A fairytale about a little goblin who never fit in with her people and hopes to find kindness in another place.
The Little Goblin (part 1 of 3)
Once upon a time, there was a little goblin. All goblins are small of course, but this goblin was small even among the other goblins. She had skin like a forest canopy, a bulging nose and frizzy brown hair with a will of its own. Whenever there was food, the goblins fought for it. They ripped it apart with claws and teeth to get as much as possible. But the little goblin was tiny and weak and only ever managed to get a few scraps, so she stayed tiny and weak.
Being the smallest and weakest wasn’t the only reason the little goblin always lost in the scramble for food. She may have looked like any other goblin, but deep inside she knew she was different from her brothers and sisters. The little goblin didn’t like fighting. She didn’t like hurting others. When they hunted a wee rabbit, she always got laughed at because she didn’t want to kill it. But the wee rabbit was so cute, so no way she could kill it. She’d rather eat berries. But every time she found berries, they were stolen from her by the other goblins.
No, the little goblin wasn’t like other goblins. At night she cried herself to sleep because no one loved her. Because she was all alone.
Whenever she had the opportunity, the little goblin wandered far away from the camp, to a babbling brook in the forest. She loved the brook. The sun sparkled on the water and if she bent over above the surface, a small goblin looked at her. She smiled and the little goblin smiled back. The goblin in the water was her only friend, but every time she tried to touch her, she only felt the cold stream.
The water was another reason why the other goblins found her weird. Goblins weren’t supposed to like water. The little goblin liked water. When she stepped into its chilly embrace, it felt like all the dirt was taken by the stream. Not just the mud on her body, but also the mud on her heart. She felt clean and happy.
And the water contained so many treasures. When the little goblin searched looked very carefully, she found all these sparkly yellow stones, like raindrops made of stars. Once, she brought the stones back to the camp, but the other goblins had laughed at her. “Why would you need those ugly stones?” they’d asked. “You can’t even eat them! Only humans like them! You don’t want to be human!” They took the stones from her and threw them away or hid them in places the little goblin would never find. Then, they laughed until the little goblin ran away crying.
For the little goblin, these sparkly stones were very important. They were pretty and when she held them, she thought about the river and her little goblin friend in the water.
One day the elder goblin had been particularly nasty. He had hit the little goblin and told her she wasn’t a real goblin. If she didn’t change herself, she had to leave. The little goblin did want to leave the camp, but she didn’t know where to go. The camp in the forest was all she had. The outside world was scary.
When she told them, the other goblins laughed at her. They kicked her out.
Overcome with sadness, the little goblin went to the river and started walking. She didn’t know why. She didn’t know where. She needed something to do to keep the dark thoughts at bay. She walked and she gathered sparkly stones. Far, far away she walked, farther than she had ever gone. The sun was sniffed out, the sky went inky, until someone lighted the sun again. She walked and walked along the river, until voices shook her from her thoughts.
The little goblin looked past the trees and couldn’t believe what she saw. She had walked all the way to the edge of the forest! There, after the security of the trees, gigantic people with hungry axes were cutting down the trees.
The little goblin plunged into the nearest bush to hide. The elder goblin had once told her about these people with their brown skins. These were humans. The most dangerous of all creatures. Humans were cruel. They hated goblins. When a human saw a goblin, they wouldn’t hunt them for food, but for fun.
The little goblin shuddered in her bush, but she couldn’t help observing the humans. Cut. Cut. Cut. They felled the trees. To her surprise, they didn’t seem as evil as the elder goblin had told her. They were talking and laughing. A hairy human shared his food with the others in a way goblins wouldn’t even dream of. When a young human with crossed eyes hurt himself, the others helped him up.
A tiny spark of hope lighted in the little heart of the little goblin. The elder goblin must have lied. Humans weren’t cruel. Goblins were cruel. Humans were kind. Maybe, thought the little goblin, I don’t have to return to the camp. Maybe the nice humans will help me.
Gathering all the courage she had, she made herself move. She stepped out of the bush with her braves smile and waved at the humans.
Their reaction shattered her expectations.
Instead of returning the smile and wave, the big hairy man started yelling. The hungry axes turned away from the trees to face the little goblin. A leathery man picked up a branch and threw it at the little goblin. It hit her head. The little goblin felt a stinging pain as blood trickled down her face.
She turned and ran away. Away. Away from here. Away from the humans. Tears mixed with the blood on her face. Yells hunted her. Humans weren’t kind. Not to her.
Eventually the little goblin reached the river. She looked at the little goblin in the water. For a moment she wavered. Maybe it would be better with her only friend in the water. To let the river wash her away. Goblins and humans were all ugly. There was no place for her in this forest.
But the little goblin never managed to lose all hope.
Days passed. The little goblin lived by the river. She ate berries and she ate fish. Fishes weren’t cute anyway. She hid herself, which was easy. Often, she crouched to the edge of the forest and watched the humans. She watched the men with their axes and the wooden buildings in the distance. Smoke crawled from the buildings. They looked warm.
Then came the rainy day when the little goblin was no longer on her own. As she walked through the forest, cold and sad and lonely, she saw something between buttery flowers. It was a doll, with long chestnut hair, made of wood and cloth. The little goblin looked at the doll and the doll seemed to tell her something. It’s okay. You’re no longer alone.
That night the little goblin slept with the doll tightly pressed to her chest. She had never felt so un-alone. The doll gave warmth.
After two days the rainy clouds retreated, and the sun broke through. The little goblin was happier than she had ever been. The doll was her friend. She wandered through the forest humming songs, until she suddenly heard a new voice.
Immediately the little goblin ducked into the shrubbery, protecting the doll with her body. She kept herself very quiet. Someone walked in sight following the mossy path. It was a young human girl with a brown skin. A pink flower was woven delicately in her dark hair. The girl seemed sad. She kept calling a name, as if she was looking for someone.
As if she was looking for something.
In her bush, the little goblin stared at her doll. She stared at the girl. She knew what the girl was looking for. Loneliness tore her apart. For a moment she considered keeping the doll, but she couldn’t. The girl looked so sad. The doll was probably her best friend. That wasn’t something the little goblin could take from her.
The little goblin followed the girl for the entire afternoon, until the girl sat against a tree. She closed her eyes to rest, tired of being sad. The little goblin knew how that felt.
When the girl seemed asleep, the little goblin crawled out of the vegetation. She stood silently in front of the girl, the doll in her hands. Saying goodbye hurt. The doll had made her so happy. But the girl needed the doll more.
The voice startled the little goblin. She had stared at the doll for so long that the girl had opened her eyes. Big hazel eyes stared at the little goblin. The little goblin let the doll fall out of her hands and rand away.
“Wait!” yelled the girl, but the little goblin didn’t wait. She was afraid that another branch would be thrown at her.
When the goblin looked around, there was no branch flying at her. There was a big smile on the girl’s face, who was hugging the doll tightly. “Thank you!” she smiled.
The girl left the forest with her doll and the little goblin knew she would never see either again. The little goblin would return to her loneliness and her river.
The little goblin was wrong.
I'm a dutch fantasy and mythology enthousiast who's always working on a novel and sometimes finds some time to write a short story. I have a paticular love for positive character arcs, the good in people, and original settings.ShadeZ likes this.