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When the Galumphers wore shoes

By Rogerborg in Fiction
Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 07:18:48 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

  Settle down, my own dear ones, settle down and I will tell you a story about the Galumphers, and of the time when their Galumpher King decided that they could wear shoes.

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  Now you may not know, and so I had best tell you, that Galumphers are small mumbling creatures, very puffed up and given to saying "Galumph-galumph!" in their self important little voices.  They are seldom seen outside of their Galumpher Kingdom, but this suits them just fine, because Galumphers like nothing more than being left alone to get on with enjoying their favourite thing in the whole world, which is clothes.

  Oh yes, Galumphers love their clothes, my dears.  They adore their little Galumpher hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers.  The most talented Galumphers like to make these clothes and to be seen about their little Galumpher towns wearing them.  The other Galumphers get together in the town squares and delight in talking about them, in saying "Galumph-galumph!" and praising the cut of a shirt, or laughing "Galumph-galumph!" at the shiny buttons on a waistcoat.  Oh yes, Galumphers were happy little people with their hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers.

  But then one day, a particularly clever little Galumpher decided that he wanted more than hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers, and so he went to see the Galumpher King.

  Oh, my dears, the Galumpher King is the jolliest little fellow that you ever did see!  He has the whitest hair, and the happiest smile, and he loves all of the other Galumphers, even the cruel ones that just laugh "Galumph-galumph!" at everything.  So when the clever Galumpher came to see him, the Galumpher King listened carefully to what he had to say.  And what the clever Galumpher had to say was this:

  "Galumph-galumph!  Oh, wise and powerful Galumpher King, your people love their little hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers.  How wonderful it would be if they also had shoes to make and talk about.  Can we have shoes, oh please, oh please may we have them, galumph-galumph?"

  Now the jolly Galumpher King enjoyed nothing more than giving his people what they wanted, and so he posted notices all across the Galumpher Kingdom asking the Galumpher people whether they should have shoes or not.

  "Galumph-galumph!" said some of his people.  "Why, yes, we would love shoes.  Shoes would be new and good, and we could make them and talk about them all day long!"

  But others said "Galumph-galumph!  No, no!  Shoes are bad.  Galumphers do not wear shoes.  If we are allowed to have shoes, then naughty Galumphers will make ugly shoes and use them to kick people with, and so we should not have shoes."

  Now, my dears, what was the jolly Galumpher King to do?  Well, I am glad to say that he was wise enough to know that even the wisest King cannot choose for his people.  And so he asked all of the Galumphers to let him know whether they wanted shoes, to say "Galumph-galumph!  Yes!" or "Galumph-galumph!  No!"

  Oh, how the Galumphers do love to talk about things and say that they are good or they are bad!  All of the little Galumphers said yes or they said no or they said that they did not mind, and the Galumpher King counted the yesses and the nos, and he found that twice as many Galumphers said yes as said no.  And so he made a proclamation. "Galumph-galumph!  From this day forward, all Galumphers that want to may wear shoes, and all Galumphers may talk about shoes.  Enjoy, my people!"

  And what do you think happened then, my dears?  Well, if you think that the clever Galumpher that had asked if he could wear shoes went ahead and made a most beautiful pair of shoes, then you would be right.  But I am afraid to say that more happened than that.

  What happened was this.  Some of the Galumphers that had said "Galumph-galumph! No!" to the shoes decided that they would show the Galumpher King and the other Galumphers exactly how naughty Galumphers might kick people with shoes.  And so they hatched a plan in their silly Galumpher heads, and their plan went just so: they put on funny little Galumpher masks, and made the biggest, heaviest boots that they could imagine, and they ran around kicking the other Galumphers with their new boots and shouting "Galumph-galumph!  We said yes to shoes!  Galumph-galumph!  See our shoes!  Galumph-galumph!  See how we kick you with our shoes!"

  Oh, those wicked, wicked Galumphers, telling fibs like that!  But I am sorry to say that they got even worse, my dears.  Because when the nasty Galumphers were tired of kicking, they ran and hid and took off their masks and their boots, then ran back to the public squares in their bare Galumpher feet, crying "Galumph-galumph!  Oh, we told you so!  We said no, but you would not listen!  Galumph-galumph!  We must get rid of all shoes, or more people will be kicked by the wicked Galumphers that said yes to shoes!"

  And many of the other Galumphers that had said "Galumph-galumph! No!" to shoes agreed with the cruel wicked ones, and shouted out that shoes must go, and that the Galumpher King was silly and wrong to have allowed them.

  And oh, my dears, it could have gone very badly for the Galumphers who wanted shoes.  But something you must understand about Galumphers is that at heart they are really quite clever, kind, patient little creatures.  And so while the silly ones ran around shouting "Galumph-galumph! Yes!" and kicking with their boots, the Galumphers who really had said yes just watched and waited and had a good little Galumpher think about things.  And that, my dears, is a very clever and a very proper thing to do, that you should always remember yourselves.

  Well, I am happy to tell you that after the naughty Galumphers got tired of shouting and kicking, the nice Galumphers who wanted to make pretty shoes and talk about them got their chance to do just that that, and the ugly old boots were finally put away for good.

  And the kind, wise Galumpher King gathered his people around, and he said this to them.

  "Galumph-galumph!  Oh, my beloved Galumphers, my kind and cruel and clever people, hear me.  Those who want to wear shoes should wear shoes, and those who do not want to wear shoes should not wear shoes.  And you should praise shoes or laugh at shoes just as you always praised and laughed at hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers, of course you should.  See how I do not wear shoes, and yet I can still praise the beauty of other Galumpher's shoes!  But, oh, galumph-galumph! my silly ones, to kick people with shoes just to show that shoes can be used to kick people, that is the silliest thing of all! Galumph-galumph! There is no ugliness and no beauty, no evil and no good but what we Galumphers make for ourselves in our little Galumpher Kingdom.  Make those things that are most beautiful and good, my wonderful people, and fill my heart with joy."

  Well, the funny little Galumphers all laughed "Galumph-galumph!" and they did go on to make those things that are most beautiful and good.  And in time, the Galumphers once again lived very happily together in their little Kingdom with their little Galumpher hats and shirts and waistcoats and trousers and their wonderful little Galumpher shoes.  And I am happy to tell you that when he saw the beauty and the goodness of their works, the kindly Galumpher King's heart filled almost to bursting with the joy and the love of it, my dears, and he lived happily ever after.


  © Rogerborg 2003.  You may read this tale or your own version to your own little Galumphers under the Creative Commons by-nc-sa license.


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When the Galumphers wore shoes | 57 comments (21 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
I like it (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by Hector Plasmic on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:15:05 PM EST

+1BG (Brothers Grimm)

Wow (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:25:55 PM EST

How recently did you write that? It's an awfully happy, nice story for having been written on such short notice.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

I'm answering my own rhetorical question (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 07:45:31 PM EST

Posed here about whether people will bother to write hundreds of words just to make a point about the Fiction section.

All that, and I'm writing fiction too!

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Topical background (5.00 / 14) (#15)
by Rogerborg on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 08:18:39 PM EST

For those that missed it, the early hours of Tuesday January 29th 2003 saw some truly abominable submissions under Fiction, a couple deliberately and honestly trolling, but one that was close enough to genuine shock-porn fiction that it was - apparently - taken seriously by some commentators.

What disturbed me was the number of comments along the lines of "This proves that the Fiction section was a bad idea".

Well, heck, I could demonstrate that the Meta section is a bad idea by posting nothing but erotic rusty fanfic and shock exposes to it.  But that's a problem with me, not with the section.

Point made, I must also suggest that the topical background is icing.  What you see above is also a fictional tale of tolerance and optimism, suitable for bedtime reading to Real Live Kids.

My bases covered, I shall myself creep off to bed, to await a new day of wonders on K5.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

rabid anti-fictionalists (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by illuzion on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 09:35:38 PM EST

Very, very good :) I wondered if this story was about the Fiction section while I was reading it (although I was sortof hoping it might reference The Strange War of Guecci D'Avalidi). I went to bed after Guecci fell off the submissions list, so I missed the troll submissions you mentioned.

I like to think (because I'm optimistic) of k5 as a happy little community, not one with real live nasty people in it like there are in the real world out there. So I'm glad you wrote this. I hope all the people who are voting against all fiction (I recognise a lot of names from the -1 list on this story and the -1 list on my own - and this one is brilliant, and fully deserves a front page) might, perhaps, get the point :) Especially the bit towards the end.

[ Parent ]

Y'know (5.00 / 4) (#21)
by rusty on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 10:46:12 PM EST

With all the obvious current K5 relevance, I totally missed the fact that this could easily be read a general children's tale about tolerance. I'm even more impressed. And "Galumphers" will surely become part of K5 tradition. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
In retrospect (4.75 / 4) (#29)
by Rogerborg on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:08:29 AM EST

It was a mistake giving it K5 as a topic.  It should have been culture.

However, I suspect that a lot of our heritage of fairy tales have at their roots an allegorical response to a specific incident, rather than being created for their own sake.

Consider Little Red Riding Hood.  It's a mutable story, and no doubt an amalgam of many similarly themed cautionary tales from across Europe, but at the genesis of each root tale that comprises it, I'd expect to see a real incident involving a wolf, or a child trusting a stranger, rather than someone just deciding to make up a story for the sake of it.

It's very much a matter of opinion, but I find it pleasing to believe that creating fairy tales as cautionary allegories for contemporary life is an ongoing process, thousands of years old, and still as useful and relevant today as then.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Indeed... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by Arkaein on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 10:00:11 PM EST

I think that henceforth, voting on Fiction submissions should go:

+1 FP Galumph-Galumph!
+1 Galumph-Galumph!
-1 Galumph-Galumph!

The ultimate plays for Madden 2003-2006
[ Parent ]

erotic rusty fanfic (5.00 / 4) (#26)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 07:45:52 AM EST

Would it involve mod_hamster?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
The most beautiful and good of all jewelery, (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by Rogerborg on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:02:09 AM EST


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

'erotic rusty fanfic' (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:45:31 AM EST

You know, after reading that comment, I am afraid I will have to keep away from K5 for a while..
I feel... dirty.



Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
Damn! I missed the shock-porn? nt. (none / 0) (#49)
by trane on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 06:26:29 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Sir Cumsalot in the Land of the Galumphers (4.29 / 17) (#22)
by eSolutions on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 12:47:31 AM EST

Chapter Two: A Penetrating Observation

The wounded knight dozed in the castle tower, grateful for to the Glamumfords for their boon of sanctuary. His masculine, barely-eighteen eyelids drizzled a teasing gaze at the supple, arching moonlight thrusting through the tight castle window, lightly moist with winter air. The sheets lay across his rippled form like a caressing hand.

Then, the door opened, and in stepped twin Gmalhmger lasses and a braying, nervous goat. "It rubs the lotion on its skin," the twins said in unison, "or else it gets the fire-hose."

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You're going to pay (5.00 / 9) (#24)
by Rogerborg on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 04:13:38 AM EST

For the mouthful of chewed up toast and milk I just spat onto my laptop.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Reminds me of (none / 0) (#38)
by krek on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:27:34 AM EST

The gun registration fiasco in Canada. Pure stupidity on the part of the anti-registration crew.

+1 (none / 0) (#47)
by subversion on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 05:10:47 AM EST

+1 GA (general allegory)

Although having read the comments, I now realize you intended this as a very specific piece of commentary, while reading the story I saw it as allegorical to RIAA P2P poisoning, encryption, and a few other things.

I think that by thinking of this purely as about the k5 fiction section, you might be selling it a bit short.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.

How I see allegory (none / 0) (#50)
by pin0cchio on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 09:21:53 AM EST

I'd vote well-written normal fiction +1 Section, but I'd vote well-written allegory +1 FP. But that's just me.
[ Parent ]
To be fair to myself (none / 0) (#51)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jan 30, 2003 at 01:41:20 PM EST

I did come at it from the perspective of writing a piece of moral fiction first, and a K5 self reference second.  I'm glad that it has value beyond the acute situation here.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Truth is stranger than fiction (none / 0) (#53)
by Alan Crowe on Fri Jan 31, 2003 at 03:06:06 PM EST

Galumpher King Algenon L. Marbley, ruler of the South District of Ohio, was not content to permit his subjects to wear shoes, he ruled that they were compelled to wear shoes, or forfeit civil rights; thus crushing the arguments of one sad little hobbit

[ Parent ]
if this is a story .... (none / 0) (#55)
by sanketh on Tue Feb 18, 2003 at 10:38:01 AM EST

.... maybe we can flood kuro5hin with some hundred of them ... ok ok i am a newcomer to this place, i also happen to be majorly interested in fiction and i read a piece abt VR down below this and it really caught me. And then i read this stuff and it is like a first-class waste of time.

            no no this is not flame. just some advice to the author. there may be some allegory involved. but ppl dont read stuff so that they can crack puzzles with it. first and foremost comes the writing and the story and then maybe subtle allegories. and while ur writing sounds good in the beginning, it gets pretty repetitive later.

           any one wants to start a discussion on how important allegories are and whether things like magic realism are good on their own? maybe the author of the story wants to comment?

== Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

Thanks for the comments (none / 0) (#56)
by Rogerborg on Tue Feb 18, 2003 at 12:45:16 PM EST

I appreciate your sentiment, and I do agree that it needs to be tighter and stronger as a standalone allegory.

However, bear in mind that this is the only story to be voted into Fiction section.  The others were resectioned there by rusty.  And one of the reasons that it made it was that it fulfils my 2nd rule of how to get posted to K5 fiction in that it's written for K5.

I do regret that the moral is not immediately obvious or relevant to casual readers, but (I believe) it needed to be written the way it was to get voted up.  There's little point in writing fiction if it's never read.

And so I stand by it as it is written.  When somebody else gets voted to Fiction section on merit, we'll have more grounds for comparison.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

When the Galumphers wore shoes | 57 comments (21 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
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