The Little Villain That Could (But Could Only Do Good) – Eric Thralby

How much good would the little villain that could?

Some say he would that he could. Others, that he would not wish any good.

But all little villains would be good if they could.

“But I am not good!” said he to the sky.

The sky looked around for the voice. When it saw the little villain, it came down and said, “I bet you would if you could.”

“Not on your life!” said the little villain that could.

“You’re only bad on the outside; you must be good on the in.”

But the little villain ran away from the sky for he had so much evil he hoped he could do. He held that evil inside like gold close to his chest. The sky would take the evil away, and scatter it in the wind. That was sure. The little villain’s eyes turned red with fear.

“I will go to the deepest, darkest place on the earth. And there I will build my dark lair of doom.”

He climbed down into the deepest of pits. “I will kill them and crush them and take all their hope,” the little villain sang to himself as he climbed down the long rope.

But, “What music is this?” said awaking sound sleepers. They rubbed the sleep from their eyes and gathered round the deep pit. “A voice of bright gold,” they said as they gathered in rings. They lowered a basket and bade the little villain crawl in. But the little villain filled it with evil so when they reeled it back up they were cursed.

“I hope you all die for generations or worse,” said the little villain.

They pulled up the basket and found it overspilling with gold.

“Huzzah!” the villagers said. And they ran down the hill screaming of how they would never go hungry again.

Come nightfall, the moon filled the dark pit with an eerie white light. “I will have a word with the moon,” said the villain. The moon came close so the tides churned at the edge of the pit and threatened to spill. “No matter where I go,” he said to the moon, “I cannot be myself.”

“Well why don’t you lie and try to be somebody else?” said the moon.

“I will burn cities and play in the ash,” said the dastardly villain.

“I bet you would if you could,” said the moon.

“I can. And I will!”

“OK,” said the moon. “Go do it. I’ll watch.”

The tides rushed into the pit and raised the villain up and out like a flea from a spout.

“Go to the volcano and ask,” said the moon to the villain.

So the little villain that could, killing each ant that he could, stomped his way up the side of the mountain of fire.

He came to the edge and spoke to the volcano: “I would have the earth suffer! I would have them all beg! From every throat will seer the word ‘mercy!’ And I will smile so wide because, of mercy, I will grant them none.”

Hot red lava bubbled up at the small villain’s toes. The volcano spoke like it was the center of earth: “Would you never do good?”

“Never ever do good.”

“And what if you could?”

“Nope. No. Not a chance.”

“Would you be my friend then?”

The little villain that could did not know what to say.

“You don’t have to be my friend. You don’t have to. But this is for you.”

The volcano gave him a nice looking rock. It was porous and black. It was shaped like a starfish.

“Think about it, OK?” said the volcano.

The little villain that could picked up the rock. The way the rock fit in his fingers, it was like holding a hand in his own.

The little villain that could still was uncertain what he should say, so instead he just nodded.

“I will see you another time then,” said the volcano.

The little villain that could held the black starfish and ran down the slope. What would he do now? What would he do now?

The little villain that could fell to his knees and cried into a hole.

Captain by trade, Cpt. Eric Thralby works wood in his long off-days. He time-to-time pilots the Bremerton Ferry (Bremerton—Vashon; Vahon— Bremerton), while other times sells books on, SellerID: plainpages. He’ll sell any books the people love, strolling down to library and yard sales, but he loves especially books of Romantic fiction, not of risqué gargoyles, not harlequin romance, but knights, errant or of the Table. Eric has not published before, but has read in local readings at the Gig Harbor Candy Company and the Lavender Inne, also in Gig Harbor.

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