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The Revenge Of The Gnomes





The Fairies decided to give a party one night, and invited the Goblins,
but they did not ask the Gnomes, because they did not think of them.

The Gnomes live so deep in the earth that the Fairies seldom meet them,
and so they really forgot and did not in the least intend to slight
them. But the Gnomes heard the Goblins talking about the party one
night and they were very angry because they were not asked also.

The woods were very beautiful, and some of the trees were wearing their
red and yellow leaves, for it was late in the summer. When the moon
came out the green and red and yellow made a pretty picture, and the
Fairies were delighted with the setting for their party.

The Fairy Queen had a new carriage made from a petal of a white lily
and drawn by two butterflies. The Fairies all had new dresses of pink
rose petals and they had the fireflies in all the bushes and trees
where they looked like so many tiny electric lights.

Their table was spread on a big rock; the rabbits were to wait on the
table because their coats were white, and squirrels were to do the
cooking in a little hollow. The table cloth was spun by a spider and
was so beautiful that the Queen, when she saw it, thought it was a
shame to cover it with dishes, so she had the rabbits put the food on a
rock behind a tree and leave the beautiful cloth so the Goblins could
see it.

But when the Goblins arrived they looked at the table with dismay.
"Are not they going to have anything to eat?" they asked one another,
seating themselves at the table and looking with anxious eye.

Not a word did they say to the Queen about the beautiful cloth, and she
found that it was quite wasted on the greedy little Goblins.

There were so many Goblins that the Fairies were obliged to spread a
table on the ground for themselves, and when the rabbits appeared with
the food the Goblins jumped up and helped themselves before the rabbits
could serve them.

At last the Queen, seeing that it was of no use to have waiters for the
Goblins, told the rabbits to put the ice cream and cake and lemonade
and all the nice things on the table and let the Goblins help
themselves.

The bad Goblins spoiled the beautiful cloth the spider had taken so
much trouble to weave; they spilled the lemonade and they crumbled the
cake and the poor Queen was in despair.

The Goblins, not getting the food quick enough to suit them, had
climbed on the table, which, you remember, was spread on a rock. Now,
this rock did not have any moss on it, and it happened that it was one
of the doors to the home of the Gnomes.

The Gnomes are little brown men and they hide under the leaves and
sticks that are so near the color of themselves that they cannot be
seen, so they had been watching all that went on at the party, and,
when they saw the Goblins on top of one of their rocks, part of their
number hurried into the earth and opened the stone where the Goblins
were.

Some of the Goblins were quick enough to escape, but most of them went
into the ground, and all the cake and candy and ice cream with them.

The Queen and her Fairies jumped up and looked around. Everything was
changed and the Fairies shivered as they looked.

The trees were brown and the bushes and the leaves were falling from
the trees, making the ground look as though it had a brown carpet over
it.

The air was frosty and the poor little Fairies looked about in
amazement at the dreary scene before them. The Goblins that escaped
were running around and calling on the Queen to help them rescue their
brothers.

"It is all your fault," they told her. "If you had asked the Gnomes to
your party this would not have happened. Now you must help us to get
our brothers out of the power of those bad Gnomes.

"What shall I do?" asked the poor Queen. She felt that her party had
been a failure and thought if she had asked the Gnomes it could not
have been worse.

Just then a Goblin came running toward them. He had been sent by the
Gnomes. They told him to say that his brothers would all be held
prisoners until the Fairies sent them all the ice cream they wanted.

The Fairies and the Goblins hurried to the kitchen in the hollow, but
it was empty. The squirrels and the rabbits had hurried off when they
felt the frosty air and saw everything turning brown.

"What is to be done?" asked the Goblins, "You ought to help us," they
told the Queen again. "If we had not come to your party we should not
have gotten into trouble."

The Queen could not resist replying to this remark the second time.
"If your brothers and you had not climbed on the table, but kept your
seats, as well-behaved Goblins should, you would not have been in need
of help.

"We must go to work," she said to her Fairies. "Fold your wings and
pin up your skirts. We must make ice cream for those wicked Gnomes."

They worked all night, and just before it was light the Goblins carried
ice cream in nut shells to the rocks of the Gnomes, and by and by the
captured Goblins came out and joined their comrades.

"We lost our supper," said the Goblins to the Fairies, "and you should
give us our breakfast. We are hungry. If it had not been for your
party we should not have lost our supper."

This was more than the poor tired Queen and her Fairies could bear.
They took their wands from under their wings and, waving them, they
flew toward the Gnomes.

Little sparks darted from the wands, and every time a spark touched a
Goblin it left a little red mark, and at the same time it pricked them.

Such tumbling and scampering you never saw as the Goblins tried to get
away, and when a Goblin that had a red spot on his face meets a Fairy
he hides or runs, for he knows that she will point him out as one of
the greedy Goblins who tried to make the Fairies cook their breakfast
for them.





Next: The Little China Shepherdess

Previous: The Peacock Butterflies



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