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Hudgeon Tales

By Eleanor Goodman




      Mr. Joe started back down the hill, thinking and planning in his head as folks are wont to do. He began to plan a bed for the hudgeon, and as soon as he arrived home he built it. And an elegant piece of work it was, made from the finest wood and with a nice firm mattress. He carried the new bed into the house and set it next to his and said in a loud voice to no one he could see,  “There now, I hope you enjoy your new bed.”
      When night came, he settled down into his own bed and pulled the covers around himself, sure he would finally have a good night’s rest.  Suddenly, he thought he heard a wee, small voice grumbling and mumbling, “too big and too hard,” and then, off came the covers on Mr. Joe’s bed.
      Undaunted, the next day he set about making a new bed. This one had a goose down comforter and was a bit smaller than the other one.
“Too puffy and much too fluffy!” was what the wee complaining voice muttered, and, once again, Mr. Joe found himself uncovered.  He tried one thing after another, but nothing suited his fussy, uninvited guest.
      Next morning, JJ found him fast asleep in the garden. “Wake up Mr. Joe! I want you to fix my wagon.”
JJ was ten years old and very persistent.
Mr. Joe slept on. JJ shook him.
“Hey Mr. Joe, what is the matter with you? Are you dead?”
Jimmy Jake’s parents had died in an accident when he was a baby and he worried about people dying.
At that, Mr. Joe woke up and hugged the boy. 
“Nope, I’m just the victim of a dissatisfied Hudgeon.”
He told JJ the whole story.

      The boy listened thoughtfully and said, “The wise woman told you the hudgeon was small. Did she tell you how small? I think that hudgeon is much smaller than you think. Much. Like Tom Thumb, or Thumbelina.”  He knew lots of stories about the little people and he believed them to be true.
      While they were talking, Mr. Joe had been absent-mindedly cracking open walnuts from the old walnut tree in the yard, and eating them.
JJ picked up half a walnut shell, looked inside it and yelled. “That’s it! This is the perfect size for a hudgeon’s bed. I just know it.”
      Mr. Joe was doubtful that anyone that small could be so strong, but he didn’t want to discourage his young friend, so he found some fluff from a cottonwood tree and carefully lined the shell with it then laid a leaf on top.

“Let me do it. Let me carry it into the house.” said JJ eagerly. Mr. Joe nodded and gave the little bed to him.
      Ever so carefully, the boy went into the bedroom and placed it on the window ledge, announcing to someone neither of them could see but both knew was there, “O.K. little hudgeon… here’s a bed we made for you. Please leave Mr. Joe’s bed alone. He really needs some rest.”
      So that night, when Mr. Joe went to bed and braced himself for his covers being yanked off, nothing of the sort happened. After awhile he thought he heard a purring noise and a soft voice saying:

Oh yes indeed, yes this is fine.
I really like this bed of mine.”

And Mr. Joe got a good night’s sleep.


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