The Battle of Gen’s Grove

As Spek and Stil walked away from the place where they met Big Head, Laughing Dog was bounding along with them and Hawk was circling above. Hawk, from her high vantage point, saw a small army of person-like creatures rise up out of the sand where Big Head had dissolved. They had red flags and banners. They went off in the direction of Gen’s grove.

Hawk flew down and landed on Stil’s shoulder. Stil, who usually followed Spek, immediately changed direction and began walking back toward Gen’s grove. Spek was puzzled for a moment, but followed. He sensed there was trouble at Gen’s grove. He began to realize that maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned Gen to Big Head. Hawk flew off again. Laughing Dog ran ahead of them.

The sand stretched on ahead of them. They had walked a long way since they had met Gen. Spek hoped nothing bad would happen to Gen. He wanted to hurry, but Stil always walked the same pace.

Laughing Dog disappeared in the distance. Laughing Dog was hurrying.

After what seemed like a long while, they saw green on the horizon. After more walking, they heard Laughing Dog barking. Soon they came to the edge of the grove. Gen had put up signs that said “No Trespassing.” Spek guessed that Fals had taught her to write and make signs. But the grove was not peaceful like before. Person-like creatures with Big Head’s face, but with small bodies were running all over, trampling the bushes, muddying the water, chasing the frogs, and making lots of noise. They had red flags with Big Head’s face. Gen stood next to the water screaming at them, while Laughing Dog barked and tried to bite them. Stil walked into the center of the pool, turned his face to the sky, and stretched out his arms.

The person-creatures froze. Everything was still.

Spek walked up to the nearest person-creature, who was holding a red Big Head flag on a stick. The flag fluttered in the wind. “Why are you trampling Gen’s grove?” he asked. “The signs say, no trespassing.”

“She is a friend to you. Your other friend destroyed Big Head. We are the Big Head army,” said the person-creature, though it had trouble moving its mouth. “Also, we cannot read the sign, so it meant nothing to us. It had no power.”

“Stil has power.” said Spek, who was beginning to realize that his friend had a lot of power. “He can destroy you too.”

The person-creature said nothing to that. Everything was still except for frogs hopping. There seemed to be a lot of frogs.

Gen walked over to Spek. “This is all your fault,” she said. Spek groaned inside. It was partly his fault. He should not have mentioned Gen to Big Head. But how could he have known what would happen?

Hawk was circling. She saw something approaching. She landed on Stil’s shoulder, but he did not change.

“I can write,” Gen said. “But writing is no good against ignoramuses like these. They can’t read. And you can read, but here you are in my grove again, with more creatures.”

“I am sorry Gen,” said Spek. “I did not know this would happen. Perhaps Stil will destroy these creatures and leave you in peace.” But Stil did nothing.

Laughing Dog barked and they saw that someone else had arrived. It was Fals, carrying a bundle of sticks. “I think I have a solution,” said Fals. It unrolled a flag from one of the sticks, a green flag with a picture of Gen. Fals went up to the person-creature that Spek had spoken to and said, “I will trade this green flag for your red one. Green is a less angry color. Then you will not be destroyed.”

“Do you speak for Stil?” asked the person-creature. “Can you guarantee that Stil will accept this bargain?”

“No,” said Fals. “Stil and I have nothing to do with one another. But I think this will save you.”

After some hesitation, the person-creature accepted the green flag. All but one of the other flag carriers did too.  One of them just furled its red flag and hid it.

Fals said, “Now you are not the Big Head army. You are Gen’s army. You have a new leader. You must do as she says.”

The hawk flew from Stil’s shoulder to Spek’s. Spek suddenly knew what to say. He said, “Now you are Gen’s army, but you are not needed now. Sleep in the sand until she calls for you. When she needs you, she will say this poem aloud to command you.”

“Flitter flatter birds flutter. Flowers wave their petals like waving bird wings. Sticks are falling from the trees. As the leaves paddle and come down. Arise now and defend Gen and the Grove.”

The Gen army bowed and retreated to the edge of the grove, where they melted into the sand.

Spek turned to Gen and said, “Now you have an army to command and defend you. You don’t need us any more, so we will leave.”

“You caused the problem that you solved, so I am not too grateful,” said Gen. “But you did help, and that is something.”

Stil folded his arms and began to walk out of the grove. Hawk began circling. Spek began following Stil and called to Laughing Dog. Laughing Dog barked once, but did not move. Laughing Dog wanted to stay with Gen. Spek looked to Gen and she smiled. Laughing Dog stayed.


Thanks to Freyja for the summoning poem.