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The Little Ones
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"Never mind about the word; tell me what next will happen to Blunty."
"He will wake one morning and find himself a giant--not like you, good giant, but like any other bad giant. You will hardly know him, but I will tell you which. He will think he has been a giant always, and will not know you, or any of us. The giants have lost themselves, Peony says, and that is why they never smile. I wonder whether they are not glad because they are bad, or bad because they are not glad. But they can't be glad when they have no babies! I wonder what BAD means, good giant!"
"I wish I knew no more about it than you!" I returned. "But I try to be good, and mean to keep on trying."
"So do I--and that is how I know you are good."
A long pause followed.
"Then you do not know where the babies come from into the wood?" I said, making one attempt more.
"There is nothing to know there," she answered. "They are in the wood; they grow there."
"Then how is it you never find one before it is quite grown?" I asked.
She knitted her brows and was silent a moment:
"They're not there till they're finished," she said.
"It is a pity the little sillies can't speak till they've forgotten everything they had to tell!" I remarked.
"Little Tolma, the last before this baby, looked as if she had something to tell, when I found her under a beech-tree, sucking her thumb, but she hadn't. She only looked up at me--oh, so sweetly! SHE will never go bad and grow big! When they begin to grow big they care for nothing but bigness; and when they cannot grow any bigger, they try to grow fatter. The bad giants are very proud of being fat."
"So they are in my world," I said; "only they do not say FAT there, they say RICH."
"In one of their houses," continued Lona, "sits the biggest and fattest of them--so proud that nobody can see him; and the giants go to his house at certain times, and call out to him, and tell him how fat he is, and beg him to make them strong to eat more and grow fat like him."
The rumour at length reached my ears that Blunty had vanished. I saw a few grave faces among the bigger ones, but he did not seem to be much missed.
The next morning Lona came to me and whispered,
"Look! look there--by that quince-tree: that is the giant that was Blunty!--Would you have known him?"
"Never," I answered. "--But now you tell me, I could fancy it might be Blunty staring through a fog! He DOES look stupid!"
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