StoryRhyme After Dark: Small George
Is the grass always really greener on the other side? Well, George just might find his own answer to that age-old question. If you enjoy this short story, be sure to drop by our Harry Buschman Library for more tales of whimsy and wisdom...
By Harry Buschman
George has been walking all day. His feet are sore and he is hungry. He is on his own; just like a rolling stone. He asks himself a pointed question, “Who’s going to stop and give a dwarf a ride?” His answer is simple: “Nobody, that’s who.”
His rucksack is heavy on his shoulder so he switches it to the other one. It doesn’t help, one shoulder is as tired as the other. Still he trudges on. He sits under an old chestnut tree for a while when a crow dropping lands on his hat. “The ultimate indignity,” he says to himself, “It’s not easy being a dwarf in Giantland.”
A hundred feet ahead of him is a white picket fence. On the other side of that fence he knows he will be a dwarf no longer. There, he will be just like you and me. He will be able to climb up on a bar stool, use a urinal, or even ride a bicycle. Everything on that side of the fence is built for small people. The town is called “Lowland”. That’s where George was born.
His family were very poor, although no one in Lowland was wealthy by Giantland standards. George’s parents grew radishes and they were the poorest family in Lowland. No one can make a living growing radishes in the first place, not even dwarfs. When George came of age he told his mother and father he was climbing the fence and going off to make his fortune with the giants. That’s what the Lowlanders called us... “Giants”.
“I’m gonna strike it rich in Giantland,” he boasted.
He did, for a while. The Giants thought he was cute. Wealthy women hired him as a pet and would even take him to bed with them as you or I would take a cat or a dog. Others thought he was gifted with supernatural powers. Gamblers would rub the top of his head for luck, even heads of state would let him pick folded up declarations of war and peace out of a hat. But he was no better at it than they were, and rubbing him for luck often brought financial disaster to gamblers.
In time the Giants lost interest in George and instead of finding himself sleeping between satin sheets with titled ladies, he was moved downstairs to the sofa. Thence to a box filled with rags behind the kitchen stove and finally out in the street without any place to sleep at all.
It seemed to him that he had come full circle. He was just as poor and ragged in Giantland as he was with his mother and father back in Lowland and as he sat on the curbstone in the rain with giants tripping over him, he wished he was home again. “Giantland was not made for Lowlanders,” he grumbled to himself; and that was the truth. Picture yourself riding in a crowded elevator with your nose at the level of the seat of everyone’s pants. Imagine mongrel dogs lifting their legs on you. Imagine being mistaken for a mushroom when you’re carrying an umbrella in the rain. How much more can a dwarf take?
Not one bit more! George has had his fill of it. He is on his way home, sadder, wiser, and not a nickel richer. But he’s with people his own size.
(c) 2010 Harry Buschman
Illustration by Scott Roberts.