The engineer and the dwarfs
"Now if you had a lift!"
"What's that?" asked the dwarfs eagerly.
"It's a little room that goes up and down when you pull a wire rope."
"We don't believe it, we don't believe it," said the sceptical gnomes again.
"It's true nevertheless; now wouldn't it be fun to have a ride in it? I could fix that up too, you know, if you gave me time and helped a bit yourselves," said Karl.
"Really you poor things," he went on, "You do not seem to have heard much of modern technical progress down here in this rabbit-burrow. I beg your pardon I'm sure"—as they looked displeased again—"Now I am really curious to know—have you heard of Zeppelin?"
"Zeppelin, no!—is he the King of Germany?" said the dwarf who had been in the chair.
"Ha! ha!—King of Germany—well he is nearly, in some people's eyes," said Karl. "He has built an airship; it is the most wonderful of all new inventions, it floats in the air like a boat does in the water."
"Close by it passes, by soft breezes fanned,
Like a great steamboat straight from fairyland."
he went on in an enthusiastic way. "You can go for a ride in it any day in Frankfurt, providing the weather is fine and you can afford to pay £15!"
"Just listen to him, just listen to him!" said the dwarfs. "We don't believe a word you have said. You are imposing on our credulity, you bad man," and thereupon they flew at him and began to beat him with their clubs, which were heavily weighted, and to pinch him with their long fingers.
It might have gone hardly with him, but quick as thought Karl flashed out the little revolver from his pocket. They seemed to know the meaning of that modern toy; for they crouched back trembling, and not daring to move.
"Now stop it, will you," he said, "or I shall have to shoot you, and take you home with me to be stuffed or put into the National Anthropological Museum. They would give me a good price for you," he said musingly—"they would think you were The Missing Link."
"O please, Mr Hammerstein, don't shoot us—("however did the little chaps find out my name!