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The Island of the Dwarves

 

They weren't lying, admittedly. That whole history was full of truth.
An old sea chart showing the way to a forgotten island where the brave traveler would find great riches. An island where the inhabitants are really big-hearted. Both statements were confirmed soon after our crew landed in the picturesque bay. Thirty-six brave, armed to the teeth men, some of whom had served under English or French captains in the Caribbean, and others who had gained experience on the infamous junks of the South China Sea.

The incredible wealth of the incredibly big-hearted islanders also proved true. You need a really big heart when outgrowing the ordinary man tenfold.

Our captain's notion of buying the natives for a handful of beads and keeping them obedient with guns and the gallows took its toll the moment he was trampled on by an inattentive child on the beach.
Half our crew ended up in mousetraps (we caught a glimpse of the beasts and also saw what was left of Bloody Fred when he confronted one. I guess he didn't have to change his nickname.) The rest of us, although we tried our best, ended up one by one in the paws of those big monsters. Though the giants made no effort to protect their property, all our efforts were for naught. The family jewelry drawer doesn't need a lock when it's as deep as a maisonette and its walls are without handles.

Eventually, they caught us all.

We expected a harsh verdict, but the giants proved to be fools. No sooner did they realize they had captured intelligent beings than they released us from our cages and even apologized. They believed our story about wandering at sea. They replenished our supply of drinking water (as if they didn't drink wine), and added a few kegs of good quality salted meat.

We also received advice from the harbourmaster: "Head west instead. If you sail northeast, you might come across a dwarf island."
“Are they dangerous?” we asked. One experience in these unholy lands was enough for us.

“Dangerous? Not really,” he said, “But they're pretty greedy little buggers. They have gold mines, but they are too lazy to do the mining."
We listened no more.

Dwarves? Gold mines?

The short meeting ended with a unanimous decision. Northeast. We will definitely conquer the dwarves. We kill half their tribe and drive the other half into the gold mines. We must somehow wash away the bitterness of our failed expedition among the giants. Now the odds are on our side.

Like I said, all that history is full of truth.

To the northeast of the island of the giants is indeed the island of the dwarves. Its inhabitants really do have an abundance of gold. Their gold mines really do seem inexhaustible.

Unfortunately.

We break into the dwarf village without delay, relying on the element of surprise and our stature. The first idea was momentarily successful. The second one...

The harbourmaster's information was correct. To a 15-foot guy, a dwarf is anyone barely knee-high.

I realize this every time the whip of a nine-foot-tall overseer lands on my back when he takes out his frustration on the slaves in the gold mines as he is being picked on by his even taller comrades.

 

© 2021

 

 

 

 

"Things just happen. What the hell."
Didaktylos*
* Terry Pratchett. Hogfather

 

Welcome to my world. For the longest time I couldn’t think of right name for this place, so I left it without one. Amongst things you can find here are attempts of science fiction and fantasy stories, my collection of gods, bogeymen and monsters and also articles about things that had me interested, be it for a while or for years. (There is more of this, sadly not in English but in Czech, on www.fext.cz)

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