A Big Tale

There is a cave, deep in a forest, that has some unusual paintings on its long walls.

It is an unusually large cave; tall enough to stand four men on each other's heads, wide enough for them to lie down twice, and deep enough to hold hundreds of the ugly paintings that mar its dark walls - and it had not been made by the forces of nature, but by magic.

The forest is unusual too. It is a place were magical creatures lurk hidden from the eyes of man; living their lives away from the day-to-day grind of Muggles, and the more extraordinary lives of Wizards.

Its very name expresses what most think of it, both inside and out. It is the Forbidden Forest.

The cave doesn't have a name that anybody would recognise. The sole inhabitant refers to it in a guttural grunt that may, with a stretch of imagination, be translated as "home".

The paintings too are extraordinary, for they tell a tale.

You, who are reading this, may not think that unusual, but you are familiar with the telling of stories by writing them down in words and sentences. The creature that drew them though, had only the vaguest of notions about literacy. The idea that he could draw something that had meaning was a mental breakthrough of enormous proportions; for he was a giant, and not a bright one at that.

Grawp was almost a dwarf of a giant. Standing a mere sixteen feet tall, he had never been anything more than a nuisance to other giants, who were notorious for considering everything a nuisance anyway. As such, they had never taken the time to teach him anything more constructive than to do menial tasks, or be beaten severely.

He had lived his whole life in a small valley where almost every other giant in existence had been forced to reside, a situation that giants found intolerable. They were an ornery race, and putting too many of them in on place resulted in so much fighting and killing, that the race was on the verge of extinction.

Grawp had survived only because he was too small to be considered a threat by any other giant. He never challenged another giant, he never stole their food or sleeping place, and he never even got too close to any of them.

It was a horrible way to live, but it was all he had known.

Then came Hagrid, Grawp's half-brother.

As a half-wizard, Hagrid was much smaller than Grawp, but he was relatively well educated, much more intelligent, and most important of all, could use magic.

Hagrid rescued Grawp, against Grawp's will, and took him to the forest where he spent many months taming the wild giant.

Grawp bowed his head when he remembered how he had fought his midget brother. Every blow he had struck, and there had been many, now caused him to feel sorry when he thought of them. It was a sign of, in just over a year, how much Grawp had changed. By taking him away from the overcrowded valley that had been Grawp's home, and by spending much time and patience, Hagrid had taught Grawp more about the world than almost any other giant alive today.

Not to say that it was that much, but it was impressive.

Grawp cared for his compassionate brother more than he had cared for anything in his whole life. He cared for him more than he cared for food, which was saying something. That was why Grawp had drawn the pictures. They were the tale of how Hagrid had saved Grawp, and they were a message to Hagrid telling him what Grawp was going to do.

It was an astounding leap of intellect that started Grawp drawing the pictures. Hagrid had first shown him some tiny little pictures and tried to explain about them, but Grawp could not remember them all, and their different meanings confused him; but the idea had stayed. He enjoyed looking at the pictures Hagrid regularly brought him, and it was only a short step for Grawp to want to draw his own.

He started with a burnt stick from his fire. It had been a good tool, but Grawp soon tired of it, especially when it kept breaking and he had to get another one from the fire, which usually resulted in burnt fingers.

He tried different things as tools, but soon found the red he squeezed out of animals he caught did not stay red for long, and you had to squeeze many them to make anything the right size. Painting with a dead elk was not easy, and he would sometimes forget what he was doing and eat his brush instead.

Trees and plants where not much better, although it was often fun to pull them out of the ground anyway.

Hagrid got very excited when he saw what Grawp was doing, and brought him lots of paints and brushes, but even the biggest was barely a splinter in his hands. The paint quickly became a dull grey colour, since Grawp could not understand he had to wash the brushes between colours or use a different brush, and he often ended just tipping the whole tin over his, or Hagrid's, head.

Eventually, Hagrid and Grawp found that some rocks made different colours when scraped on the walls of the cave. They searched the forest and found dozens of small boulders that a man would be unable to lift, but Grawp found a handy size.

Life away from the overcrowded tribe had change him. With time to think, and somebody to teach him, he had made huge strides in becoming civilised, but was still far from being acceptable company to humans, and most other creatures for that matter.

It didn't matter though. So long as Grawp had plenty to draw with, food nearby, and Hagrid to talk to, he was well contented.

Grawp was happy.

Then had come the terrible blow that had made Grawp realise just how much he had changed. One of the tiny little people that Hagrid had introduced him to had been killed, Dumbledore.

Grawp had liked Dumbledore, he had not been afraid, and had spent time talking to Grawp and showing him lots of magic. Grawp, like all giants, loved magic, even though they could not do it themselves. Hagrid brought him lots of magical things, like the fire that never went out, and the little pictures that moved all the time, so he really enjoyed it when Dumbledore had shown him more magic.

Dumbledore had made Grawp's cave for him, and Grawp like his cave almost as much as he liked Hagrid. There was even a few painting on the walls of Dumbledore, although few people would have recognised him.

It was the effect his death had on Hagrid that had disturbed Grawp the most.

He knew death; it had been all around him for all of his life, but he did not know grief. When Hagrid had come to Grawp, distraught at the loss, Grawp had first felt confused, but strangely, not angry.

Grawp had felt Hagrid's own pain like it was his own. He had not understood how this could be, or even what it was he was feeling, but he knew he was different to what he had been when Hagrid had first met him.

Grawp was sad.

Hagrid had gone away for a little while then. Days passed before he came back with some new coverings for Grawp to wear. They were uncomfortable, and Grawp had torn them off several times before he remembered that Hagrid wanted him to keep them on.

Then they had gone to a strange place filled with many humans and other creatures, but all Grawp knew was that Hagrid was sad, and he was sad in turn because of it. He did what Hagrid told him to do, and tried his best to comfort his brother, but he did not have any idea what to do.

Afterwards they had returned to the cave and Hagrid helped him paint a new picture of the Wizard. While they were painting, Hagrid had tried to explain to Grawp about the people who were trying to make everybody sad. He talked and drew pictures and made Grawp understand there were people who wanted to take Hagrid away from him forever. Grawp didn't like that, he didn't like that one bit.

Grawp was angry.

If Hagrid were taken away from him, there would be nobody left to talk to. The creatures of the forest never talked to him, even when he shook them lots.

Some of the creatures yelled at him and stung him with little sticks, but they were too fast and too cunning for him to capture, with their four little legs and short tails.

There were others that looked a bit the same, but they never talked, not even the ones that flew. Luckily, they all tasted good; otherwise Grawp would have been wasting a lot of time collecting them (since they were no good to paint with).

Some creatures tried to bite him, the ones with lots of legs. He often heard them talking, but never to him. Not even when he didn't eat them straightaway, but kept them in his cave for a few days. They didn't taste good either, and Hagrid usually got upset at him and let go the ones that were still moving their horrid little legs.

Hagrid, and the people Hagrid brought with him, were the only ones that talked to Grawp, and the thought of never seeing Hagrid again made Grawp feel strange.

Grawp was scared.

It was then that Grawp had an idea that bordered on genius. The only other creatures that had ever talked to Grawp were the giants he had lived with before Hagrid took him away. He could feel which way he had to go to get to them; it was in his blood. All he had to do was go and bring one of them back with him, just like Hagrid had done! Then he would always have someone to talk to.

The idea of having another giant to talk to seized Grawp's imagination like he seized unfortunate creatures after he had forgotten to eat for a few days. As time passed, and the idea began to develop into a plan, he discovered that he was feeling something else.

Grawp was lonely.

He knew Hagrid would not let him go. He was not sure why, but he got the impression from Hagrid's stories, that other giants were some of the one's doing things that made Hagrid sad. So he did not say anything to Hagrid, but sat thinking about how he would bring a giant back.

Most giants were too strong to be forced, Hagrid had used magic to keep Grawp from running away, and he didn't want a giant who might hurt him, or Hagrid, so it had to be a little one.

The only giants that were as small as Grawp were the young ones, and the female ones. So Grawp would go to were the giants were and find a young female to bring back.

He had become good at capturing things, otherwise he would have ran out of food weeks ago; and had even learned from Hagrid how to hide when he wanted to sneak up on them. It would be no problem at all for him to capture a female, unless Hagrid came looking for him again.

Then occurred the most astounding leap of imagination the world had ever seen; Grawp decided to leave Hagrid a message.

The paintings were crude, and nobody unfamiliar with Grawp's work would ever have been able to understand it, but painted on the walls of the deep cave, in pictures twenty foot high, was a message that many men would recognise.

Translated it read:

I have gone to find a girlfriend. Back late. Don't wait up.

Grawp was brave.

Finite Incantatem