Of all the girls her age, and even many of the ones younger, Phoebe was the shortest. She was also the rounded. You would think by now people would know that what size you are makes no difference as far as what you are capable of, but even so the people of her village did not expect anything from her.
Phoebe lived in a village of giant slayers. There lived in the forests around the land fearsome giants who wreaked havoc on the towns and villages: stomping on buildings, pulling up bridges, and blowing their noses on sheets drying in the wind. Worst of all they would eat up the gardens and fields, the cows and sheep and occasionally, if they could catch one, a human.
The people of Phoebe’s village were the biggest, strongest, manliest and womanliest of all the people in the land, so it was their job to slay the giants.
Now Phoebe had learned long ago to pay foolishness no mind and she knew it was foolishness that just because of her size, she could not slay giants. She was not tall or quick, she could not wield the large swords of steel; although she was pretty good with a bow and arrow. Arrows, however, were too small to pierce the thick skin of giants. The one thing Phoebe was exceptional at was dancing. She could ‘slay’ any challenger in a dance off.
Phoebe danced first thing in the morning when she got out of bed, she danced over bowls of mac and cheese, she danced at school and at the park, and sometimes she stayed up past her bedtime just to dance.
The people of her village found it amusing and her family was a little embarrassed, but for the most part those silly people of her village paid her no mind. They didn’t have much use for dancing.
Occasionally someone might try to keep up with her when she danced, but they always ended up defeated before too long. No one could spin or heal turn or grapevine or moonwalk or even pirouette quite like her. The people of the village called her the ‘Dance Slayer’ behind her back, but she knew. They meant it to be a mean joke, but Phoebe accepted the title with grace and pride.
One day Phoebe’s mother sent her to fetch produce, meat and bread from the neighboring village. In their village, since everyone was busy either slaying giants, learning to slay giants or sharpening their swords of steel, they had no time for growing food, tending livestock or baking breads. As thanks for keeping their lives giant free, the neighboring villages and towns kept them will fed for free. Since no one thought Phoebe was good for much else on account of her shortness and roundness, she was usually sent to fetch more food whenever they were running low.
She took her hand cart and archery bag and headed on the road. The woods around Phoebe’s village were considered safe because no giants would get too close to where the giant slayers lived. Plus, they had no gardens, fields or livestock to eat. Phoebe could come and go in safety, but she carried her bow and arrow just in case. As she would go, she would dance, sometimes handling the cart with just one hand like it was her partner. She would sometimes practice salsa, or maybe the running man or cabbage patch or some other dances. She was determined to be the best at all kinds of dance styles.
About midway through her journey a large greenish looking man giant with a yellow booger hanging from his nose stepped into the road right in front of Phoebe. She froze mid box-step, unsure of what to do, she knew she could not outrun it on her short, round legs. As the giant began to reach for her all she could think to do was floss. The giant stopped with his hand inches from her head and looked at her confused. He scratched his head with his other hand.
“You try,” she yelled up at him, gaining confidence and flossing a little slower so he could see how it was done.
The giant stood up straight and put his hands to his sides then tried to swing his hips and hands as Phoebe was doing, but he got so confused he ended up punching himself in the stomach.
“How about this then?” asked Phoebe and she began to cha-cha. The giant looked carefully at her feet for a moment then tried to imitate. He looked like he might get it for a second but ended up tripping over his feet and falling hard to the ground like a large Redwood tree that has just been chopped down. He fell so hard that he lay on the ground totally knocked out. Phoebe couldn’t help but laugh, she knew it was a little rude, but to be fair he was going to eat her. She didn’t want to leave him laying there where he might awaken and track her down or wait for her to pass by again so he could eat her.
She had an idea. She found some rope in her cart and tied one end to the end of an arrow which she then pounded into the ground with a rock near the giant’s side. Then she took another arrow, tied the other end of the rope to it and shot it over the chest of the giant. Running to the other side, she pulled the rope tight and hammered it into place as well. Phoebe continued this process until she ran out of rope, then hoping it would keep the giant secure, she danced back to her village as quickly as she could electric slide.
“I have slayed a giant!” Phoebe shouted as she got back to the village square where a group of fellow villages were out practicing their sword drills on some hay bales. They all stared at her for a second then burst out laughing.
“I did,” she said, stomping her feet and preceded to tell them the story of her short-lived dance-off with the large greenish, boogery giant. As soon as she finished the tale it was clear her fellow villagers believed her because they wasted no time in running off down the road towards where the giant lay.
Of course, Phoebe could not keep up, so she followed slowly behind figuring none of the others would be considerate enough to bring the cart back which she had left behind in her hurry.
By the time she reached the spot where she had slayed the giant, he was gone, the villagers too and all that remained was the cart. She decided she may as well finish her task and continued onto the next village for food. Afterall, the other villagers were sure to be extra hungry after they finished taking care of the large green, boogery giant.
Here’s how a giant was disposed of: usually when slaying giants the giants would be dead so they would drag the bodies to the valley of dragons. This served two purposes, first it got rid of the body and second it kept the well-fed dragons from venturing from their valley to also wreak havoc on the villages and towns. If a giant was captured alive or injured, but not mortally, then they would take it to the land beyond the desert. It was a surprisingly short trip, but the giants were scared of sand and would not leave the desert oasis once they were put there.
When Phoebe reached the neighboring village and made her way to the market stalls, the vendors all sang out their hellos. They knew her well since she was usually the one to make the trip. She was also their favorite of all the giant slayers.
“Why are you do late, Phoebe,” called Sasha, a kindly old woman who sold pecans and berries.
“I slayed a giant on the road here, but I did not use a sword and I did not spill a single drop of its blood,” she replied.
“You did?” called Mark, the fish monger across the way, he sounded skeptical.
“How?” asked a little girl with pig tails whom Phoebe recognized but did not know her name.
“I danced,” Phoebe said. The villagers all knew Phoebe was the best dancer around, but they still looked shocked.
“Giants can dance?” A crowd was beginning to form around her and she wasn’t sure who had asked the question, but the crowd all looked curious so she explained.
“No, they can’t. Or at least this one couldn’t. He tried to do the cha-cha but tripped over his feet and fell so hard he was knocked out cold.
“Incredible,” said Sasha looking at Phoebe proudly.
“Then what?” asked a little boy.
Phoebe explained how she had tied up the giant using her bow, arrow and a bit of rope and how she assumed the people from her villagers were at that moment dragging the giant off to the oasis land beyond the desert.
The villagers congratulated her, shook her hand, hugged her and a few girls even smaller than herself asked for an autograph. They filled her cart to the brim and Phoebe practically floated home with pride, dancing all the way.
When she reached her own village there were more congratulations, handshakes and hugs, but not as enthusiastically. Most said it was a feat not likely to be repeated. They said the large greenish, boogery giant was likely very stupid, that would explain why he had wondered so close to a village of renown giant slayers.
Phoebe, however, was certain she could slay again. In the weeks following she was invited on three different giant hunts where her fellow villagers allowed her to try befuddling the giants with a dance-off. In all three cases, the giant fell like a large Redwood and were knocked out cold so that they could be drug off to the oasis.
Soon, Phoebe’s fame spread and she was called the greatest slayer of all since she could slay without shedding any blood. Everyone wanted to learn to dance, especially the people in the surrounding villages and towns who had previously thought themselves too weak, or too short, or too round to slay giants.
The only downside to all this dancing was that with fewer causalities the dragons had less to eat. The dragons were beginning to venture out of their valley in search of food. They were particularly fond of sheep and squash. The people of the land were beginning to worry, but Phoebe, always the thinker, began to wonder if dragons could dance.