“Would you like to eat something?” Wilan asked.
“Or do you want to play some basketball with us? Two on two!” Brando offered.
“Or we could just laugh very loudly and be generally rambunctious!” Joliam added.
The three shook the house with their voices and energy. Then they stopped and stared at their guest. “Wait a minute, who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here? And how did you get into our house?” All these questions tumbled out one after another in a loud but light-hearted way.
“I’m Judson,” Judson said when they were finally still. “I have traveled for a long time, but I came here because the Abbess of Imadene said you could help me with my clogged and stuffiness. And… you told me to come in because the door was open.”
A moment of silence followed as the three giants processed the information. Then they laughed and resumed their boisterous welcome. They prepared a meal for Judson that was fit for three giants, and while he ate, he explained the clogged and stuffy feeling in his head.
“Hmmm, sounds like something the Great King could fix right up for you…” Wilan said, and the other two giants agreed with nods and grunts. “I’m surprised the Abbess didn’t recommend that you go to him.”
“She… may have said something about him,” Judson mumbled. “I just thought you might have what I need… and it might be faster and easier and less risky, you know?”
“Well, sometimes risks are worth taking,” said Joliam, and again the giants concurred.
“Vitamins!” Brando announced. “It’s giant-sized vitamins we take every day to keep away the clogged and stuffy feelings. Keeps us in tip-top shape too! Here, we’ll give you some.” He fished out a handful of pills and placed them in front of Judson.
“They are huge!” Judson said in awe. “I’ll never be able to swallow these!”
“That is a problem,” Wilan affirmed solemnly.
“Maybe you could just cut off what you can swallow,” suggested Joliam, “and take it in smaller doses?”
“And they will last much longer that way!” Brando added. “Now that we’ve solved that little problem, how about you stay a night here with us and rest?”
Judson gladly accepted the invitation, and stayed in the cabin, but did not rest. Though his clogged and stuffy head was clearer, he began to have an empty-achy feeling in his heart. It kept him awake, tossing and turning all night long. In the morning, he mentioned it to his new giant friends.
“Empty-achy feeling, eh?” Wilan pondered. “Well, as we said, the Great King is the best one to ask. But we also have a doctor friend who is a little crazy, but specializes in… creative remedies. His name is Dr. Toupin, and you will find him in the crossroads of the Great Marsh.”
And so Judson, with a pocketful of vitamins and a growing empty-achiness deep down inside, set out to find the kooky Dr. Toupin.