Small World

Small World

by Mike I.

One fall morning a woodcutter named Paul decided to take time off from his lumber cutting to go for a walk in a part of the woods he lived in he had not yet explored.

Paul was a very big man but he was also very respectful towards mother nature's creations, he never disturbed any of the animals living in the forest and if he was out cutting trees and saw a bird nest, that tree would be left alone.

While he was out walking he noticed a clearing up ahead that he had never seen before, upon approaching the clearing he notices several small houses sitting all around in a small group.

However as he got closer he noticed the houses were not getting any bigger, they couldn't have been any higher than his shins! Paul listened and he heard tiny voices coming from the small village, they sounded as if they were afraid of something, but what?

Paul heard one voice say "Everybody hide! the giant is coming!!" Paul thought to himself, "Are they talking about me?" He crouched down low to try to hide himself and while he was bent down, he couldn't believe what he saw, hundreds of tiny people fleeing for their lives!

Paul was amazed, he never in his wildest dreams imagined that something like this existed, but there it was; a village of tiny people! Paul waited until the chaos settled down, then he stood up and tried to approach the village. But no sooner had he stood up, the chaos began all over again.

Paul again crouched down low so the people wouldn't be frightend, when the chaos stopped yet again he went to approach the village when he heard a tiny voice cry for help, he looked to his right and saw a hungry fox heading for what Paul thought was a small animal.

As Paul moved in closer he noticed that it wasn't a small animal but one of the gnome like people that appeared to be a small child, he was about a half an inch tall wearing a little green shirt, red pants, wooden shoes and a pointed hat.

Paul grabbed a stick and chased the fox away, and then he turned his attention to the tiny gnome, but when he went to see if the little fella was ok, the tiny gnome ran off quickly to the village.

Paul followed him to his village slowly so he wouldn't accidenally step on the little gnome boy, but when he got to the village he wasn't greeted very politely, the tiny people began throwing small stones at him. Paul was getting pelleted by them but he kept on entering the village.

When the tiny people realised what they were doing all of them ran indoors at top speed, Paul stopped in the middle of the village, bent down and said "There's no need to be afraid everyone, I mean you no harm." However the tiny folk didn't come out so Paul went home.

The next day, Paul was walking back to the spot he had been hiding to watch the tiny people, while he was walking he heard a tiny voice say "Don't step on me!" Paul stopped in his tracks and said "Who said that?" the tiny voice said, "Down here!" Paul looked down and in front of his right foot was one of the tiny people from the village.

Paul reached down to pick him up but when he did the tiny man began to run, Paul followed him and noticed the tiny man had accidentally cornered himself. Not wanting to frighten him more than he already was Paul stopped where he was and said, "It's alright my little friend, I won't harm you."

The tiny man said, "You're a human and all humans are evil, we can't rebuild our village back to normal because you humans are always stomping our houses faster than we can build them." Paul said in a friendly voice, "Well I'm not evil, if you let me enter your village I will see if I can help you."

Paul extended his hand down to the tiny gnome and he was very hesitant to get on, but he began to trust Paul and hopped into Paul's hand, they proceeded to the village so Paul could take a look.

When they got to the village Paul couldn't believe what he saw, half the village's houses were completely demolished, Paul could still see the footprints of the people who had obviously not known what they had done.

Paul said, "This is terrible!, what will your people do?" The tiny gnome whose name was Jack said "I don't know, we have no supplies to rebuild and we can't cut our own wood, I'm not sure we can even relocate."

Paul added "Well you cannot live here, it isn't safe for any of you, if you do eventually rebuild, your village will only be destroyed again and I don't want to see that happen."

Jack agreed but said "Where will we go?, what will we do?, it would take us days to move out of our village on our own!" Paul said, "I will help you if you will trust me." Jack gave his consent and he and Paul entered the village.

When they got to the village square Paul was looking around when he noticed the same young gnome he had seen in the forest, he looked very sad and lonely, Paul asked, "That's the young gnome I saw in the forest yesterday, why is he so sad?"

Jack replied "His name is Tom, he lost both his parents to an animal stampede last spring when the big fire broke out, then when our village was destroyed his house was one of the many we lost."

Paul felt very sympathetic toward the tiny gnome and asked Jack, "May I go talk to him?" Jack answered "You may, but approach cautiously, he is very fearful of humans."

Paul very slowly approached little Tom, when he was close enough Paul said, "Hello little one." Little Tom looked straight ahead expecting to see another gnome but all he saw was Paul's huge boot covered foot.

The tiny gnome looked up at Paul and at first jumped as if he was going to run. Paul said, "Don't be afraid my little friend, I won't harm you." Tom sat back down on the porch in front of what used to be his house and began to weep.

Paul gently lifted him up and held him in his huge hand, it was then little Tom said "Where will I go? Where will I live?"

Paul comforted little Tom and said in a gentle voice, "Your friends and I are working as hard as we can to figure something out my tiny friend, I will not rest until you and your friends have your lives back together."

Then Paul had an idea, over the past year he had been working on a model village with the left over wood he had from the past winter, the houses were the same size as the ones in the village and he thought to himself "Yes, it just might work!"

Paul put little Tom down and said "Stay right here little one, I will return." Paul got up and went to where the other gnomes were gathered and said to them, "I must return to my cabin to get something and to get my truck, I ask that you all move by that tree over there so that when I return you are safely out of the way."

Paul went back to his cabin and retrieved the model village. He looked it over and said, "Yes, this will do very nicely." He took the model outside and put it in a nice safe place in front of his house beside the porch.

Paul got in his truck and went back to the gnome village, the gnomes had done just as Paul asked and went over by the big tree away from the path. When Paul got out of his truck he had a box with no lid on it for the gnomes to stay in while in the truck so they would be safe.

After Paul had put all 1,000 gnomes in the box he put them in the truck and rolled the window down just a touch so the heat wouldn't affect them. Jack, the elder gnome said, "Where's Tom?" Paul replied "He's still at the village, I need to go get him." And off to the village Paul went.

Back at the village little Tom was waiting exactly where Paul had told him to, Tom could feel the ground tremble so he knew Paul was coming. He looked up and saw Paul coming toward him, but would Paul remember where he was because he was so small?

Little Tom curled his body up as Paul got closer fearing Paul was going to step on him, however Paul knew where Tom was the entire time and stopped in front of his house about 6 inches away which was like ten feet to Tom.

Paul then said, "Everyone is waiting in my truck, are you ready to go to your new home little one?" Before Tom could answer, grief overcame him and he began to cry.

"What's the matter little one?" Paul asked in a gentle voice. Tom replied "I've let my parents down, I promised I would protect our home if anything happened to them and just look; I've failed them."

Paul gently picked Tom up in his huge hand and said, "Tom, your parents would not want you to be disappointed in yourself, you did the best you could in taking care of your home, it is a big responsibility for a young gnome such as yourself, your parents would be very proud of you."

Tom looked up at Paul and said, "Do you really think so?" Paul added, "If they were here right now my friend I'm sure they would commend you on doing the best you could." Paul and Tom went to Paul's truck to be with the other gnomes to start their journey to their new home.

When they arrived, Paul took the gnomes that rode in the box and put them on the hood of the truck while he went and got Tom out of the truck, Paul gently placed Tom in the box with his friends and he took the box over to the model village.

When they were set down on the ground the gnomes couldn't believe what they saw, dozens of beautifully crafted houses just waiting to be occupied, Jack the head gnome said to Paul, "You really didn't have to do this Paul."

Paul replied, "It was no trouble at all my little friend, I promised that I would make your living environment safer and I wanted to keep that promise, you and your people should be able to live in peace."

Jack was almost speechless but said, "We thank you Paul from the bottom of our hearts, we will never forget your kindness." Little Tom who was still in Paul's shirt pocket said "I want to thank you too Paul, I want to thank you for the kindness you've shown me when I was feeling like I had let everyone down, you are a true friend."

Paul gently lifted Tom out of his shirt pocket and said, "Always remember little one to be proud of yourself, never think that you are a disappointment to anyone, you will go far in life if you always believe in yourself."

Paul gently set Tom down with the other gnomes but Tom turned around, went up to Paul's huge foot and hugged the tip of his boot and said, "Thank you Paul, thank you for everything." Paul gently placed his finger on Tom's back and said, "The pleasure was all mine my little friend."

Paul helped his new little friends get settled in their new home and made sure they had a source of food and water so they wouldn't go hungry or go without water for cleaning and drinking. Once they were settled in Paul said, "If any of you need anything at all I'm here, all you need to do is call on me."

Inside his new house, Tom sat on his bed holding a picture of his parents and said, "Mom, Dad, I know you are smiling down at me now knowing that I tried my best to do what I could after your passing, and I promise I will do my best to make you proud, I love you both.....I miss you."

Paul happened to hear what Tom said and said, "Tom, if I know your parents, they would be proud of you no matter what my little friend, they would be proud of their little boy if they could see how grown up you've become, I am proud of you as well."

Night had fallen and Tom was settled down in his bed ready to go to sleep but before he did he looked out his window at the night sky and said, "Good night mom and dad, wherever you are, I love you both."