The Secret of Cathedral Lake
by Don Arthur Torgersen

On a pleasant summer morning, Saga the Storyteller took a group of young gnomes to see the Tree of Tales. It was a marvelous tree that stood in a grassy field near Pepper Tree Forest. It was a very old tree, and it had grown there for as long an anyone could remember.
The tree grew in midst of a lush, rolling meadow covered with brightly-colored wildflowers. The gnomes loved to sit on the hills near the tree where they could listen to Saga’s tales.
Saga the Storyteller was a wise woman who knew the ways of the world. She told many wonderful tales that delighted the gnomes. Her voice was as clear as a bell, as sweet as melody. Why even the wind would stop blowing just to listen to her voice.
The Tree of Tales had magical leaves. Saga pulled a leaf from the tree and looked at it closely. The veins of the leaf formed a picture that jogged her memory and reminded her of something in the past. It was a picture of a place far, far away. The leaf showed a wondrous work of nature–a great cathedral of rock that stood at the edge of a lake somewhere in the mountains of the west.

Saga smiled and told the gnomes, "I see a wonderful tale in this leaf. A long time ago, your great grandparents used to take long trips into the Elk Mountains. They climbed an old trail that led to a tarn,a beautiful mountain lake that was deep with mystery.
Great peaks and spires rose from the edge of the lake and reached high into the sky. The gnomes thought that the mountain peaks looked like a gothic cathedral, so they named the place Cathedral Peak and called the lake Cathedral Lake.
After many adventures, the gnomes discovered the secret of Cathedral Lake. It was a secret they promised never to reveal.
Now high in the mountains lived a great giant named Sir Grogg. He was nearly as tall as the mountain trees. He had long golden hair and a long, golden beard. His large, bright eyes were filled with forest green colors and tiny flecks of gold.
Sir Grogg the giant guarded the trail that led to Cathedral Lake. He watched the aspen and the pine trees grow tall and protected the forces of nature. The mountain home he loved was a refuge for birds and wild animals and a resting place for weary gnomes.
Sir Grogg loved the quiet of the night. He would often lean on the mountain to gaze longingly at the stars and listen to the music of the spheres.
When storms came, Sir Grogg battled the storms. He made sure the wild animals and the gnomes found shelter near rocky outcrops, in caves, or under trees. He held out his hand to stop the lightning and, with his great breath, blew away the raging storm clouds.
Sir Grogg was a friendly giant, and he was happy when the gnomes came to visit him on their way to the lake. He enjoyed watching their dances and listening to the songs they played on wooden flutes. He liked to watch the young gnomes play marbles with prized shooters and agates.
Sir Grogg let the gnomes pass on the trail because they promised never to tell any wicked creatures what they saw or heard at Cathedral Lake. That was a secret only to be shared by those who would not do harm to the natural beauty of the mountains.
Once, when the gnomes were returning from a trip to the lake, one of the gnomes lagged behind. He was caught by a fearsome troll who jumped out of the rocks. The troll’s terrible tail twitched from side to side, and his face looked really ugsome.
The fearsome troll scowled at the small gnome and said, "I’m going to tear you to pieces and chew you up like chewing gum!
In order to save his life, the frightened gnome said, "Wait! I know where there is a secret treasure-trove. If you let me go, I’ll show you where it is."
"Where? Where is it?" demanded the troll.
The gnome grew smart real fast. He crossed his arms, pointed in opposite directions, and said, "Out there in the mountains."
The troll had no idea where the gnome was pointing, but he felt excited. If there is anything that will cause a troll’s heart to beat hard, his tail to wag, and his mouth to drool, it’s treasure-trove. His mind was so possessed by the thought of it that he let the gnome escape.
So the troll told a witch, and the witch told the goblins that there was a great secret treasure-trove in the mountains. The witch rubbed her hands and laughed with glee and witchery: "There’s gold and silver and shiny stones, and great secret treasure to tickle my bones. And, ha-hah! The goblins and a stupid troll will do all the work."
The troll couldn’t wait. He crawled up an down the mountain where Sir Grogg lived, clawing at dirt and digging holes with his sharp nose and fingernails.
A battalion of goblins–those ghastly creatures–marched up one trail and down another with picks, axes, drills, and dynamite. They drove noisy machines and foul contraptions up the trails, cut down the tall trees, choked off the wild grasses, blasted huge holes in the rocks, polluted the streams, and stripped the mountain forest of its natural beauty.
The goblins ruined everything in their way, but could not find a treasure-trove anywhere. It caused them to grow furious and dig out more and more of the mountainside.
Sir Grogg saw what was happening to his mountain home and grew angry. Greedy goblins and a stupid troll were scaring away the birds and the wildlife, trampling on the grasses and wildflowers, destroying every natural thing.
Sir Grogg stood high on the mountain and yelled in thundering words, "Begone, you worthless creatures, Begone!