Last Days of Gorlock the Dragon
Don Arthur Torgersen
was a warm, sunny day during that wonderful time of the year known
as Indian summer. The red and golden leaves falling from the trees
fluttered in the breeze like butterflies.
the gnome sat on a large rock near Red Rock Lake.
He was playing riddle-me games with four young gnomes named Nefer,
Duncan, Huff and Puff. He tried to stump the young gnomes with an
flies forever and rests never?
a great big smile and said:
I know that!
wind, the wind, its the wind
flies forever and rests never.
nose from a rock, a tail from a tree,
kind of creature do you see?
was quick to answer:
I know that!
nose grows from rock, its tail from a tree,
troll is the creature that I see.
Huff and Puff,
the two gnomes who looked exactly alike, began to get angry. Nefer
was answering all the riddles.
"If youre so smart, Nefer, tell us what else a troll
is made of."
knows what trolls are made of. Rocks, roots, bark, leaves, weeds,
lumps, and dead tree stumps," replied Nefer smartly. "But
nobody knows how old they are."
Huff and Puff
laughed. "Theres a lot more to know about trolls than
that." Then the two gnomes unrolled an old scroll. They began
to read aloud a funny poem they had written:
Are Trolls Made Of?
worms and snails and salamander tails
beaks and claws and grizzly jaws
nettles, thorns, and caterpillar horns,
what trolls are made of.
toadstools, slime, and crusty grime
moss and read and centipede feet
sneers and snares and scraggly hairs
what trolls are made of.
itches, twitches, howls, and fits
wrinkles, warts, and grumpish snorts
beetle wings and creepy things
thats what trolls are made of.
the gnomes heard a bellyful of deep laughs and chortles that came
from the other side of the lake. Torrek pointed across the lake
and said, "Theres a troll who lives in the shadows over
there, and I think he liked your poem."
The gnomes noticed
two large trumpeter swans swimming in the lake. Torrek called out
to them, "Ko-Hoh!
Ko-Hoh! Ko-Hoh!" The swans glided toward shore to meet with
Torrek, their old friend.
Torrek and the
young gnomes walked down to the edge of the lake. As they talked
with the swans, something strange began to happen. Great smoky clouds
reached across the sky like a huge, dark hand.
whooshthe sound of wings, huge in size, filled the sky. A
fiery-hot wind rushed in from the north, causing waves to rise and
roil and torment the lake. The five gnomes looked up into a threatening
A great dragon
soared above, darkening the sky with his large, powerful wings.
His hide was covered with bluish-green armor and shining scales.
His long tail was forked at the end. Fire and smoke poured out of
The two swans
rose into the air and began to make loud calls that sounded like
horns: "Ko-Hoh! Ko-Hoh! Ko-Hoh!
the young gnomes together. "Quick! Follow me! Gorlock the dragon
is back. Gorlock eats trolls in a single gulp. Five gnomes would
hardly make a meal for him. Lets scram out of here and hustle
The gnomes scrambled
through the trees into the safety of Pepper Tree Forest. Gorlock
the dragon landed right in the middle of Red Rock Lake with a great
splash. His fiery breath scorched the trees along the shoreline.
His slanted eyes darted back and forth, searching for a feast of
gnomes and trolls.
Deep in the forest,
all the gnomes had heard the alarms of the swans. Many of them gathered
at the Tree of Weapons where they listened to Torrek tell about
the return of Gorlock the dragon.
The young gnomes
did not know about Gorlock, so Saga the Storyteller began to tell
ago," she said, "our great grandparents used to live in
the land beyond the Dark Mountains," and Saga pointed out to
the distance. "It was a good land until it became crowded with
dragons and goblins that bickered day and night and caused all kinds
the dragon was the most wicked of wicked creatures. He tried to
rule over the land with brute force and treachery. He would not
let anyone live in peace. He burned the trees with his horrid breath
and sent the gnomes scattering from many dragon wars."
grandparents built small boats and sailed away from that spoiled
land. When they arrived at these shores, they planted crops and
pepper trees. They built new homes. They made the forest a fine
habitat for all forms of wildlife. They thought they had escaped
dragon fighting forever."
years, an elfin girl named Ella-nor betrayed her friends and told
Gorlock where the gnomes had gone to live. He followed her to the
edge of Pepper Tree Forest and tried to burn our trees with his
and Gripper were our best dragon fighters. They drove Gorlock away
during a great battle at Red Rock Lake. They chopped off his enormous
tail and he hobbled away in pain. Gorlock felt a shame you could
not describe at the loss of his tail. He had to wait a long time
for it to grow back again."
Saga raised her
arms above her head and shouted, "Now Gorlock has returned
full of hate and revenge. We must get rid of him once and for all
or he will ruin our lives forever."
Now spoke Torrek
to the gnomes:
a plan to lure the dragon out of the water and fight him on land.
But first, Gripper and I need several things. We need a red woolen
cap, a tattered troll jacket, and most of all, a rope that never
Torreks request, Saga began to comb out her hair. The more
she combed, the longer it grew. The hair soon curled around her
feet in a pile. Then she asked Gripper to cut off her hair with
the blade of his axe.
Saga began to
twirl her hair with her fingers, braiding it into a thick rope.
When she was finished, she gave the rope to Torrek, saying, "Wizards,
warlocks, dragons and drakes, Beware the rope that never breaks."
Torrek took the
rope and slung it around his shoulder. He pulled down a sharp spear
that was hanging on the Tree of Weapons. Then he climbed on the
back of a swan.
friend Gripper held his axe with a mighty grip. He picked up a sack
filled with the red woolen cap, a tattered troll jacket, and other
things Torrek needed. Then he climbed on the back of the other swan.
swans opened their wings and rose into the sky. The two warriors
rode on their backs, singing:
Ko-Hoh, Ko-Hoh, Ko-Hoh
the dragon fight we go, Ko-Hoh,
smite the dragon a mighty blow
wickedest dragon we know, Ko-Hoh.
The swans landed
behind a clump of trees near Red Rock Lake. Gorlock sat in the middle
of the lake, breathing fire and smoke. Torrek, Gripper and the swans
crouched behind the trees and made their plans.
When night came,
it was dark as pitch. The dragons eyes drooped and he began
to doze. Quietly, Torrek and Gripper tied one end of the rope that
never breaks around the trunk of
a great oak tree.
Now the dragon
was in a deep sleep, snoring loudly in the middle of the lake. Torrek
and Gripper crept out from behind the clump of trees.
The two gnomes
rolled a large rock up to the top of a bluff near the shoreline.
They dressed the rock with the tattered troll jacket. They used
a sharp piece of rock to make a trolls nose. They found a
long pine branch with bristles at the end and used it for the trolls
The gnomes used
charcoal from the charred trees to draw eyes and a mouth on the
face of the rock. Finally, they put the red woolen cap on the top
of the rock and began to chuckle.
said Torrek. "Weve built a scaretroll on the bluff, yes,
a scaretroll. When Gorlock sees it in the morning, hell have
to come out of the water to eat it. Hell think its nice,
juicy troll meat, but will he be surprised!"
when you tie the rope that never breaks around his tail so he cant
get away," whispered Torrek to Gripper. "The swans will
fly into the air and make loud, trumpeting calls to confuse him.
Ill run underneath him and drive my spear through the chinks
in his armor deep into his stony heart. And when that hard heart
cracks from the force of my spear, that will be the end of him!"
Then the two
gnomes snuck back behind the clump of trees to wait for morning.
When dawn came, an ugsome scaretroll was sitting on the bluff above
the lake. It was good bait for a dragon. The troll was so ugsome
that it even scared off the scavenging crows, who cawed and croaked
The caw, caw,
croaking of the crows awoke the dragon. Gorlocks slanted eyes
darted back and forth. He soon caught sight of a nice, juicy troll
sitting on shore and belched a cloud of smoke. Gorlock opened his
mouth and snapped out his long, forked tongue which stung the air
like a whip.
The great dragon
splashed his tail from side to side and climbed up on shore. He
opened his mouth as wide as he could and snatched the scaretroll
with the jaws of doom.
He raised the
heavy troll into the air and began to chew. But instead of chewing
on nice, juicy troll meat, his teeth began to grind on hard rock.
The dragon belched in anger because the troll meat was so tough.
mouth was full of rock, the swans flapped their wings, flew above
the dragon, and filled the sky with the sound of trumpets and horns.