Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Storytelling Exercise: Dwarf Story, Part 2: Dinah's Whistle

The dwarf is comically similar to the sort of dwarves and trolls I've seen in classic European fantasy art, so much so that I can hardly be surprised at his appearance, nor pretend not to know what he is.

"You're a dwarf," I say.

He smiles, and clearly cannot even pretend to be offended. "Aye, my dear, that I am. And you are a human. A human, and alone. My whistling tipped you off?"

"I heard a voice. Then I whistled, then you whistled."

"Ah yes. It is because of you that I am whittling this. Well…" He gives a few more touches of the knife to the whistle. "…have whittled is more accurate. It is for you, that you may whistle louder, more melodiously, and more accurately. Not that you are a bad whistler, but that if you enjoy it so much, you ought to do it even easier."

I take the gift he is offering and examine it. It is beautifully crafted of some sort of dark, thick wood, with a place to put a string through and several holes so that I may make a multitude of sounds.

"I thank you. This is beautiful. You made it very quickly indeed, if what you say is true."

"Would you like proof?" He opens the top of the school-desk and removes a chunk of the same wood. "I'll make myself a matching one, as we chatter. Only, let me make some quick adjustments to yours, so they aren't mixed up." I hand my gift back to him. He takes a leather string from the school-desk, puts it through the string hole, and closes the desk. "What is your name?"


"Could you spell it? That is no dwarven name, nor an especially common human name."

"It isn't that rare, either." But I spell my name, and as I do, the dwarf quickly carves each letter into the side of the whistle, in strange and lovely script. He hands it back to me. Before my second thanks has left my mouth, he is already whittling the other piece of wood, and it is already resembling a whistle. I never knew such thick hands could move with such dexterity.

"So you know my name, dwarf, but what is your name?"

"I am P'kin. That is spelled with an apostrophe, and I am very much considering putting an 'i' in its place. I would like something more easily pronounced by you humans."

"P'kin. I am already used to it after one go. You needn't change a thing. Do you expect to be encountering many of us?"

"How difficult was it for you to find me?"

"Not that difficult at all, but presumably you've been here a very long time without being discovered. Unless you kill or kidnap everyone who comes down here."

"You seem awfully unafraid for someone who believes that to be the truth."

"You have given me a whistle. If that were the truth, you would be a very stupid kidnapper indeed, for I can call for help."

"You have already missed the last train. The only folks left in the subway are the bums whom nobody would miss."

My heart beats faster at these words, for I am typically cautious, not courageous. At best, I am stuck here until morning. At worst, he really is going to kill me.

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