Goes, hic – pardons – on please Mite,” Glob managed to say, trying to calm his lustful thoughts and his hiccups, wanting to hear the story with no more interruptions.
Mite loudly passed wind with such force that the flames in the fire retreated in fear to the back of the fireplace. “Where wos I’s – oh yes I’s remember. Now Grack wos charged wiv guardin the gate by Persephone. No one passed twixt world’s wivout his permission.
Urp – pardons me. Now the kinds wot inhabits the world neath ours, n probably still do fer all I’s know, is strange n terrible ter behold. All fangs, sharp teeth n claws they is, wiv scaly skin n black hearts. Most on them never bother wiv our world, content ter live in their own. But from times ter times, one would try ter enter. This was where old Grack earned his keep.”
“Urp – sorry,” Neo belched. “Wot’s does yer mean Mite?” he interrupted, as his drunken brain finally realised with great relief that the steam escaping from his jerkin was simply because he had been sitting too close to the fire, and not from his own lustful thoughts of seeing Hermione naked.
Mite was by now beginning to get thoroughly annoyed by the constant interruptions. He turned his head to the left and tried unsuccessfully to gain steady eye contact with the drunken goblin’s constantly wandering eyes, to indicate his displeasure. All he succeeded in doing however was to make his own eyes ache. Muttering and closing his eyes briefly, he continued. “I’s wos jus bouts ter tells yer!” he replied rather angrily, before once again passing wind loudly.
Neo bowed his head in shame, stood up and took his stool and mead mug over to where Glob and Bejuss were. By now he was totally drunk. Grinning childishly to himself, he released a silent but deadly burst of gas. He began giggling uncontrollably when Bejuss and Glob looked accusingly at each other. The pungent smell Neo had created became so overpowering that both of them began to choke. The cross eyed old goblin fell on the floor holding his sides with tears rolling down his old face, as he roared with drunken laughter.
Mite drank some more mead and continued. “Now sides his razor sharp goblin blade n his armour, Grack had a secret weapon…”
“Wot kind?” Make suddenly interrupted, belched, and then quickly dropped his head as Mite glared angrily at him.
“As I’s wos sayin afore I’s wos rudely interrupted yet agin! He had another weapon at his disposal, one wot the kinds in the world neath ours never use – urp.”
Mous was about to put up his hand to ask something when Make dug him hard in the ribs to keep him quiet, making him wince in pain and pass a foul smelling cloud of his own, forcing all sitting close to him to hold their noses.
Mite did his very best to ignore the disgusting smell and the constant interruptions. “Now this weapon is only ter be used by those wot knows it; in the wrong hands, well… Anyway, Grack wos sat on a rock beside the entrance when out on the corner on his eye, he saw a terrible beasty stick its long nose out n sniff hard. Halt! Who goes there? Grack cried as he quickly gots ter his feet. The monstrous beasty took two paces forward n looked at Grack wiv the coldest, blackest eyes yer ever did see. I want ter visit a cousin on mine in yer land gatekeeper, it told Grack.”
“Rarrk – I’th wonder wot kind on beathty it woth Glob – urp?” Bejuss belched out his question.
The normally good-natured storyteller threw up his hands in sheer despair. “For the love on acorns, will yer all let me tell me tale!” Collectively they all apologised, burped, passed wind and promised not to interrupt any more. Mite calmed himself as Neo handed him a second mug of his special mead. He nodded his thanks, and after taking a long draft of the sweet alcoholic brew continued telling his tale.
“As I’s wos sayin, the beasty took two paces forward. Grack looked long n hard at it standin there in front on him. Friends, I’s swear it wos half dragon, half serpent, wiv a large horned head wiv fangs so long that theys stuck out above n below its mouth. Its long forked tongue flicked out tryin ter lick Grack’s face. Its breath wos so foul it wud have made Grack’s skin blister if it weren’t for the gateway. Its body were long n serpent like, covered in close fittin armoured scales wiv sturdy short legs in front n short spindly ones at the back. Its tail did whip this way n that. When the tip on its tail struck rock it sent showers on sparks flyin, fillin the air behind the barrier wiv the smell on brimstone.”
Bejuss, unable to contain himself any longer, suddenly burped and lisped, “urp – rarrk! The beathty thoundth like Kilycke, don’t it Glob.”
Mite finally lost his patience and exploded with rage. “I’s gives up! I’s aint never had so many interruptions afore. I’s bid yer all badnight!” he thundered, storming off in the direction of his bed in the cupboard draw.
Glob glared at his brothers and Bejuss in particular. “Mite – hic – comes back n finish yer story – urp. I’s promises ter hit the next one wot interrupts yer on the bonce wiv me club – please Mite – hic – please?”
The pocket-sized storyteller reluctantly turned, burped and looked at the expectant faces of the five brothers and Bejuss. He sighed, shrugged and assumed his place in front of the fire. The flames cringed in fear of yet another explosive bout of wind from the tiny goblin’s backside. Mite took another long draught of Neo’s mead, burped, passed wind squeakily, scratched his backside and continued.
“Grack looked the terrible beasty in the eye n tolds im, yer can’ts enter our world unless yer answers me riddle. The beasty bared its sharp fangs, hissed n thrashed its long tail, flooding the air around it wiv the smell on brimstone. It snorted n sniffed at Grack.”
Bejuss flew into the rafters, then held his wings over his nostrils to shut out the foul smell from Neo’s backside and stared down at Mite. The brothers all noisily burped and broke wind in unison once more before they drew closer to the storyteller, eager to hear what happened next.
Mite continued. “Now afor I’s tells yer wot Grack’s riddle wos, I’s shud remind yer that the gateway wos sealed by an invisible barrier. While the orrible creature cud try ter lick Grack’s face, it cud go no further until it had correctly answered the riddle. Grack stood n said ter the beasty, gives me the answer n I’ll give thee leave ter enter. The creature glared coldly afore it replied, ask yer riddle then gatekeeper. Grack composed hisself before he began ter recite it.
I’s cannot be felt, seen or touched; yets I’s be found in everybody. Me existence is argued, yets I’s has me own grace. What is I’s?”
Except for the crackle of the nervous flames and the high pitched squeaks and putrid smell of violent flatulence, plus the sound of drunken burping and the occasional pop of boiling sap from the logs in the fireplace, silence reigned in the goblin brother’s home. Make sat furiously puffing on his pipe, puzzling over the riddle, racking his alcohol befuddled brain for the answer. Byz just sucked his thumb while Glob, Mous, Neo and Bejuss, stared in drunken silence at the tiny storyteller.
Glob could stand the suspense no longer. “Hic – please go on Mite – urp. Wot wos the answer n dids the beasty guess it?”
Mite emptied his mug, burped, spat into the fire’s flickering flames, let rip the loudest, most earsplittingly high pitched noise then known to Goblindom from his backside and continued. “The terrible beasty shook its head, cos its brain hurt as it tried ter make sense on Grack’s riddle. The more it tried ter think, the angrier it got. In the ends it gots so frustrated n angry that it charged at the barrier at full speed knockin itself out! When’s it cames round, it saw Grack stood there on the other side on the barrier wiv his hands on his hips, smiling. The beasty rose ter its feet n charged agin; but wivout the answer it twerent able ter enter our world. So in disgust it turned round n disappeared below, never ter be seen agin by anyones from our world. There me friends I’s ends me tale.”
Mous stood up, swaying drunkenly and started to clap loudly as he slowly sagged in a heap on the floor. From where he lay he posed the question on everyone’s mind. “But wot woz the anzwer ter the riddle wot Grack azked, if yer pleaze mazter Mite zir?”
Mite helped himself to another mug of mead and was about to answer when he fell unconscious to the floor in front of the fireplace, overcome by the alcoholic brew.
Byz got bored. Unbeknown to them all, indirectly he gave them all the unspoken answer to the riddle as he began loudly playing on his pipes, assisted by the mead he had consumed. The answer to the riddle was simplicity itself – the sweet music of your sole. In response to Byz’ beautiful tune, somewhere far beyond Goblindom’s western border a long forgotten magic barrier briefly opened.
I hope you all enjoyed this tale.