Forest Grump

Granthos, the troll, hoisted the tree trunk to his shoulder and with a guttural noise, raised it overhead. One-two-three. Granthos pumped the trunk with his right arm several times, to a total of eight repetitions, and then, with the grace of a ballerina, he lowered the trunk to the ground.

Wiping his granite-like hands on his workout loincloth, he rested his hands on his hips for a moment. Standing 7 feet tall and weighing 800 pounds, Granthos had always been short and skinny compared to his more athletic siblings. Even his sister, Marthos, was taller than he was–something she had reminded of him of every opportunity she had. “Hey Granthos,” she would say, “Can you reach this rock? Hah! Well, I can!” And other similar remarks.

But Granthos was not an ordinary troll–he had dreams of greatness. While his siblings were throwing rocks at each other and yelling loudly and scaring travelers passing through the forest, Granthos had discovered his one true passion: bodybuilding. Inspired by the greatest troll bodybuilder of all–Arnos Boneshaker–Granthos eagerly learned all he could from Arnos Boneshaker’s TV show, Building YOUR Boneshaker Body.

Boneshaker was a giant of a man–10 feet tall and 1200 pounds, but he talked emphatically about how he had once been a “TINY weakling.”

“Once, I had arms like small rocks,” he would say, while doing bicep curls with an Oak that must have weighed at least 400 stones. “But then one day, I said to myself. I am TIRED of being weak. This stuff is for sissies. So I started to train, and I trained harder and harder, and I was consistent. That was the key. Anyone can do it, but you have to SEE your goal and then pump YOURSELF up. I committed to this path, and now–” he said, pausing as he hefted one arm and flexed his bicep into a granite ball, “I have biceps like BOULDERS and am the champion of MANY bodybuilding competitions.”

When Granthos heard this, his whole life suddenly became clear before him. He knew what he wanted to do; he knew what he must do.




Granthos bellowed out the numbers as he squatted, the trunk of a large fir tree spread across his back. His legs strained under the exertion–sometimes his legs would cramp, and they would become as immovable as the mountain in whose shadow he lifted. In such situations, he would fall clumsily to the ground, bellowing out a string of troll-ish profanities. But today he felt strong enough to complete the set: eight repetitions.

Pushing into a standing position for the last repetition, Granthos roared and threw the tree to the ground. It crashed into the undergrowth, startling some doves that fluttered away. Then he sat down to rest. Nearby, a stream of water gurgled, and Granthos reached over and scooped a draught of water from the stream, then ladled it into his mouth.

Granthos’s stomach growled–he could use a snack. Just then, from behind a clump of trees to his left, he heard whispering voices. Leaning towards the copse and concentrating, Granthos made out the faint conversation.

“We need to run! Did you see him–he must have pulled that tree right out of the ground, then threw it away like it was a toothpick! Plus–you heard him grunting and bellowing. He’s feeling grumpy today, so it would be very dangerous to bother him.”

Granthos recognized from the high, nervous patter of the voice that it was a human being. Grumpy? thought Granthos. I’m not grumpy. I’m feeling PUMPED.

But, thought Granthos, licking his lips. Now that I think about it, it is time for my post-workout meal.

The End.