(written 10/25/91; Webbed 10/12/95)

Small. And cold. They were small and cold. And green. But that was all.
There was nothing more to it than that.

Some of them, admittedly, were round; others were oblong, or ovoid, or
shaped like a cross between the number 23 crosstown bus and a bar of soap.
With just a hint of a Smith-Corona typewriter thrown in.

But all of them were small. And cold.

“Far and few,” they sang to each other, “far and few.” It was a feeble
attempt to keep warm, this singing was. Warm and large. That’s how it made
them feel. They were one warm large unified mass when they sang “Far and
few, far and few.” But they were still green, even then. And some were
round, and others oblong, or ovoid.

There came a time, in that cold small place, when they (who were cold and
small themselves still, individually, despite their singing) were indeed far
and few; and they became colder, and smaller, as they huddled deep within
themselves. Some even became greener. And yet, still, indomitable, they

Once, one attempted a new song. “Many and close! Many and close!” it
caroled. It interrupted the dolorous warm, large sound of others singing
“Far and few, far and few.” This new sound was harsh and bright, clear
and alone, cold and sharp. The others ignored it to the best of their


This was simply a ten-minute timed-writing exercise -- put pen to paper and
don’t stop writing for ten minutes no matter what. It obviously owes
something to Edward Lear -- “Far and few, far and few, are the lands where
the Jumblies live / Their heads were green and their hands were blue, and
they went to sea in a sieve.”

As with the other exercises I’m publishing here, this isn’t intended to be
a complete story and hasn’t been revised at all (even for spelling or
grammar) since writing. Though of course I edited it while I was originally
writing it -- crossing out phrases, making false starts, and so on.

Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>