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Library: Harlequin Stovepipe hat

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Author: darol
Date:Apr 27 2003

The life was so wild at the small village of Sirendale. The whole 
village had gone crazy, the people were dancing and singing, and 
all this because of Harlequin Stovepipe hat that is now going 
towards Sun Creek. But how can this happen in a village that is 
usually so calm and dull that even a pigeon that is pecking seeds 
is exciting? My dear friend, I think it is better to start from 
the beginning.

It was a sunny morning at Sirendale, and young girl Taloca was 
sent by her mother to get water from the river that was nearby. 
When Taloca arrived to the river she saw a funny looking thing 
in the streaming water. Luckily she was able to reach it, as it 
was coming towards her when she was sitting on the riverbank. 
What is it, she wondered, and watched it very closely. 'It looks
like a top hat.', she said. Suddenly a small gnome jumped off 
the hat and said 'It's a harlequin stovepipe hat young girl!',
said the gnome. And he continued 'And I live in this hat, young 
lady! It is full of gold and diamonds and I'm taking them south
to Sun Creek travelling this river!' Taloca was grinning cutely, 
then she grabbed the gnome from that and threw him to the river 
and started running back to village. The gnome shouted 'Hey! 
You can't take my hat! Return it! Curses! You must return it! 
Oh well, you will return it to me, I swear!'

Taloca ran back to Sirendale and gave the harlequin stovepipe 
hat to her parents. Her parents were calm people. Her father 
Olf was a fisherman and her mother Lei was living home. They 
took a look to the hat and it was full of gold and diamonds, 
the gnome had told the truth. 'We must keep this hat secret, 
so that people don't get jealous and steal it', they decided.

As the night passed, Taloca and her parents were shocked, as 
the harlequin stovepipe hat had disappeared. 'Someone has 
stolen it!', they all said in one voice. But who could have 
taken the hat, could there be someone who would have seen? Is 
there someone who could have the hat now?

The answer was very obvious since Helmuntok, the local village
idiot babbled in loud voice at the market place and he was was 
wearing golden medallions around his neck, and his pockets
were bursting with diamonds. Taloca's father saw this and was 
angry 'You boasting thief! You stole those treasures from us!' 
and clenched his fist menacingly at Helmuntok. Helmuntok yelled 
'What did you call me? A thief? I'm no thief, I woke up with 
this top hat full of gold this morning!'

Helmuntok took the hat from his head and put it on ground so 
that all the villagers could take a look. He said 'I am no thief. 
I found this hat next to my bed this morning when I woke up. 
Fine! If this really belongs to you Olf, take it.'

Olf glanced at Helmuntok despisingly, took the hat, and walked 
home. The villagers were watching at Olf and Helmuntok who were 
sneering each other with gestures. The afternoon in Sirendale was 
quiet and depressing. There hadn't been thefts in Sirendale, 
but this strange hat had enchanted everyone. Everybody was glaring 
each other and there was a pinch of envyness in the air and the
atmosphere was discouraging. The treasures didn't fit in Sirendale 
at all, it did nothing but spreaded friction between old friends.

Even Olf, Taloca's father had noticed this. His friends no longer
greeted him at the market and the treasures didn't grant happiness 
in such small village as Sirendale was. When the night was still
young, Olf sneaked out of the house with the hat to the place 
where Taloca had gone to get water. He was about to throw the hat 
back to the river when a voice of the night said 'Wait! Give it to 
me! That is my hat!'. A gnome stepped in from the darkness with a 
lit lantern. Olf told gnome about the misery that the hat had 
brought to Sirendale. Gnome replied 'I know! I have come down 
this river from far away, and passed twelve villages and I have 
lost my harlequin stovepipe hat in every village. But finally they 
always give it back. I must continue my journey now to Sun Creek.'

Olf returned to the village and there was a huge bonfire and the 
people were singing and dancing. They were crazy and everyone looked 
very happy. The good old atmosphere had restored in Sirendale, and 
they were eating like in harvesting party. It was a miraculous wonder 
that could not have happened without harlequin stovepipe hat, which 
belonged to the gnome. As the festival went on, nobody remembered 
the gnome who would probably lose his hat many times before arriving 
to Sun Creek.



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