My family became refugees the day that the giants chopped down our home. It was the last tree in what used to be a majestic rain forest. With our tree home gone, we could no longer be tree dwellers. Also, famine ravaged the land. My family was desperate for food and shelter. On that fateful day, my father made the shocking decision to move our family of nine into the beautiful teapot on a dusty shelf in the home of the old giantess whom we named Ancient Giantess. He reasoned that since the giants were the ones who chopped down all our tree homes, destroyed our land, and caused the famine, they should be the ones supporting our family.
During that month-long journey to our new dwelling, my father presented his case daily in order to convince us, and himself, that he was making the right decision. He told us that the teapot was in a room which hadn’t been used in years. He assured us that the giantess lived alone, had failing eyesight, was almost deaf, and rarely entertained guests. He reminded us that it was a well-known fact among all the little people that her house was far from other giants. Stories circulated among the little people about how she was an excellent cook, kept a huge garden, had a stock pile of food in her pantry, and mountains of food in her cellar. My father would remind us of those stories and then go on to say that this teapot, high on a shelf in a back unused room, was the perfect refuge for our starving family of nine. I heard these reassurances from my father over and over again on our long and difficult journey. It sounded fun and adventurous to my six siblings, but Mom was not convinced. At sixteen, as the oldest child and daughter I was worried about the danger and not convinced either.
Often during Dad’s daily ramblings I would think back to how worried Mom looked before we left. How, despite her many misgivings, she threw caution to the wind after she looked deep into the hollow, hungry eyes of my brothers, sisters, and myself. She had squared her shoulders in determination and said that sometimes one had to do things that were out of the ordinary in order to survive. My father took that as her blessing and we began our journey. Mom was as concerned about this move as I. Whenever I looked into her eyes, I saw the worry and fear.
This morning as we neared the Ancient Giantess’s home, dad stopped, looked at each one of us, and one last time tried to reassure us by saying how absolutely certain he was that we were going be safe. He went into a long diatribe during which he reiterated all the points he’d made during our journey. When he finished his rambling speech, he stood tall like an admiral leading his tiny army and urged us onward. My brothers and sisters could barely contain their excitement and enthusiasm. Mom and I braced ourselves for the unknown.
My siblings saw this as a great adventure but I was different. As I stood on the mantel behind the mechanical toy clown gazing at my new home, I shivered. The house was all closed in. A prison within a prison… What kind of home was a porcelain teapot on a shelf with a hard white ceiling for a sky and dust on the ground instead of soft fresh grass? You gotta be kidding me!
At least I wouldn’t go to bed hungry. Would the free food and shelter be worth the danger of living in a beautiful prison inside a greater prison be worth the danger? What would happen if the giantess had guests and decided to use our new home to serve them? What if she caught one of us taking food from her cellar? Did giants eat little people? For the first time in my sixteen years of living, I questioned my father’s wisdom. Since I was a dutiful, obedient daughter, I picked up my bags, squared my shoulders, and followed my family into the beautiful porcelain prison, and shut the door behind me.