A Gnobs Tree must always provide a shade
For the baby Minotaurs when it sprouts in the Spring.
For neither dale nor glade
Will provide the peace and quiet Gnobs brings.
-- A quote by Sir Thumbledore Giddy --
Gnobs stood in the position he took every spring when the baby Minotaurs sprouted from the horns of their mothers in twos and threes, then were planted in the ground until they could become big enough to walk on their own. His green skin and large red lips were blended perfectly into the tree form he had shape shifted into for the occasion.
Giddy leaned against his pal. He was a knight of King Edward's Court and a very unique individual. His armor was his real skin. Only his face was made of flesh. Everything else was not.
Giddy liked the Gnobs Tree look that Gnobs had assumed. Usually he took a shape that could be so outrageous it was frightening, or so crazy you couldn't stop laughing, like the time he had a dragon growing from each of his fingers who fought with each other, or the time he turned his nose into a licorice stick to tease a giant. That hadn't worked out too well for either of them once the giant caught hold of Gnobs nose, he didn't want to let go.
Only quick thinking on Giddy's part saved the day, but it had cost him a day's wages to purchase the muffins that finally coaxed the giant away from Gnobs nose.
Right now at that moment Gnobs body was made of a nice, rough-looking bark of red and blue shades, but was soft enough not to hurt the scalp of a tender child should they decide to climb him, which they always did after a few days. He looked up into Gnobs face, which was made of wood and fresh sprouts of leaves and tiny branches, with eyes that were hooded with whorls of deep burnt wood, so that he had a kind of prosaic look, or perhaps more that of a wistful poet about the burst forth in the song of words that they were borne to bear forth to the world.
"I'm thirsty." Gnobs complained.
Out the window went Giddy's wistful thoughts.
"I'll get you some water."
"Not for thattttt!" Gnobs immediately uttered.
"Then for what?"
Gnobs looked down at his feet which were wide roots above the ground and against which dozens of baby Minotaurs sprouted, the Mommy Minotaurs tucked next to them to keep them warm and happy.
"You want to be cuddled?"
"Why not?" Gnobs responded.
"But you're not a minotaur!"
"I have feelings."
"Keep them." Giddy warned. "You'll be through with your job on the morrow."
"But who will hug me then?"
Giddy sighed. "Gnobs, I will hug you."
"Oh will you?" Gnobs cried out, causing some of the baby Minotaurs to begin to cry.
Gnobs immediately sprouted parts of himself into baby Minotaur dolls which made cute sounds. The Mommy Minotaurs hugged them to their children and they became quiet again.
"How long until tomorrow?" Gnobs asked when the kids grew quiet again.
"Oh at least a day." Giddy said with a twinkle in his eye.
Gnobs scowled at Giddy. "You're teasing me!"
"Yes. Yes. I am." Giddy proclaimed. "It's usually you...if you remember...that is always teasing me!"
"Oh." Gnobs said, his tree face drooping with sadness. "I'm a badddd boy."
Giddy thumped his friend's barky skin and shook his head. "Not bad. Just a bit over the top sometimes."
Gnobs brightened. "So you'll still hug me?"
"Only if you behave."
"I'll behave. I'll behave." Gnobs declared and shut his eyes.
"Why are you going to sleep. There's still a whole day ahead of us." Giddy announced.
"Because if I go to sleep now tomorrow will come faster."
Giddy laughed. "Oh Gnobs. Time will move the same no matter what we do."
"But what else am I to do?" Gnobs complained. "I'm stuck here now."
"Remember Gnobs. You're the one that started this tradition."
"Oh. You're right." Gnobs said, remembering his first time, which was three years ago, soon after he had met Giddy and befriended him.
"It seems like only yesterday." Gnobs said.
"Time flies." Giddy agreed. "Especially when you're busy."
Then Giddy clapped his metallic skinned hands over his mouth, which along with his eyes nose and face, were the only parts of him that weren't metal. "Whoops!"
Gnobs began to cry.
The baby Minotaurs began to cry.
The Mommy Minotaurs made grunting alarm sounds. The father Minotaurs came running across the wide meadow from the river where they had been bathing, thinking something horrible had happened.
"Now look and see what you've done!" Giddy scalded Gnobs.
"But you told me time flies and it's not flying at all, because I'm not busy. Not even a little."
Giddy looked at the charging Minotaurs, who were huffing and puffing curls of white smoke as they came to what they thought was the danger of their alarmed spouses and children. Giddy had to think of something. Fast. Really fast or it was going to be a disaster!
Giddy's heart churned a moment in his chest and then he brightened. "I love you, Gnobs!" He said gently, hugging the Gnobs tree, which looked so much like a gigantic frog sprouting bark, branches and trees.
Gnobs big eyes widened and he used a branch hand to wipe away the tears.
"I love you too, Giddy!"
And so Giddy learned a lesson that day. Careful what you say. Very careful.