February 17, 2011

In the very first tale told by Harpo, the 4 characters below are on a quest to repair time and the weather (top to bottom – Princess Lovey, Chef Larry, Gorge the Troll, and the lavender witch). In the excerpt, Harpo discusses the difference between gnomes and dwarfs.

Gnomes and dwarves. Dwarves and gnomes. What are the differences between gnomes and dwarves? The spelling, for one thing, stands out at a glance. g-n-o-m-e is about as far from d-w-a-r-f as you can get. They have not even one single letter in common. Not a one! Some say a gnome is a small misshapen dwarf. Whoever they are, what do they know? They don’t know what I know. And what I know is this: a gnome is simply a depressed dwarf, a dwarf without laughter, humorless. And so, I can tell you now, the gnomes under Orrun Mountain were a sad bunch, dragging themselves from here to there, frowning and snarling. I think I, yes, I, would be a gnome, too, if stuck under a mountain eating what they had to eat and working at the task they were forced to endure. What did they eat, you ask? Clay, I answer. Clay, more clay, and nothing but clay. After you say ‘yecchhh’, you might wonder how they slaked their thirst. I would tell you they drank water, but it had to be sucked from the clay. How good would that taste? Bad. Claywater. Well, what work did they do? They manufactured bricks of clay and built a wall at one end of the Grand Central Cavern. There was a Grand Central Cavern. After completing the wall, they instantly dismantled it, brick by brick, and rebuilt it at the other end of the Grand Central Cavern. Then again they took the wall apart and rebuilt it once more back where it had been in the first place. Then again they took it apart, lugged, tugged across, rebuilt. Then again. Again. Again. Again. For hundreds of years they moved the wall from one end to the other and back again. They made new bricks to replace the ones that crumbled. The ones that crumbled they ate. They weren’t even lucky enough to eat fresh bricks. They ate crumbled clay, ancient, stale, and broken. Is it any wonder they were a glum, gloomy, grim, grouchy, grumpy lot? And those are only the g’s. They were also cranky and crabby. Sullen, sulky, surly. Testy, touchy. Irritably ill-humored. Dejectedly depressed. Fundamentally foul-tempered. Angrily argumentative. Do you see? They were gnomes! Depressed dwarves! And minutes away from crashing through a walled up tunnel to meet them were a 3-toed troll, a frozen witch, an elven chef, a giggling dwarf, and a famously footed Fiddleeebodlian Princess.

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