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light in truly magnificent fashion. Im- he stared amazed. Such a kobold he mediately before him rose an ancient had never chanced upon; and as though building, its doorway a mass of sculp- the kobold were stretching out his hand tured stone. Upon the topmost step of to throttle him, the bird trembled in the flight lay a black object that excited every limb and again its hoarse cries his curiosity. He stepped closely up to grew loud and fierce; then, retreating it and beheld a large raven, evidently an from the attack as far as his narrow inmate of the house, belated, and quarters allowed, and fearing that the forced, for fear of worse, to sleep on the next instant the elfin hand would be door step. The thick beak was buriell around his throat, he uttered a despairunder its wing, and the approach of ing angry scream and with outstretched footsteps had not roused the bird, so wings and threatening beak flew vioheavy was its sleep. At a sharp flash lently against his importunate and obfrom the dark-lantern, however, it noxious visitor. raised its head in angry fashion and The manikin had but time to dodge stared at the curious figure before it. with head and shoulders, and hold his
"Good evening, old gentleman,” said lamp aloft. Again the age-worn eyes the intruder in his high-pitched voice. were blinded, and again the bird drew “You have not selected the most agree. back-for an instant only, then with a able resting-place for your slumbers. new access of fury he assailed his foe True, a wise man preserves an inwarel afresh and drove him backward, step peace in foul weather as in fair, and the by step, down the long flight. The oblofty position you have chosen proves ject of his wrath was determined to conthat you consider yourself above those ciliate him if possible, for at every step lowly ones whose feet are chained to of his retreat he tried to pacify the irate earth. But your black coat-I trust bird, repeating that it was merely a you'll take no offence-is somewhat misunderstanding, that he never would worn and threadbare; the wind is whis- have addressed him had he guessed his tling through the seams. Take my ad- choleric disposition. His words seemed vice and find a warm corner under the to madden the bird the more, and he church roof, or pay a friendly visit to was beginning to fear that he must use your cousin Madam Owl. Why are his stick in defence when the approach you glaring so viciously at me with of a third party suddenly brought the those sharp eyes of yours and using encounter to an end. your beak in such an ugly fashion? I For, during the struggle, around the am treating you with all due respect; in corner came a figure who, to the casual fact, if you have no prejudice against wayfarer presented a much more quessuca young people as myself, I should tionable and alarming appearance than be happy to have your friendship. You the odd little man with the lantern. please me uncommonly well, Mr. Von The newcomer was a very giant in Corax. Here is my hand. Take it. You height and breadth. For cloak he wore will not? Well, then, permit me to a horse blanket, a hole cut in the middle stroke your highly respectable and an- served for the head to pass through, and cient beak. Please hold still. I myself leathern straps fastened it about the have had a rather ill-omened life, so you waist. His bushy hair stood out on see we are distantly related.”
both sides below a round, grey cap that During this address the human mite was fastened under the massive chin by stepped closer and closer to the large ear-caps, and his tremendous feet enbird and extended his hand in purest cased in hobnailed shoes thundered amity. The raven listened to the over- along on the sidewalk. Slowly, but ture of peace in growing alarm and, with prodigious strides, the giant apwith ruffled feathers and hoarse proached the scene of the strange comscreams, fluttered back into the deep bat, but so deeply was he absorbed in recess of the doorway. In his long and thought that he would have passed the meditative life he had
many contestants as indifferently as a cat and strange things among the children of dog quarreling in the street, had not the men, but at this friendly countenance fast revolving lantern first thrown the old house front into a strong light, then sent no immediate response. He took the a vivid flash into his eyes. His atten- lantern, the door of which had closed, tion was arrested. At the same mo- pressed the spring and held the light ment the raven discerned him, and as close up to his face. Then, after though this new and terrific apparition pause, he said: “Look at me more nearly, paralyzed the bird, its hoarse cry my dear sir. You will observe that, had ceased, it fluttered back, was quiet for I parents I should have quite outgrow an instant, then fiercely stretching its their superintending care-although as: wings, again it rose and, with low, un- is evident growing was never my forte. certain eddying flew round and round, In that particular you have made such higher and higher over the head of its progress that you must entertain a tiny adversary, its screams almost rather poor opinion of one who scarcely human in their anger and distress, and reaches up to your knees. But gifts are disappeared in the blackness of the unequally divided, and it seems to me night.
that neither of us can call the other to The dwarf, intent on the struggle, had account. I cannot deny that I am a not heeded the stranger's approach and, freak of nature, a sorry jest in which as the raven left him in possession of my Maker has indulged; but you-I the field he sank, trembling in every limb, trust I do not offend-you are also one and absolutely unnerved, upon the bot- of Nature's whims, and Truth, here as tommost step and wiped the perspira- everywhere else, seems to lie in the midtion from his brow. Suddenly 10 dle. I should find it difficult to say, sprang excitedly to his feet as a deep despite the advantage your eight feet bass voice close at hand exclaimed: give you, which one of us is really the “The bird has not hurt you, little one?" better off.”
Speech failed the master of the situa- This speech he made rather rapidly tion. He stared up at the gigantic fig- and with an eager expression on the ure, as it towered above him nodding its wise little face, as though not at alle head in friendliest fashion, and some sure how the confident tone he had asminutes passed before his excited sumed-despite the pit-a-pat about the
were restored to equanimity. left breast-would be accepted by the He sank again upon the step and an- huge creature at his side who could so swered, his heart still beating a lively easily crush the life out of him with a pit-a-pat: “I thank you—there is nothing mere pressure of his foot. tue matter with me. I am only a little His fears were groundless. There -out of breath. I should have been was no rebuff. A silence, and then the more discreet and not meddled with the ample chest heaved with a mighty sigh.. stupid thing. But that is one of my "You do not know me," said the large weaknesses-as you see
_” Again a man, “otherwise however uncomfortglance at the mighty piece of humanity able you may find your own skin you at his side, for the giant to bring him- would not wittingly exchange for mine. self within easier range had taken a But that is neither here nor there. Can seat by his little friend, and, in the un- I be of any service to you? Shall I see certain light cast by the flaring street you home? Your meeting with the illlamps, the huge head on the Brobdigna- tempered bird must have upset you." gian shoulders, the brawny hairy hands, "I am extremely obliged, but I would the shoes that might have been heweil not have you incommode yourself on my by the woodman's axe, appeared all the account, my dear sir. It is true I am more prodigious.
slightly tired; the rencounter, which I “How is it, my lad," said the spectral very foolishly brought on myself, might Gargantua in the gentlest tone he could have resulted disastrously for me sinca assume, “that you are out alone in the the old gentleman, with whom I wished town at this hour of the night? Your to enter into a polite discourse, could parents should look after you better. not see the humor of the situation. But When you have pulled yourself up a bit I am accustomed to such nocturnal adI will carry you home.”
ventures, and they have no further conTo this the individual addressed made sequence than to stir up my blood
which, owing to my sedentary life, is lays bare weak humanity's failings and apt to grow dull and sluggish. If agree. infirmities." able to you, and you have no more press
He lifted his hat and raised his eyes ing business, let us sit here a while to the cloud-chased sky, looked througu longer. Allow me to introduce my the clouds, and on his face there was diminutive self to you."
an expression of gratitude and resigHe unbuttoned his overcoat, drew nation. from its pocket a tiny card case and ex- The other made no response; his eltracted therefrom a small visiting card. bows were dug into the mighty knees His neighbor took it very carefully with and his face deep buried between the two shapeless fingers, glanced at it and hollowed palms. then said: “It is too dark to make out “Yes, yes,”' continued the little man as such fine writing. Will you not tell me he vigorously rubbed his sleeve against your name? I cannot offer you one of the glass of his lantern, “one must learn my visiting cards; I have no use for to cut one's coat according to one's such things. Why should I?” he added cloth; that is the kernel of the whole with a bitter laugh. “I make no visits; I philosophy. True, the heavenly tailor make no new acquaintances. You are cut mine out of very scanty material, the first person in years- A deep but I should not be telling the truth if I sigh prevented further speech.
said that I shivered under it. And then The little optimist's spirits, however, what is to prevent me from growing so were not to be crushed, and he chir- tall inwardly that I can reach up to the ruped forth: “Do you know that my case greatest and the highest; aye, from is exactly like yours? With the excep- growing above this narrow world and tion of the people in the house where I pushing on toward the stars. You see, have lived for the past ten years, I that's the mischief of it that an unbound have associated with no human soul duodecimo like myself must of necessity since I came to this town. And truly I be a little coward because his measure is never dreamed that so high and lofty a better adapted to the requirements of a personage as yourself would condescend Nürnberg toy-factory than to associato stoop to me. This card on which my tion with his so-called fellowmen. At name, Theodore Hinze, is engraved- first, I admit, I had a most profound reand I have engraved it myself in copper, spect for every watchman's shadow and for I like to try my hand at all these lit- every Newfoundland dog's bark, and tle arts—is an unwarranted piece of pursued my nocturnal rambles with luxury for which I have no excuse. I fear and trembling. But one day I took am by trade a wood-engraver. In my my courage in both hands. “Theodore,' leisure hours I etch, I lithograph, I said I, 'if you are lacking in flesh and grave on steel, I do aqua-tints. So the bone, what is to prevent you from day goes, I know not how, and I find no having the bravery of the biggest time for visiting, even supposing that clown? and then I cited thouordinary mortals would wish to have sand and one examples from natural such an oddity as I on their visiting list. history of animals cast in much more But since one cannot keep well without delicate mold than I, who not only some fresh air and a certain amount of defended their young, but who led a exercise, I have accustomed myself to very happy and frolicsome life in spite take my walks abroad at night. You of their enemy, man, and never hesiprobably know, from experience, how tated a moment about stealing the cherdisagreeable it is to be gaped at from ries from his trees or the sausages from all sides and have a swarm of mis- his chimneys. Since then I have pracchievous boys at your heels. Well, we tised courage so vigorously that I walk get rid of all those things at night. And in and out among these high beetling when one has led this sort of existence houses without a thought of fear, I year in and year out this quiet, peace- avoid no adventure and, as you see, sit ful half of life is a much friendlier ac- down and chat with a veritable giant quaintance, shows much more goodwill with as stout a heart as ever beat in : than the bold sunlight that so pitilessly Hector's bosom."
Then he became silent, seeming to feel The dwarf's face pictured astonishthat it was the other's turn to speak and ment. This new acquaintance, whose give account of himself. But thought garb indicated the forester or raftsman, made no headway in the vast brain, mel- giving vent in such language to this ancholy weighed upon it and would not wild outburst of rage and despair, was permit the floodgate of passionate rec- an unexpected phenomenon. “Pardon ollection to open. At last he found me,” he said at last, “will you not be speech, and though the little man made good enough to tell me with whom I a movement as though to interrupt him, have the pleasure” slowly withdrew his hands from his “What difference can it make to you?'' chin, let them fall heavily on his knees interrupted his companion hoarsely. and said hoarsely:
"My name, thank God, has disap“Fate tricks herself in many a shape. peared. It figured long enough on postIt is wonderful,-absolutely wonder- ers next to vile pictures of myself, and ful,
underneath notice of the entrance "What is wonderful?” asked his lis- money for the best seats, for the inferior tener.
seats, children and those in the army “That fate has united us by a common half price. Can you not imagine that bond and that we should here chance one would be happy to forget his name upon one another. All my life have I after having heard it for years screamed brooded over the idea of finding one out by the criers at all the fairs as the human heart that could beat responsive name of the biggest man in the world. to mine, could understand me; and as And then when the booth was full to have the years passed and no sign was given to come in and mount the stand and be I doubted and despaired. Now I find it; stared at by stupid peasants and schoolit is next to me, and in such different boys and nursery maids; and to keep embodiment from what I pictured it. one's feet still, not to kick out when the We hardly meet before we tell one an- crowd grew venturesome, and thrust other our secret thoughts. It is mar- out their hands and felt my legs to see if vellous-marvellous!".
they were made of bone and muscle and Again he sank into his inelancholy re- not of cotton batting with a stick in the flection, but suddenly he started up so middle. Aye, sir, that is what I had to wildly and fiercely that his little com- endure for ten long years. And that is panion's finely-acquired courage for the called a human existence,-to be gaped moment forsook him.
at, to do nothing,'to accomplish nothing “Word for word, your case is mine. more than to be big, to wear shoes Thrust aside from my fellow-men, larger than the military size, and so be stared at, scoffed at, cursed at, followed stared at-and admired. Oh heavenly by the children in the street. Out- justice!" lawed, excluded from the pleasant “True, true," said the little man with haunts of men like a malefactor who serious nod. “I have had such dares not face the light. One of Na- thoughts many a time. Fortunately I ture's merry humors that escapeu her in have been spared a fate like yours. But a mad orgy and now stands fortu in its when I used to read in the papers of the abnormity to mock and shame her. To human midgets on exhibition a shudder be doomed to a useless, aimless exis- would run through me, and I could altence, to raise one's clinched hands to most feel the coarse, greedy hand lifting heaven and ask where dwells that me on the table, and hear the slowmerciful and gracious Father who sent man's high pitched voice as he cried out this long-limbed, broad-shouldered son the wonder of the living toy. From out into the world and then barred the such an ordeal, as I say, my good mother way from all entrance into life's joys and my merciful Creator saved me. and consolations. Have you not wod. Why did you yield to such a life? You dered a thousand times how your being are stronger than I. In your place I harmonizes with the idea of righteous would have burst my iron cage like a justice of which this world is supposed tortured lion and found refuge in the to be a manifestation?"
The big man laughed, and his laughter speculation consumed them. In their was not a pleasant thing to bear. great, barren skulls there was not room
“The merciful Creator! I have been for so much brains as to teach them forced to the conclusion that of his their duty to their children and chilbungling handiwork he is more inclined dren's children. My father came of a to be merciful to the small than to the family who prided themselves on their large specimens. The big ones, he extraordinary size, but his forebears thinks, can make their way through the were not a worthless set; they were world, they have been given fists for good, honest workers, carpenters or that purpose. Though it is doubtful in blacksmiths. My father proved the my mind whether he has anything to first exception in the family; not regardsay about the affairs entrusted to blind, ing size, for he was a larger man than unreasoning old Mother Nature. When my grandfather, but in his aversion to I have reproached him-as I have many honest toil. Instead of taking his place a timefor having made me a show at the anvil and swinging the iron bar piece and nothing else, and he answered he fell upon the happy expedient of me never a word, treating all my pray- making his hugeness his fortune, and ers and taunts with utter contempt, I so one fine day he started forth into the have often thought to myself-poor be- world and put himself on exhibition. ing!-(if he really does exist)—perhaps Truly, he was very proud of the dishe is no better off than many a human grace with which he was covering himfather who has a wicked wife and, for self. It seemed to him not only compeace sake, lets her ao as she chooses. fortable and paying to stand on a platIr he could do as he wished, surely he form and make a show of himself, but would show old Dame Nature who plays an honorable thing as well. Then, nt such crazy pranks, that he was master. one of the fairs he chanced upon a But she is too strong for him, and he woman who played ball with a hundren] must bend to her, just as my earthly pound weight and held a live calf on her father had to cringe to my mother if she outstretched arm; and self-interest bui raised her finger. So you may im- prompted him to offer her his hand in agine I did not exercise much free-will the hope of a son who would be worth in that household.”
double the entrance money. His expec“And your mother could have had the tations were fulfilled, but he had to pay heart to
dearly for his rash act. His lazy days "Heart? Are you quite sure that she were over. He had to serve the woman had a heart? I know not how it is with like a beast of burden, and never a wordt other women, and whether that which of thanks or a kind glance in return. they call a heart is any thing else than a She despised him, for all his height, and suction pump to send the blood through toid him to his face he was a weakling. the veins. But of this woman who And so he vas. He had never exercised brought me into the world
his enormous limbs, they had sufficed He stopped. His great chest heaved for his support without exercise, and he with mighty throes, the veins on his fore- was on the bill for the large man, not head stood out dangerously, and his fist the strong. Matters went from bad to came down with a terrific blow on the
worse, he took to drinking, and died one stone step.
day with as little apparent cause as a "No," he said at last breaking the hollow tree falls to the ground with silence, “the fourth commandment is never a wind to shake it from the roots. absurd. Honor thy father and mother-- Do you think that his widow shed a tear well enough for those whose fathers and over him? She was provided for, even mothers are honorable and entitled to after she had grown so fat that her honor. Mine—they are in their graves shortness of breath prevented her walk-and, if there be a judgment-day I will ing. I was there; the dear son who had not be their accuser; that is all I shall grown to be even taller than his father. do for them, though they do not deserve Well, then, it fell to my turn to support even that. For from the moment they my mother, and to that end I had to first saw me, miserable, hard-hearted work, or rather be stared at, ten hours