Penned by Quex
Once upon a time when the Egg was still almost new-laid, the urucks were not the tall, strapping, fearsome creatures that we all know today. Oh dear me, no. They were tiny little puny things, smaller even than the goblins, and their lives were a sore trial because they were so minute. They had their work cut out to hunt or farm or fish, and the green ones had it particularly hard, because when they walked through long grass people tended to tread on them because they couldn’t see them.
One day, one of these diminutive orcs of the time came across a beautiful sunflower. Oh, it was so lovely! She looked up at it, and saw how pretty it was, and wept because the gorgeous flower was so high above her head and she couldn’t properly appreciate its beauty, or see whether it had a fine scent to match its fine petals. And she cried out “Oh! If only I were tall enough to look at this sunflower properly, how much better life would be!”
Well — as it happened, the great Tyr himself happened to be walking by, and heard the orc’s plaint. And he thought to himself that it did seem rather hard that the little creature couldn’t see so beautiful a flower. So he pointed at the orc, and — kaboom! Just like that, she was suddenly as tall as the flower and could see it in its full glory.
Naturally she was well pleased and once she’d properly drunk in the flower’s beauty, she capered for joy around the area enjoying the fact that she could see above the grass. And pretty soon she came to an orc-apple tree. But it was early in the season, and though the orc-apples were ripe, none had fallen to the ground, and though she stretched up, she just could not reach the fruit up above her.
“Oh!” she cried. “If only I were tall enough to pick the fruit from this tree, how much better life would be!”
Now Tyr was still standing watching, and taking pity on the orc’s hunger, he pointed at her once more. Kaboom! Just like that, she was suddenly tall enough that her head was among the tree’s branches, and it was easy for her to pick two or three fine ripe orc-apples and crunch them in her sharp teeth and tusks.
Well, as everyone knows, two or three orc-apples are no more than an appetiser for a hungry uruck. And as she stood there licking the juice from her lips, she saw a bird fly overhead, and she thought to herself that a nice juicy bird would make the ideal main course to satisfy her hunger.
“Oh! if only I were tall enough to pluck that bird out of the sky!” she said, turning a crafty eye upon Tyr, whom she’d spotted watching her and looking amused.
Tyr chuckled, and pointed at her a third time. And what do you think? Next thing she knew, she was forty or fifty feet tall.
“Squawk!” said the bird as it suddenly found a huge orc in its path, and then “Gack!” it said as it found her enormous hand around its neck. And then it didn’t say any more.
The orc sat down and gathered together some firewood, and plucked the bird, and roasted it over the fire, picking it as clean as clean. When it was done she smacked her lips.
“My, but that was nice!” she said to Tyr. “But now with this big fire I’ve built, and the meal I just ate, I find myself a little warm. If only I were tall enough to put my head into that big cloud up there, it would cool me down so nicely!” And she raised an eyebrow at him, meaningfully.
Tyr stroked his beard for a moment, thinking, but then he nodded, and pointed, and the orc grew taller yet again, till her feet were the size of a forest each, and even her fingers were as huge as a tree. And her head — yes! her head reached right up to the clouds above. She dunked her head into the biggest cloud she could see, and the rain inside the cloud covered her face and cooled it. It was very nice indeed, she thought, to be able to wash your face in a cloud instead of having to use dirty pond water.
By now it was getting late. The sun had gone down and the stars had come out to shine. As the orc wiped the raindrops from her face, she looked up and saw the stars twinkle, and thought they looked very pretty.
“Oh! If only I were tall enough to reach up to the stars and touch them, how much better life would be!” she said to Tyr.
Tyr shook his head knowingly, and pointed at the orc. Zap! Now she was bigger still; far bigger than the biggest giant or leviathan. It would take fifty men with their hands joined in a circle just to reach all the way around her ankle, and as for her hair — well, if you only had the strength to pluck one from her head (which you wouldn’t have), you could have used it as a mountaineering rope.
The orc capered for joy once or twice, and knocked down half a forest. Then she reached up, up, up, as far as ever she could, and took hold of the brightest and prettiest star in the heavens.
But oh goodness! The star was hot, so hot! She let out a howl of pain and dropped the star. It rolled away across the heavens, and so it became the first shooting star; and to this day, every now and again a star takes fear because it imagines an uruck is coming to grab it, and shoots away across the sky to try and avoid being caught.
“What’s the matter?” asked Tyr. “I only gave you what you wanted.”
“But I’ve burnt my hand!” cried the uruck. “And now my hand is too big to put in cold water, because there isn’t a cloud or an ocean big enough to bathe it in.”
“Well, that’s rather a nuisance,” Tyr remarked. “It seems getting bigger and bigger isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
“You can say that again!” moaned the orc, still clutching her burnt hand. “If only I were the size of that sunflower! Then I could plunge my hand into the little pond by it, and relieve my pain.”
So Tyr pointed for the last time, and the orc was just the same size as the sunflower once more. She ran to the pond, and dunked her hand, and the pain from the star-burn began to go away.
“Thank you!” she cried to Tyr. “Perhaps after all, this is the best size for an orc to be.”
“I think you’re right,” said Tyr. And from that day to this, urucks have been the size we see them as now, and nobody treads on them in the grass any more, for which I’m sure they are all grateful.
Oh, in case you’re wondering how I know this story? That orc was one of my ancestors. When I write, I do not usually use my full name because I always think it sounds more like an elven name than an orcish one. But just this once, I think I shall sign myself off, in full,