Beldor the Giant and Nolo the Dwarf were best friends, and that was a mixed blessing for Nolo. It is true that when he went apple picking, it was awfully nice to have someone who could reach the high branches. It is also true that when the terrible flood caused by the Ichi Dragon threatened to sweep away Nolo’s house, his friend Beldor lifted up the entire thing and held it in the air until the water receded. Unfortunately, it is also true that when Beldor put the house back down, he slipped on the muddy ground and crashed into the side of the dwelling he had just helped save. It was not crushed but it does now lean decidedly to the left.
The most trying thing for Nolo, however, wasn’t his friend’s clumsiness but his words. Giants have a well-known tendency to say exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, and Beldor was no exception. Being a giant also meant that everything that he said came out in a booming voice, so that Nolo was never the only one who got to listen to the untimely remarks.
“Why do you have that toy sword in a bag?” rumbled Beldor when Nolo was trying to wrap a present for his nephew’s birthday. “What are you going to do with a toy sword?”
Nolo’s nephew, who lived several blocks away, squealed with joy because his mother would never get him a toy sword. Unfortunately, his mother also heard the announcement and was quite upset. Nolo was forced to return the sword and buy a game of Yahtzee instead.
“She’s very pretty! You should ask her to the dance,” boomed Beldor as the two friends walked past a lovely girl dwarf on the street. Nolo ducked his head but not before everyone nearby turned their heads to stare.
“It’s okay. It was just a puppy,” whispered Beldor when Nolo’s little hound Gerald died. “I’ll get you a new one for Christmas.” Nolo didn’t think anyone heard that one, but he couldn’t help wishing he hadn’t heard it either.
After these experiences and more, Nolo was quite worried the day that Melly said yes to marrying him. It was, of course, the happiest day of his life. Melly was perfect in every way. She had lovely curly hair, could bake the world’s best apple strudel, and wasn’t the least bit bothered about living in a crooked house. Still, the thought of what Beldor would say when he was told made Nolo cringe.
To minimize the embarrassment, Nolo took Beldor way up into the mountains to tell him the good news. When he was quite sure they were out of earshot of anyone else, Nolo made his announcement.
“Congratulations!” said Beldor in a voice that echoed off the mountainsides.
Nolo blinked and waited for the rest. What would it be? An inappropriate joke about his bride-to-be? A question about when the babies would be coming? Something that started with “it’s a good thing she doesn’t know about that time…”?
“When’s the wedding?” blared Beldor.
“Next month,” Nolo answered, bracing himself for joking questions about his hurry.
“That doesn’t give me much time, but I’ll make it work,” Beldor said.
“Make what work?” asked Nolo. He hoped Beldor wasn’t planning something terribly embarrassing, but if he was, he would be sure to blurt the secret, so there would at least be time to talk him out of it before things went to far.
“Time to finish your new house. You can’t take Melly to live in that tippy old house. But don’t worry, I’ve already started on a new one.”
Nolo just stared. Beldor was building him a new house? He felt suddenly ashamed of the way he had been thinking about his friend. All this worry about the things Beldor said when he should have been happy about the things Beldor did.
Nolo smiled up at his friend. “Maybe if I help we can get it done in time.”
Beldor laughed so hard the mountains shook. “You’d just make it slower, friend Nolo. You’re too small to do much, and I’d be sure to trip over you every time I turned around.”
Nolo thought he should be offended but he chuckled instead. What Beldor said was true. The last time they tried to make something together (a boat for those stranded by the flood) Nolo had dropped the heavy boards he was lifting and Beldor had tripped over them and smashed the whole boat to splinters. Nolo considered how many times the uncomfortable things Beldor said were also true.
“Come on, friend,” he said. “Let’s go tell Melly there’s more good news.”
Beldor and Nolo headed down the mountain together, each happy to have such a good friend.
“And I guess we’d better add on a few extra rooms to the house,” Beldor belted out as they approached the village. “You’re going to need space for all those babies coming.”
Nolo just sighed.