THE LAWN DWARFS
Once a set of lawn dwarfs seized control of a grand estate. Being lawn dwarfs, they benefited from the fact that nobody had taken them very seriously during the time they spent planning their audacious move. They’d seemed, when notice was taken of them at all, to be simply a rather common collection of matched gnomes that might raise an occasional smile but little more. How they actually managed to pull off their coup was a matter of considerable puzzlement, but once in control, they acted as if they’d been destined from the start to find themselves where they now were. After their triumph, the dwarfs’ primary concern was to make themselves appear more imposing in stature by whatever means it took. They were led in this effort by one of their number, a plucky figure known as “Dwarf the Decider.” Their first impulse was to try out a variety of stilts, but this expedient produced only a dangerous staggering about and not a few unfortunate mishaps. More promising, in the dwarfs’ view, was time spent puffing themselves up and striking poses for each another in hopes of finding one that made them all appear more robust. This also proved more difficult than expected, though, because none of them knew exactly what a “robust dwarf” might look like. Ultimately the dwarfs just said, “To heck with worrying about stature and appearance,” and got down to real business. The business they got down to was selling off most of the estate as quickly as possible to the highest bidders. By unloading whatever they themselves saw no use for, they could reduce their responsibilities to a minimum and have more time for the leisure activities to which they were better suited by temperament and experience as longtime lawn dwarfs. Here again, they were shown the way by the plucky “Dwarf the Decider,” who had hit upon the practice of chopping things up as a welcome vacation from the heavy demands of being lord of the dwarfs. Besides, weren’t stories of giants cutting down cherry trees and splitting rails already legendary in the history of the estate, he reminded his dwarf minions (from the curiously nicknamed “Dummy” to the equally curious look-alikes “Sleazy One, Two, Three,” and so on). Why shouldn’t his own efforts be seen as part of that grand tradition? Why shouldn’t theirs as well? So they all set to sharpening their little axes and seeking out things to chop up. The trouble was, with so much of the estate having been sold off, there wasn’t much left for them to set their sights on. Nevertheless, they marched forth every day, whistling a happy tune and keeping an eye open for the odd stick still left standing. Once even these were gone, the dwarfs barely paused in their whistling before they shifted their attention to the stately white mansion that stood at the heart of the estate. There was enough there to keep them whacking away for a while at least. And when it too was reduced to splinters, they were confident, something else was bound to turn up. They started with the furniture in Dwarf the Decider’s room, which had proven too big for him in any case.
Copyright © 2003-2004, revised 2007, by Geoffrey Grosshans