Secret of Cathedral Lake
Don Arthur Torgersen
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 Sagas 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 naturea
great cathedral of rock that stood at the edge of a lake somewhere
in the mountains of the west.
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 trolls terrible tail twitched from side
to side, and his face looked really ugsome.
troll scowled at the small gnome and said, "Im 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, Ill show you
where it is."
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 trolls heart to beat hard, his
tail to wag, and his mouth to drool, its treasure-trove. His
mind was so possessed by the thought of it that he let the gnome
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: "Theres 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
The troll couldnt
wait. He crawled up an down the mountain where Sir Grogg lived,
clawing at dirt and digging holes with his sharp nose and fingernails.
of goblinsthose ghastly creaturesmarched 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.
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
Sir Grogg stood
high on the mountain and yelled in thundering words, "Begone,
you worthless creatures, Begone!