Editor’s note: You may listen and/or read to today’s story, a guest post from Nick and Jamin.
Gimkin and the Goblins
by Nick Muzekari, illustrated by Jamin Still
Once there was a dwarf named Gimkin whose job it was to guard the pass that led into his village.
Gimkin’s job was very important, especially since the Goblins, the foremost enemies of the Dwarves, lived in a cave on the lower slope of the mountain and were always scheming of ways to invade the village and plunder it.
To protect his village from harm, Gimkin would only have to blow into a special wooden whistle to wake Odeleth, the good dragon who slept beneath the pass. The dragon would then come forth and drive the intruders away.
Gimkin’s watch was from sunset to sunrise and he made sure he ate light and was well rested, all of which helped him be watchful at the pass.
Now it happened on one night that the Goblin chief, Fragmire, had a plan to get through the pass and into the Dwarven village. He sent Mucklore, his most crafty warrior to do the job.
Disguised as a common traveler, Mucklore approached the pass.
Gimkin saw him and shouted, “Halt! This is Dwarven territory, what’s your business here?”
“I’m on my way to the other side of the mountain and noticed you in the tower. Allow me to fulfill a charitable deed and give you food and drink. I have more than enough for myself and another as well. You must be hungry and thirsty keeping watch all night up there.”
“No thank you,” said Gimkin. “Now move along…”
Mucklore reached into his sack and pulled out a most delicious looking leg of lamb. The smell of it reached Gimkin’s nostrils. Gimkin’s eyes grew wide and his stomach growled—lamb was his favorite.
“Okay, traveler, throw the lamb up to me,” Gimkin said.
“I wish I could, good Dwarf, but my arms are old and weak, it’ll never reach.”
The smell of the lamb continued to entice Gimkin. “I’ll only have to leave my post for a minute to get it,” he thought.
“I’ll be right down,” said Gimkin.
When Gimkin unlocked the heavy tower door and came outside he didn’t see the traveler anywhere. “Traveler, where are you?”
Poor Gimkin, he had just walked into a trap of the Goblin Mucklore, who was hiding in the shadows on the side of the tower.
THUMP! Mucklore struck Gimkin on the back of the head, knocking him nearly unconscious, and threw him over the ridge down the side of the slope.
Luckily for Gimkin, he missed hitting most of the jagged rocks on the way down, and landed on a pile of sleeping sheep nestled at the bottom.
The sheep fled, leaving Gimkin on the ground in a daze. He slowly sat up. His head was pounding and his body ached.
High above him, Gimkin heard a multitude of Goblins screaming and shouting as they made their way through the pass.
“Oh, No,” thought Gimkin, rubbing his head, “what have I done?”
With no one in the tower to watch the pass, the Goblin hordes easily reached the Dwarven village at the top of the mountain. They pillaged and plundered, stealing food and gold, and in the end they took away a group of Dwarven children as captives.
Ironbones, the village leader, managed to escape to a secret hiding place beneath a hill. “Gimkin will pay with his life for this!” he said.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ridge, Gimkin was in despair. He got up and dusted himself off. “I have to get to the village,” he thought. He began climbing up the slope-side.
For anyone else this might have been an impossible task, but not for Gimkin— mountain climbing was something Dwarves could do quite easily.
Gimkin eventually reached the top and climbed over the side onto the pass.
From there he could see the Dwarven village. Streams of black smoke rose into the sky.
He reached the village and saw Trunkle and Sheepbeard, Dwarves he knew well.
“YOU!,” Sheepbeard shouted. “You dare show your face here?”
Gimkin looked around and saw many Dwarven mothers and fathers weeping.
“They took the children,” said Trunkle.”
Gimkin’s heart sank. He turned and ran out of the village all the way back to the pass. He reached the tower and climbed the stone stairs to the top where he grabbed the wooden whistle from the wall and blew it as hard as he could.
Odeleth woke from sleep and flew up above the pass, the great strength of his wings rushed through the air like thunder.
Gimkin ran down the tower and out into the pass.
Odeleth landed and looked around for Goblins that were no longer there.
“Odeleth, we must go and save the children!” shouted Gimkin. Odeleth bent his head down and Gimkin climbed onto his neck.
Odeleth lifted into the air. Gimkin used his strong arms to push and pull the dragon’s neck to steer him.
They soon came to the main cave of the goblins. The cave’s mouth was very large, large enough for Odeleth to pass through.
Gimkin rode Odeleth through the cave opening with a shout while the dragon blew fire into the air to light the way.
In the main chamber of the cave a multitude of Goblins, including the Goblin Chief and the crafty Mucklore, scattered in every direction, leaving their children captives behind.
Gimkin landed Odeleth. He jumped down and ran to the children who were scared and crying. The brave Dwarf escorted all of them to the dragon. He helped them get up on the dragon’s tail and back. “Hold on tight!” he said, “Odeleth let’s go!” Gimkin shouted.
The faithful beast rose into the middle of the humongous cavern and flew straight out of the cave entrance with Gimkin and all of the children hanging onto him.
Outside on the slopes, the Goblins attacked with rocks, arrows, and flying daggers, but Gimkin immediately flew Odeleth high into the sky, out of range of the attack. Then Gimkin circled around and dove down upon the attackers from the back and the dragon cleared them all with a great breath of flame before rising back into the air and continuing up the mountain.
At last they arrived at the Dwarven village and landed.
The Dwarven parents rejoiced to see their young ones; they hugged and kissed them, and thanked Gimkin for his bravery.
Ironbones, seeing Gimkin’s bravery and how he rescued the Dwarven children, came forward:
“Gimkin, you have redeemed yourself by this act of bravery to rescue our children from the hands of our enemies. The village we can rebuild and the gold we can re-mine, but our children cannot be replaced.”
The Dwarven village was eventually re-built and the Dwarven gold was re-mined, and Gimkin was restored as Keeper of the Pass.
And from that day on Gimkin never came down from the watchtower again while he was on guard, and he kept a special eye out for travelers passing by…especially ones offering food and drink.
—– —– —–
Gimkin = ‘Gim-kin
Mucklore = ‘Muck-lor
Odeleth = ‘O-da-leth