Burly and Grum: Beyond the Forest

Author: Kate Tenbeth


Text from Burly and Grum: Beyond the Forest


Groblins have had a lot of bad press over the years but, when it comes down to it, they’re more grumpy than bad and they’d be the first to admit that they squabble a lot. They’re not very tidy. Their skin is a bright pea green
colour and both male and female groblins have hairy red eyebrows and large ears. Their favourite food is rotting meat but they’ll also eat grubs and mould. They’re not as bad as people make out – just different.

This particular groblin’s name was Grum and he was thinking. He had a lot to think about. Earlier that day he’d been thrown out of his home by his older brothers, Gripe and Grimly, who’d told him in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t come back until he’d proved himself a worthy groblin. Grum had yelled a lot and dug his feet firmly into the ground but his brothers didn’t care much.

They each took an arm and dragged him to the boundary that marked groblin territory. By the time they were half way there Grum had stopped yelling but still wouldn’t walk, deciding that as his brothers were being so horrible they could do all the hard work. His heels made deep tracks in the ground behind him.

The brothers were exhausted by the time they’d arrived at the boundary but still managed to summon enough energy to chuck Grum over to the other side. Grum stood on one side of the boundary, his brothers the other.
“You’re just jealous I’m uglier than you!” he shouted at his brothers.

Gripe and Grimly looked at each other and laughed. “In your dreams!” shouted back Grimly. “Does mum know what you’ve done?” Grum demanded to know. “She suggested it,” snickered Gripe. “She didn’t,” protested Grum, momentarily shocked. “She wouldn’t do that.”

“Oh yes she did,” replied Gripe. “She’s always spoilt you because you’re the youngest but even she’s had enough of your lazy ways – when was the last time you offered to dirty the house?” “I’m not meant to!” Grum was a brighter shade of green than usual by now. “I’m her special groblin, she said so!” “Yes, well,” said Gripe with a smirk. “Not any more. Off you go.

Prove yourself as a groblin and maybe then mum will let you back. Oh – and one last thing – be careful of all the beautiful people out there!” Grum shook his fist. “You don’t scare me! They’re only stories – there’s no such thing as beautiful people and you know it!” “Whooooo….” Grimly made a ghostly sound. “Well I guess you’ll find out
sooooon!” The brothers both burst out laughing. They thought it was so funny they had to lean on each other for support but that didn’t work so they fell on the ground and rolled about clutching their stomachs.

Grum glowered. He’d show them. He turned on his heel and marched away, the sound of their laughter ringing in his ears. In case you didn’t know, groblins can walk like humans but they have very long arms so it’s easier and faster for them to walk on all fours. They throw their arms forward and plant their hands on the ground and then swing their legs along to catch up. They can actually move very quickly like this.

Grum swung and marched through the forest until he could go no further and then climbed to the top of what he thought was a small hill and sat down. He was so upset that it took a few minutes for him to realise the hill was not only moving slowly up then slowly down, but that it was snoring loudly. He wasn’t that bothered however, mostly because although he’d heard of bears he’d never seen one so had no idea what he was sitting on.

It may have been large but it was furry and seemed harmless. Rather like a very big rabbit he thought. After thinking for a little while longer he stood up. He looked up and down the length of the bear and then slid down the round stomach. The bear continued to snore. Grum walked to the edge of the trees and rooted around in the undergrowth. Ah ha! He found a piece of branch, thick and heavy that lay half hidden.

Grum picked it up, weighing it with one hand. Yes, it was heavy enough. Then he walked back to the bear and stood just a couple of inches away from its head. He planted his feet slightly apart, held the branch firmly with both hands like a baseball bat and swung it hard. A huge roar of pain and surprise filled the air as the bear woke and
scrambled to its paws. It immediately spied the groblin and bent its head down to only a mere inch away from Grum and roared once more. The roar was even louder this time, it not only filled the clearing but most of the forest for miles around, making animals run for cover and birds take to the air.

Hot bear breath blasted Grum making his eyebrows quiver, and his green skin paled when he saw the bear’s teeth in high definition. He tucked the branch behind his back. “What,” the bear’s angry voice boomed like thunder, “do you think you’re doing?” He sniffed Grum with a large black snout and growled deeply. “Err, nothing,” squeaked Grum. The bear raised a massive paw and with a single swipe Grum flew through the air. He landed with a thump half way up the trunk of a tree and slid slowly down to the ground.

The bear ambled up to him and raised his paw again. All Grum could see were thick ivory-like claws. “I’m sorry,” he squealed. “I didn’t mean to hit you.” The bear growled. Low and menacing.

<end of exert>

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