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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Food/Cooking · #2274698
A experimental grower diversifies.
WORD LIST USED: rage, humbug, cap, peach, wood, fastened


Oaken Smithfield is an experimental farmer of the garden gnomish variety. He specializes in micro-mini trees suitable for the denizens of Fairyland. His latest effort is a grove of peach trees.

“They should be ready to pick very soon,” Oaken announced to his wife with rising excitement.

Grabbing his grimy and battered red cap and his lunch box, he left at just after the crack of dawn to check on his new orchard’s progress. Little did he know as he whistled down the path, what a turn his life would take.

As he came to the area of his vast farm where he had so carefully planted the tiny trees in neat orderly rows, Oaken stopped, nearly overcome by shock. He rubbed his eyes over and over, but what he saw stayed the same.

Someone or something had destroyed his precious orchard. Every single tree had been stripped down to the wood of the trunk. Not a ripening peach, leaf or a twig was left on any of them!

Oaken began to feel a helpless rage take hold of him. He ripped off his soft hat and threw it down. Then let loose with the most vile oath he ever used.

“Humbug!” he roared at the top of his voice, while tearing out his thinning hair.

Snatching up his poor old cap, he jammed it onto his head and turned to head for home, fuming under his breath. Before he’d gone far, he growled to himself and turned back to the ravaged grove.

“I have to get to the bottom of this! And I know just how to do it!”

He went furiously to one of his other inventions, a mobile shed that he moved from place to place on his acreage as needed. Mounted of four study cart wheels, it had handles he pushed it with and foldable steps to get into it. Rummaging in it, he found just what he needed.

After hours of hot, thirsty work, the gnome farmer managed to enclose the grove. The fence was as high as he could make it, without a ladder and fastened into the ground with closely placed stakes. Oaken stood back as he wiped his brow, to look it over.

“That should do it, I hope. But I want to see who or what this thief is!”

Taking a homing pigeon from the small cote he kept attached to the shed, Oaken wrote a quick note on a leaf with a twig and attached it with a vine to bird’s leg. Since night was falling by then, he didn’t want his wife to worry when he didn’t come home. Climbing into the shed, he took a seat on a seed sack near the open door to wait.

It wasn’t long before the ground began to shake. Heavy, thundering footsteps woke Oaken from a light doze. He swallowed his fear and burst out through the doorway of the shed with a loud shout.

“Robber, desist!”

A giant brown furred creature turned toward him. Blinking, the gnome couldn’t even begin to believe his eyes.

“My stars and parsnips, it’s a Geaverbogud! I thought they were extinct!”

But its flat tail, bucked front teeth and size fit what little knew of this cross between a beaver and a groundhog. It was then he noticed something else. It was a female and very obviously raising young.

“I simply can’t hurt or kill a mother with babies of any species,” Oaken decided.

To his dismay, she stepped easily over the fence he’d taken such pains to build. She quickly filled her front legs with a bundle of the tender trunks from his grove. Without pause, she stepped back over the barrier just as easily and ambled off, tail swishing like a paddle behind her.

The gnome sighed. From lore he had heard about the reclusive Geaverbogud, they ate only wood from fruit trees when lactating and feeding kits under a year. “Possibly it is the sweetness in the wood that makes the best food for such babies,” Oaken reasoned to himself.

With a further sigh, the gnome entered through the gate in the fence to walk the rows and examine the stump of each tree.

“The roots are undisturbed, so there is yet hope they will survive and regrow,” he mused.

As he paced the rows slowly, he considered the baby Geaverboguds.

“These creatures are so rare, any offspring must be helped and saved. But how?”

Before any ideas could even begin to form in his tired brain, Oaken curled up in a corner of the grove near the fence and fell into a deep sleep. By the time his wife shook him awake with coffee and muffins, the gnome knew what he needed to do.

All around the vast acreage he had been granted by royal decree, was land that was perfect for the solution he had come up with while he slept. He and his wife journeyed to the Royal Palace to present their solution to the King and Queen. Their amazing solution pleased their majesties greatly and they granted funds for it upkeep.

For days afterward, both gnomes cheerfully planted mature aspen trees on those excess lands. Oaken even included full size peach trees that would go wild. As a final touch, he posted signs that read:” Beware! Geaverbogud Preserve. Absolutely no logging!”

As time went on, Oaken and his wife visited the preserves often and were pleased to see more than one female with pups living in the various locations. Thanks to his solution, the only predators that visited his groves were birds, fruit bats and bugs. Since he always planted extra of his hybrid plants, there was enough for all and then some.

Their majesties came by twice a year to see the preserve, exclaim over the baby Geaverboguds and take home bushels of Oaken’s experimental crops. He became famous in all the lands for his efforts at saving rare creatures and providing designer food at reasonable prices.

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