Day 43: Galumphing through the Forest

Fleapeople hail from Oaken, a world blanketed entirely by massive forests. Different types of trees grow in the wide landscapes, and you can find varied peoples and wildlife living in the many layers of the world. From the forest floor to the branches to the treetops to the hollows of stumps, creatures big and small make their homes wherever they can survive.

Since Fleapeople are small and mostly invisible, they can afford to live on the ground without being noticed by other groundwalkers. And if they are noticed, the dogs they tame and ride provide for great bodyguards.

But a fleaperson named Jugg didn’t like riding dogs. The animals were smelly, itchy, and often mistook the pudgy Jugg as a play toy when they could find him. He had to wear extra padding in his overalls just to keep from being crushed in a playful mutt’s jaws.

He always thought it was silly to be invisible and yet ride a loud, easily-seen thing like a dog out into the wilds. Sure they were faster, but they also needed to be doted on, fed, scratched, and played with. And if a dog didn’t want to go deeper into the forest, you had no choice but to turn around and head back home.

Jugg was an explorer. He wanted to go farther than any fleaperson had before. His village, Precipice, was backed against a giant cliff, which the villagers could climb down and hide should a hungry galumphant come stomping through. But what if something came up the cliff? Carnivorous birds, or tunneling mole monsters? They needed a backup. And so far, nowhere nearby was going to cut it.

So Jugg took off, dogless, into the wilds, hoping to find a new home. Without a big doggy target making his presence known, he’d be invisible. Free to travel as far as he needed. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, one thing was that a fleaperson’s nose was nowhere near as keen as a dog’s. In fact, they could hardly smell at all. Jugg found himself wandering into bogs and tar pits and other unpleasant places, which nearly cost him his boots, if not his life. He lost supplies by tripping over brambles and pinecones, which a riding dog would have stepped over without issue. And he never even considered that, just because he was invisible to the eye, didn’t mean he was invisible to the nose.

And galumphants have very big noses.



Today’s three random prompt categories were, “A forest world,” “Fleapeople,” and “What could possibly go wrong?”

Yes, fleapeople again. Why not? I kind of love their weird, dog-riding, foresty adventures. And now I think I’m going to add “galumphant” to my prompt categories list. I’m picturing the body of a huge Gollum from Lord of the Rings, with the head of an elephant. Freaky, but kind of cute.

– H.



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