The engineer and the dwarfs
" thought Karl) we will believe all you say, even if it seems the greatest nonsense to us. After all birds fly, bats fly and fairies fly, why should not ships and trains fly?" said the spokesman, who, I must tell you, was a relation of King Reinhold in the Taunus Mountains and was proud of belonging to a royal family.
Karl called him Mr Query, because he was so fond of asking questions, but so slow to take in a new fact, as indeed were all the dwarfs.
"You promised us Christmas Tree not to harm us," said Mr Query, reproachfully.
"Well, I didn't hurt anyone, did I, but how about your treatment of me? That wasn't in the contract either," said Karl.
Meanwhile Karl looked about him curiously. He had never been to dwarfland before, and might never have the chance of visiting it again, and he did not wish to lose the opportunity of seeing all he could.
"Are there any more of you?" he asked the dwarfs.
"I should think so," they answered. "Hundreds and thousands of us live under this mountain."
Karl noticed passages running in all directions, and low caves which seemed to be dwellings, many of them richly ornamented and furnished. In one of these caves he observed a looking-glass, and wondered which of the dwarf men trimmed his beard before it. He met a great many little men scurrying about, who cast anxious glances at the giant who had strayed among them. Karl had frequently to stoop; the ceilings seemed very low to him, although they were high enough compared to the dwarf men.
"Where are the female dwarfs?" he asked abruptly.
"Dwarfs have no womenfolk," Mr Query replied. "We did away with them long, long ago!"
"That was rather rough on them, eh?" said Karl.
"Well it happened so many centuries ago that we have forgotten all about it, and so are unable to gratify your curiosity. Perhaps if you care for antiquities and were to study the pictures on the walls, you might find out."
"Not my line," said Karl shortly.
"As we have no women," Mr Query continued, "we never quarrel and have no differences of opinion.