Nils sat on a worn chair in Oma’s kitchen, eating goulash and dumplings. Oma was telling him a story (though Nils had heard it a hundred times before).
‘Then, Knut the Terrible tore down the mountain and gobbled our village up,’ said Oma, ‘in one bite. True as I’m sitting here today.’
‘Did he swallow the oxen?’ asked Nils.
‘The chickens and cows and church steeple?’
‘Crunch. Of course, he washed everything down with a barrel of beer,’ said Oma. ‘And then…’
‘He burped,’ finished Nils.
Oma nodded. ‘It was like an earthquake.’
She leaned back in her chair, winding wool into a skein.
‘I don’t believe it,’ said Nils. He reached for more dumplings.
Oma wagged a finger at him. ‘But you will believe the tale of Dolf the Dreadful.’
So Oma began telling another story. (Nils had heard this one a thousand times.)
‘Dolf the Dreadful snuck into our village and stole our stories,’ Oma said.
‘He didn’t steal the one about Knut the Terrible,’ noted Nils.
‘Dolf the Dreadful stole our stories before Knut the Terrible ate our village. Then he sold our stories to the neighbouring village for one Apfelstrudel.’ Oma shook her head. ‘So cheap! Now the neighbouring village tell our stories like they are their own.’
‘I don’t believe it,’ said Nils, serving himself four more dumplings.
‘If only Dolf the Dreadful hadn’t stolen and sold our stories,’ sighed Oma. ‘Yesterday, I was at the neighbouring village selling wool. I had to listen to the tale of Gisella and the Lost Wagonette like it wasn’t our story to begin with!’
Nils paused with his spoon in the air. ‘Let them have that story, Oma. It’s not very good.’
‘Ah, but Gisella was a beautiful horse,’ Oma said, as if he hadn’t spoken. ‘Such a shiny coat, and such good teeth.’
‘I have a shiny coat and good teeth,’ said Nils, tucking into another dumpling.
‘Yes, but you couldn’t pull a wagonette full of perfectly round cheeses in a perfect circle like Gisella,’ said Oma. She folded the ends of the skein in.
‘Then fog came down over the village,’ recited Nils. (He had heard this story a million times.) ‘When the fog lifted—’
‘Pouff! All that was left were wagonette marks in a circle shape around the village. Crazy,’ Oma leaned forward to whisper, ‘Gisella, the wagonette and all the cheeses had disappeared!’
‘I don’t believe it,’ said Nils. He eyed the remaining dumplings. Could he fit them in?
‘Another story,’ said Oma. ‘Once, there was a pig in our village.’
Nils was surprised. He had never heard the story about the village pig.
‘Was it ferocious?’
‘Was it clever?’
‘What did this pig do?’
‘He sat in the very chair you are sitting in and gobbled up all the dumplings!’
‘That,’ said Nils, patting his belly, ‘is a story I believe I would like to hear again.’
Christina Miesen is an illustrator who loves writing for children. To date, she has had nine books published. Visit Christina's website to find our more about her books and illustrations.
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