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When I came to myself it was night. Above me were a few pale stars that expected the moon. I thought I was alone. My head ached badly, and I was terribly athirst.
I turned wearily on my side. The moment my ear touched the ground, I heard the gushing and gurgling of water, and the soft noises made me groan with longing. At once I was amid a multitude of silent children, and delicious little fruits began to visit my lips. They came and came until my thirst was gone.
Then I was aware of sounds I had never heard there before; the air was full of little sobs.
I tried to sit up. A pile of small bodies instantly heaped itself at my back. Then I struggled to my feet, with much pushing and pulling from the Little Ones, who were wonderfully strong for their size.
"You must go away, good giant," they said. "When the bad giants see you hurt, they will all trample on you."
"I think I must," I answered.
"Go and grow strong, and come again," they said.
"I will," I replied--and sat down.
"Indeed you must go at once!" whispered Lona, who had been supporting me, and now knelt beside me.
"I listened at his door," said one of the bigger boys, "and heard the bad giant say to his wife that he had found you idle, talking to a lot of moles and squirrels, and when he beat you, they tried to kill him. He said you were a wizard, and they must knock you, or they would have no peace."
"I will go at once," I said, "and come back as soon as I have found out what is wanted to make you bigger and stronger."
"We don't want to be bigger," they answered, looking very serious. "We WON'T grow bad giants!--We are strong now; you don't know how much strong!"
It was no use holding them out a prospect that had not any attraction for them! I said nothing more, but rose and moved slowly up the slope of the valley. At once they formed themselves into a long procession; some led the way, some walked with me helping me, and the rest followed. They kept feeding me as we went.
"You are broken," they said, "and much red juice has run out of you: put some in."
When we reached the edge of the valley, there was the moon just lifting her forehead over the rim of the horizon.
"She has come to take care of you, and show you the way," said Lona.
I questioned those about me as we walked, and learned there was a great place with a giant-girl for queen. When I asked if it was a city, they said they did not know. Neither could they tell how far off, or in what direction it was, or what was the giant-girl's name; all they knew was, that she hated the Little Ones, and would like to kill them, only she could not find them. I asked how they knew that; Lona answered that she had always known it. If the giant-girl came to look for them, they must hide hard, she said. When I told them I should go and ask her why she hated them, they cried out,
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