Gnome More Mr. Nice Guy

The gnome winked. “Disturb you, did we? Meant to, didn’t we?”

Annoyed, I watch the ivy root I’d been hacking slither into the ground.

“Burrow they do. Like rumors they monger, multiply.”

I slump in the dirt. “It seems hopeless.”

“Aye, Whac-a-Mole.”

“Then what, let them take over?”

“Nae, ye be between Odysseus double monsters. Then strap yourself down and through it ye go.”

Churning waters, sailor’s oars pulling strong. A group effort. Is that what he means? “I don’t understand. Is it restraint or escape that let us resist the siren’s song?”

“A bit of both. Then dig in.”

Magical Thinking

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“Drying up. Inspiration drying up. You bury ideas.” A creature not much taller than a toadstool, warty and fobbish…

Gnawing a pencil, I looked and saw a gnome pointing to a well-thumbed dictionary. “Warty I’ll give you, but fobbish. Nae a proper word.”

“Sorry. Am I awake?” I rubbed my eyes and erased fobbish. “So what’s this about?”

Fob settled himself on a nightstand saucer. “What with worry-warting about now, we miss what else. Poets can’t poem. Mathematicians can’t math. Reality can’t real. Every day like the last.”

“I thought it was me.”

“No, us. Together, we grieve it all.”

The Luck of Three

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His father told him good things come in multiples of three. Then, he left his third son at the crossroads. Taking a contemplative path into mountains and mists, the youth finds an ox, a horse and a royal ring. Riding the horse, leading the ox and wearing the ring, he’s stopped by a bailiff. The man’s skin and bones poverty cries out for help. The youth hands the man the ox’s rope.

Giving the horse its head, he arrives at a castle where the glint of the ring summons the queen. Three well solved quests later, she makes him king.