What really happened.

I was always rather large for my age. I don’t know why it was; both of my parents were quite small. When I was seven years old, I was as tall as my mother, and passed my father up quite soon after that. It made things a bit difficult since my father had built the house thinking it would only be filled with people near his own height. He never thought he’d have a son almost twice as tall as he was.
If you’re not particularly big, you might think that being larger than everyone else would make things easy in life. That may be true for some, but it wasn’t for me. It just meant that I was a bigger target. My friends around town at first looked to me to be their protector and or champion, but that slowly changed when they would find me out in the meadows instead of pushing other kids around in the town square.
I rather liked the meadows; the grass growing up so high you could hide in it, and the myriad of little insects parading around on the soil and plants like some kind of royal processional. There were rabbits and birds and moles and squirrels, all minding their own business and not even really paying attention to me. I loved being near the animals, but even more I loved the flowers.
One of the worst beatings I ever got was when I was seven. I was walking into the town from being out in the meadow, my arms full of several different bouquets I had plucked and arranged. I hadn’t really thought of what I would do with them all, I just enjoyed making them. Some of the older, bigger boys didn’t think that was what I should be doing with my time however. They let me know by punching and kicking me until I bled from several different places. After that, I never again made the mistake of bringing any of my creations back with me, and I tried not to let anyone see me going in and out of town.
My free time grew more restricted as I got older. Normally a boy follows in his father’s footsteps for a career, and if that had been the case I would have been a quite happy carpenter. But my size made me an obvious candidate for conscription. I was drafted into the army at the ripe age of fourteen; at which point I already towered over most of the men. It was alright at first. Most of the other soldiers respected me for my height and strength. That didn’t last long when we began the training however.
Most of combat training involved running, which I was good at, and practice combat, which I was not. My first day of sparring, everyone avoided me like the plague. Finally near the end of the day however, one brazen older man with a bald head, thick bare arms, and a scar from his cheek to his throat said he’d have a go. The fight ended rather quickly, with me down on the ground pleading with him to move his spear away from my throat. After that things got more difficult.
I never really understood the camaraderie that I would see between some of the other men. They never seemed to be kind to each other. They were always mocking one another, and the closest thing to a hug was a punch on the arm or in the stomach. But they would laugh together at others or each other. My closest friend was a wild dog that I found near the restroom area in the woods one day. At first he was afraid of me, but when I gave him a few pieces of dried meat, he followed me back into the camp. After that he stayed by my bed while I slept, and at the outskirts of the camp during the day, waiting for me to find a few free moments when I could sneak away and play with him. Those times grew fewer and further between when our company got on the move and headed east however.
There was some age-old enemy that we were going off to fight. I didn’t really understand it, because even though I was twenty, I didn’t much care for that sort of thing. When we’d all gather together to hear an inspiring speech, or get some instructions, I was usually thinking of being back at home, or I was being poked and punched so much by the tightly packed crowd that I couldn’t concentrate on what was going on.
As we made our way to the east, I started to grow worried. I knew there would eventually be some sort of fighting, and I didn’t want to be around when it happened. I tried running away one night, but didn’t make it very far. Its hard hiding when you’re over nine feet tall and the only foliage around is short grass and trampled flowers. After my beating, I didn’t try running away again. I figured if I was going to die, it might be easier to be stabbed in a battle than beaten to death by a crowd. Quicker anyway.
After a few weeks of marching, we finally stopped and made a more permanent camp. I kept hearing that the enemy was nearby, but I never got a chance really to see them. That is, until they made me yell at them.
I suppose its a good strategy, and it makes sense if you want to conserve manpower. The general had this idea when he saw me while on the march one day. I wasn’t filled in until a few hours before my performance was to begin. Their idea was that I would go and stand in front of our army and put on a show of being tough and scary, and frighten off the enemy. Sometimes in battles, the opposing generals would send out their champions to fight each other, and whoever's champion was left alive, well that side would declare victory for the battle or the whole war. From what I heard, it rarely actually worked out that way. Usually the opposing force, when seeing their champion cut down, would rush forward, and the battle would engage as normal. I tried to point this out, and explain how I wasn’t all that great of a fighter anyway, but they wouldn’t let me back out. The general’s idea was that I would scare the enemy into submission, because of my size, and then we wouldn’t have to do any fighting at all. Some of the men looked disappointed when they heard that.
There were others however, who didn’t really want to fight. It wasn’t that they didn’t enjoy killing other people, it was more that they didn’t want to die. The night before I was supposed to go out and do all the scaring, I was woken in the middle of the night by a spear butt to the stomach.
“Hey you, you’d better do a good job tomorrow,” they whispered roughly. “‘Cause we’ve got your little dog, and if you don’t we’ll make him howl for days before we kill him.” To emphasize their point, they cut the dog across the back with a spear. They’d roughly hobbled him with thick rope so he couldn’t run.
I didn’t bother pointing out the lapse in logic of their threat. If I didn’t do a good job, there would probably be a rather large battle, and they most likely wouldn’t care about torturing my dog as much as they would care about keeping themselves alive. I thought it prudent to do my best anyway though, for my life as well as that of the dog. I was really getting rather panicky myself at the possibility of my eminent death, so I resolved to be as tough and scary looking as possible, to frighten off the enemy.
Things went rather well the first day. I put on a very gruff voice and some heavy armor, and went out to have a yell. I stood at the top of a hill in front of our ranks. The enemy was across a valley through which ran a beautiful little stream. The commanders had given me a few lines to say, things about defying them, and how I would kill any champion they sent out to fight me. I did my best to sound scary, because I just wanted them all to leave so we could go home. Fortunately they didn’t send anyone out to fight me.

Unfortunately, they didn’t leave either. That was forty days ago, and we’re still here, camped across from them. Every day for the past forty days I’ve gone out and yelled the same thing, and they never send anyone to fight me, but they never start packing up either. They mostly just stand and look at me rather frightened. I think I must be doing a good job, because there’s some tough, battle scarred looking men over there, and even they won’t come out to have a go.
I’m walking out to the field now. My armor weighs almost five thousand shekels, so it is rather a bother to put on every day. I’ve also got a huge spear, and there’s a young man who carries my shield for me. I’ve tried to talk to him, but he doesn’t really want to have anything to do with me. I have, however gotten a little bit more respect from the men around camp since the enemy appears to be so frightened. The ones who are holding my dog told me that if I could frighten the enemy off today, they’d give him back to me. I’m going to try and be extra fierce.
Now I’m out in front of our lines. I’m giving the usual bit about defying their god and how they should send out their champion. The enemy’s lines seem a bit different today; I think I can even hear some of them near the middle laughing. That’s disconcerting. Hold on, somethings going on over there. They’re making way for someone to get though. Why its just a young boy, quite younger than me. He’s making his way down into the valley towards the stream. He’s just got a staff and sling. Still, I’d better say something tough sounding, maybe I can frighten him off. “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” Oh, that was pitiful. Maybe if I curse him by my gods.
He stopped at the stream in the middle of the valley to pick up some stones. Its such a nice stream. There’s a lot of lilies growing nearby, and some other flowers I haven’t seen before. Now he’s coming towards me again. I’ll try the some more cursing. That was a bit better. He seemed a bit taken aback. Now I’ll threaten him personally. “Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” That was better. Not bad at all actually. Maybe it’ll do the trick. No, he’s saying something. I missed the first part, its something about God being on his side. I wonder which one he means. Now he’s saying he’ll give MY carcass to he birds of the air and the beasts of the field. I wish I’d thought of saying “carcass.” He’s saying a bit more about his god, and how he’ll deliver us into the boy’s hands. He’s rather ruddy, and I have to admire his courage. He’s only half my size, but walking towards me with quite a bit of confidence. He must really believe his God can do amazing things.
I just heard a dog yelp from behind my lines. Probably meant to be an encouragement. Now the men are yelling. They’re saying I should rush the boy. Well maybe it’ll work, maybe when he sees me charging him, he’ll turn around and run. He looks pretty determined, but its my only chance. I don’t want to have to fight him. Maybe I can just nock him over and pin him down or something.
I’m running at him. Blast this armor, I can hardly move in it. He’s put a rock in his sling, and is starting to twirl it around. No fear, I’ve got a rather thick helmet. I’m getting tired very quickly, trying to run in this armor. Oh, I’ve tripped and there goes my hat. He keeps spinning the sling. Looks like he’s about to throw! I’d better duck.


Anonymous said...

what happens at the end?

Randall said...

He dies. Who said that?

Anonymous said...

awww, you couldn't come up with a happier ending??

Randall said...

I didn't make up the story, its true. I just took some creative liberties with it.

Karen said...

Hm. I've never had that kind of sympathy for Goliath.