Microfiction #writephoto: Stone laughter

This short story is inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.


And after thirty thousand years of enchanted sleep, when the giants had finished their battles and their feuds, Balor opened his one eye and his lips parted. Daylight shone between his jagged stone teeth waking the warriors who had lain sleeping, forgotten, on the smooth, broad expanse of his tongue. His jaw ground slowly open in a roar of triumphant laughter.

After so many years, so much had changed. But Balor did not regret the old times stolen from him by the enchanter, captivated as he was by the sight of the herds of fat cattle in the valleys and the sheep on the hillsides. His brain, still dulled by his long sleep did not remember why it had been cast upon him, nor the magician who had made the magic. Forgotten too were the warriors fallen asleep with him, the little men he had fought and conquered before the drowsiness fell upon him.

He frowned as a vague, uncomfortable memory surfaced. The dullness hung tenaciously beneath his heavy brows, longer than in the quick minds of the warriors, and before his smile had time to fade and his jaw snap shut, the little men with their sharp swords and long spears had swarmed over the rocky teeth and scaled his craggy cheeks.

In the last instants before the sharp swords put out the light in his one remaining eye, and the long spears found and snuffed out the light in his brain, the giant remembered the words of his geis.

“Stern-faced is Balor the invincible. In laughter lies his death.”

The world belonged to the little men after all.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

29 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Stone laughter”

  1. I’m not familiar with the legend. I was hoping it was going to be a happy story because I love the image of a stone giant waking and laughing. Well, you know the way I am. I want them all to be friends–sit down together, share a cup of tea or ale. 🙂
    But–well done!

    1. It isn’t a real legend, a sort of embroidery on the story of Balor. Since I don’t believe he really existed, it doesn’t matter if I add my own flourishes. He wasn’t the kind of fella you’d want to invite in for a cup of tea anyway.

  2. You write this way so well Jane, its engaging and you paint such astonishing images, well in mind you do and since I am a bit of a visual person your writing works well for me….

    1. Thank you, Michael. I’m glad you can ‘see’ the story. It’s always hard to know if the words convey the image in my own mind since I see it quite clearly 🙂

  3. Beautiful descriptions, as always, Jane. And a very sad end to the story, even though you did mention the giant wasn’t a good guy. I still like the idea of everyone living in peace. Oh well.

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