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The Little Ones
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"I do not say; I do not understand," she answered. "But we were here and they not. They go from us. I am sorry, but we cannot help it. THEY could have helped it."
"How long have you been here?" I asked, more and more puzzled--in the hope of some side-light on the matter.
"Always, I think," she replied. "I think somebody made us always."
I turned to my scraping.
She saw I did not understand.
"The giants were not made always," she resumed. "If a Little One doesn't care, he grows greedy, and then lazy, and then big, and then stupid, and then bad. The dull creatures don't know that they come from us. Very few of them believe we are anywhere. They say NONSENSE!--Look at little Blunty: he is eating one of their apples! He will be the next! Oh! oh! he will soon be big and bad and ugly, and not know it!"
The child stood by himself a little way off, eating an apple nearly as big as his head. I had often thought he did not look so good as the rest; now he looked disgusting.
"I will take the horrid thing from him!" I cried.
"It is no use," she answered sadly. "We have done all we can, and it is too late! We were afraid he was growing, for he would not believe anything told him; but when he refused to share his berries, and said he had gathered them for himself, then we knew it! He is a glutton, and there is no hope of him.--It makes me sick to see him eat!"
"Could not some of the boys watch him, and not let him touch the poisonous things?"
"He may have them if he will: it is all one--to eat the apples, and to be a boy that would eat them if he could. No; he must go to the giants! He belongs to them. You can see how much bigger he is than when first you came! He is bigger since yesterday."
"He is as like that hideous green lump in his hand as boy could look!"
"It suits what he is making himself."
"His head and it might change places!"
"Perhaps they do!"
"Does he want to be a giant?"
"He hates the giants, but he is making himself one all the same: he likes their apples! Oh baby, baby, he was just such a darling as you when we found him!"
"He will be very miserable when he finds himself a giant!"
"Oh, no; he will like it well enough! That is the worst of it."
"Will he hate the Little Ones?"
"He will be like the rest; he will not remember us--most likely will not believe there are Little Ones. He will not care; he will eat his apples."
"Do tell me how it will come about. I understand your world so little! I come from a world where everything is different."
"I do not know about WORLD. What is it? What more but a word in your beautiful big mouth?--That makes it something!"
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