To Shake Hands with a Goblin: a Fable (Part III)

Here’s Part III of the story I began sharing two posts ago. Part I can be read here and Part II can be read here.

Now that this story is done, what’s next?

I’m not sure yet. Check back soon.


The goblin rose to its full height, nearly 10-feet-tall. It rubbed its wrists where the iron rings had dug into its yellow-green-flesh, turning had turned red and raw. Its arms were as thick as large trees, as were its legs. A golden ear-hoop hung from its left ear. Its other ear had been cut off, or bitten off, depending on what the goblin was fighting when he lost the ear. Surprisingly, The goblin eyes, a putrid mix of brown and green, no longer swelled with anger. They look confused and that confused me.

“I assume you want to kill me, goblin,” I said, mustering all the bravery I could. “Even with my sword, I’m no match for you, now that you’re free. So kill me. Bite my head off or something. Grind my bones to make your bread. I don’t care. Just get on with it. I’m growing impatient.”

The goblin was dumbstruck. “You freed me.”  He stood like a child not yet wise enough to solve the puzzle set before him. “You…you freed me.”

We stood there for several long moments. I wondered if the goblin would kill me, how he would kill me. The goblin, most likely, wondered the same. Finally, he pulled the golden loop hanging from his ear and tossed it at my feet. It was a large as a dinner plate.

“You keep that and remember old Sizlsnot spared your life and I’ll remember you set my life free.” Then the goblin smiled, a terrible, wonderful smile. “Maybe next time we meet, we can shake hands rather than clang swords. Hand shaking will keep us breathing,”

Then, with an unusual speed for something as large as a goblin, Sizlsnot bounded into the woods, leaving me alone and alive.

“Yes,” I thought. “As vile as they are, maybe they’re not so vile as that. Maybe I could shake a goblin’s hand.” I pulled my sword from the ground and lifted Sizlsnot’s earring from the earth before my feet.

“Heavy,” I said, weighing its heft in my hand, as I started my long walk home.


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