scenes from The Hollow
By Clare B. Dunkle. New York: Henry
Writing a book is like making a movie: a few interesting scenes
wind up on the cutting room floor. Here are some scenes that I removed
from The Hollow Kingdom because they were slowing down the pace.
WARNING: If you have
not read the book, please DO NOT
read these scenes. They won't make any sense to you
yet, and they will ruin some of the book's best surprises.
FATHER TRIES TO TELL KATE THAT SHE IS IN DANGER
KATE GETS TIRED OF BEING WATCHED
KATE CAPTURES A GOBLIN
KATE TO SEE MARAK AT COURT, BUT HE MAKES A DETOUR FIRST
MARAK SCARES HIS COUSIN
MARAK MISSES ANOTHER CLUE
GOBLIN KING PLAYS LADY'S MAID
KATE LEARNS ABOUT ANNIE
KATE MEETS ANNIE'S FATHER AGAIN
HELPS ANNIE'S FATHER
GOBLIN REVENGE ON THE COACHMAN
ANNIE'S FATHER TRIES TO TELL KATE THAT SHE IS IN DANGER
This scene occurs very close to the beginning
of the book, when Kate and Emily spend the night in the inn at Hollow
Lake before they arrive at Hallow Hill. In the book, this evening is just
a memory, and the warning doesn't occur at all. In fact, Mr. Graham
has disappeared from the book entirely.
Kate and Emily climbed stiffly
out of the coach. It was the hour of early evening when people stand talking
in doorways or lean out of their windows to exchange news. Kate looked
about interestedly and tried not to stretch because it wasn't ladylike.
Emily stretched from head to toe. She didn't care.
"Go back! Go away! You
shouldn't be here!"
Both girls turned in alarm. A bent old man was hobbling toward them rapidly,
waving his cane. He shuffled up as close as he could, much closer than
they liked. "Go back where you came from!" he urged. "Go
home now! Now!"
Emily fell back before his pleading stare, but Kate stood her ground.
"We can't go back," she answered as firmly as she could.
"We are going to our home."
The old man plucked at her sleeve.
"You see, you see," he continued in a lower voice, "you
know what happened to my Annie." He stopped and looked expectantly
at them as if this would explain everything. Kate was struck by the terrible
pain in his eyes.
"No," she said gently, "we don't know Annie."
And she put her hand on his.
"You—then you don't know? About what happened to Annie?"
He gulped, and tears began running down the old face, gathering in wrinkles
and trickling off his chin. He dropped the cane and clutched her hand
in both of his. "My pretty little Annie, with her golden hair, just
like yours," he whimpered. "My poor, poor little girl!"
His thin shoulders heaved and shook. Kate and Emily stared at each other
wide-eyed over his bowed head.
"Now then, Mr. Graham, frightening the guests again!" A round,
middle-aged woman in apron and cap bustled up to them. "You know
what Mr. Bounce'll say if he finds out what you've been up
She nodded cheerfully at Kate and Emily as she bent to retrieve the dropped
cane. "Come along," she said, "no more of your old stories,"
and she drew him away from the frightened girls.
"But, Matty," they heard him sob, "they don't
know! They don't know!"
The woman slipped an arm around the hunched shoulders. "No more
do they need to," she answered kindly. "That's all long,
long gone by. Just you come in for a good hot cup of tea. You need bracing
at your age, that's what." And they disappeared together around
the corner of the inn.
KATE GETS TIRED OF BEING WATCHED
This scene occurs after the dinner at Hallow Hill
in which Kate learns about goblins. She has already seen Seylin on the
tree branch and has tried to chase a squirrel away. Now she is in her
room again, talking to Emily, and she finds another visitor outside. This
visitor is Hulk, the feather ape, changed into his bird form.
Halfway through brushing her hair,
Kate stopped at the window. There on the tree branch across from her room
sat a large, ungainly-looking bird. It was a disordered mass of rumpled
ashy-black feathers, and it was nibbling one large orange foot. It stopped
to survey the irritated Kate for a few seconds.
Most birds' eyes are wild and fierce—even chickens look annoyed—but
this bird's large yellow eyes just looked sad and patient. It clacked
its long bill and began preening: in Kate's opinion, a work doomed
"Oh, I just hate this!" she exclaimed. "Em, they're
always watching me! Even in the daytime I get no peace at all. Go away!"
she yelled at the bird. It stopped preening to eye her forlornly. "I
said, Go away!" she yelled again and flung her hairbrush at it.
The bird sidled along the branch and watched as the hairbrush whizzed
harmlessly by. Her brush landed in a tangle of twigs some twenty feet
above the ground. Kate felt rather foolish.
"I'm sorry," she called to the bird. It gazed at her
sorrowfully. "I mean," she continued stupidly, "I'm
just tired of not being left alone. But I need my hairbrush back. Please?"
The bird stepped back and forth and seemed to hesitate. Then it picked
up the offending hairbrush. With a few powerful strokes, it covered the
distance to her window and dropped it into her outstretched hand. It circled
awkwardly, landed on its tree branch, and went back to preening.
Kate stared for a moment at the hairbrush she was holding. Then she gave
"Thank you," she called to the bird, who gave a low cry in
response. She shut the window and turned away, ignoring Emily's
KATE CAPTURES A GOBLIN
This scene occurs after Seylin escorts the girls home from the
tree circle and after they change their clothes to run away. They go to
the kitchen to get some bread for their journey and find a small goblin
in the middle of a special errand. This goblin, named Midge, has no further
role in the book, but at one point he did go with Seylin and Hulk to free
Emily from the cellar.
They tiptoed down the hall and into
the doorway of the kitchen, where they froze in complete astonishment.
A thick little figure was laboriously climbing up the kitchen cupboard,
puffing quietly as he pulled himself from drawer pull to drawer pull.
He appeared to be a dumpy little man less than a foot tall. His big head
was about the same size as his broad body, and his arms and legs were
short and squat. He wore a loose shirt circled with a thick belt, tiny
breeches, and soft boots. His long white hair flopped untidily on his
The little man scaled the cupboard at last, clambering up onto the polished
wood surface. There he rested on hands and knees for a moment, catching
his breath. As he turned and climbed to his feet, Emily covered her mouth
to stop a giggle. He had the most enormous ears. They stuck straight up
past his head, rising to sharp points. A thick tuft of hair about an inch
long flapped from each ear tip like a little white flag.
The diminutive creature trotted quickly to Aunt Celia's china teapot.
Standing on tiptoe, he grabbed the lid in both hands and heaved it down
to rest at his feet. Then, quietly humming a little tuneless song of satisfaction,
he untied a bulky leather pouch from his belt. He carefully lifted it
up the rounded side and prepared to pour its contents into the pot.
Kate stalked silently across the floor and nabbed him by the tip of one
tall ear. He dropped his leather pouch and staggered back, turning to
look at her. She glimpsed a long, absurd face and a gigantic nose. With
a despairing cry, he fell face down onto the cupboard top and lay there,
moaning and quivering.
Kate let go of the ear tip and picked up the leather pouch. Inside was
some sort of powder. Poison, no doubt—a poison intended for the
entire family! Beside herself with indignation, she poked the little man
in the ribs with a finger.
"Get up right this minute and tell me why you're here!"
she demanded in a fierce whisper. "What was that powder supposed
to do? How could you go around poisoning people!"
The little man dragged himself up and waved his hands in the air piteously.
He babbled out a stream of shrill, incomprehensible speech, then collapsed
back onto his face.
Emily crept to Kate's side and stared down at the prone form. "Do
you think that was English?" she asked.
Anger and fatigue made Kate implacable. Seizing the figure by the back
of the collar, she hauled him to his miniscule feet.
"I demand that you tell me what your orders were," she said
The little man promptly fell to his knees, clasping his hands together.
His eyes were screwed shut, and a big tear clung to the end of his long
nose. He released another barrage of pathetic, unintelligible explanation.
The only word they understood was 'Marak.'
"Marak, is it!" Kate exclaimed darkly. "I might have
known." Opening one eye to peek at her severe expression, the tiny
man gave a panicked howl.
"Well, really, Kate," said Emily, "there's no
need to scare him to death."
The little creature looked up quickly. Seeing Emily's friendly expression,
he leapt to his feet and hurled himself at her, clutching her clothes
and hiding his face in her dress. "There, there," Emily said
soothingly, patting him on the back.
"At last!" exulted Kate. "We have proof! We can show
him to the aunts and Mr. Roberts. They'll send us away in the carriage,
and we can keep him as a hostage. Marak will have to leave me alone since
I've captured a goblin."
Emily put her hands protectively around the little creature. "Are
you sure he's a goblin, Kate?" she asked. "He looks
more like a gnome, or maybe a brownie."
"What difference does that make? Come on! Let's wake Aunt
Prim." Kate turned and headed for the door.
Emily didn't move. She lifted the little gnome up in her arms and
looked at him. He clutched her thumb in both hands, tears streaming down
Already climbing the stairs, Kate heard a sudden scuffle. She hurried
back to find her sister standing by the back door. Emily turned slowly
around, arms empty. She didn't look up.
"What on earth happened?" demanded Kate in a distraught whisper.
"Oh, Kate!" whispered Emily sadly. "I just couldn't
do it. They would have locked him in a cage and had people come to study
him. His eyes are so big, you can tell he'd be blinded by the daylight.
He came to me for help. And he was so scared..."
"But he was our best chance!" Kate hissed furiously. "Em,
don't you understand? We needed him!"
Emily's lower lip began to quiver.
"I knew you'd be angry," she answered. "But I
just had to do it. Kate, he was so little!" She gave a tearful sniff.
Emily, her own dear little sister. Emily, who never cried.
Kate threw her arms around her, choking down her own disappointment as
well as she could.
"It's all right, Em. I don't mind." She thought
about herself terrifying the poor little creature. "I'm even
glad you did it," she said sadly. "We'd better leave
now before they think of something else."
SEYLIN TAKES KATE TO SEE MARAK AT COURT,
BUT HE MAKES A DETOUR FIRST
This quick scene
occurs right after Kate enters the kingdom and before she gets to the
throne room. It isn't enough for the sensitive Seylin that he has
single-handedly brought in the stubborn King's Bride; he has to
be properly dressed as well. This scene was only in the book for fun;
I enjoyed turning my black cat into a Puss in Boots.
They stopped in a narrow hallway of
yellow stone, and Seylin popped open a door. Kate stiffened, not really
prepared to face the King.
Instead, she found herself staring in astonishment at a small apartment.
Manuscripts and books spilled off a table onto the chair nearby. Clothes
were strewn across the shiny floor. A thick pallet lay in an alcove, its
blankets tossed back. A small white cat, curled up on the pillow, blinked
curiously at her.
Seylin stepped into the untidy room and held the door. Catching Kate gazing
about, he bent hastily and scrabbled some of the scattered clothes into
a pile. Then the black cat dropped them again, ears back, looking a little
He darted over and pulled a small cape from the chair, red velvet lined
with purple silk. He swung the cape over his furry shoulders, and his
soft paws struggled with the catch. His golden-eyed gaze met Kate's
astounded one again.
"Court's formal," he said earnestly, as if this would
MARAK SCARES HIS COUSIN
This scene occurs
in Hugh's study during the goblin interrogation. Marak sends off
his goblins to free Emily and then decides to have some fun with his over-educated
relation. Her guardian's terrified shrieks at the conclusion of
this scene make Kate realize just how brave she has been.
"Kate tells me you're writing
a book," said the goblin King. "All about our family."
His voice was light and pleasant, but Hugh Roberts didn't risk a
glance at him. He just stared at the rug, his eyes glassy.
"What did you write about my mother?" Marak asked with genuine
Hugh looked up with a baffled expression on his face.
"Oh, don't tell me you just left her out," the King
remarked. "It's such a famous story. Kate's only been
here a couple of months, and she knows all about how my mother and father
met. Little Adele Roberts, out hunting the goblins. And the goblins, out
Marak chuckled delightedly, his sharp gray teeth glinting in the candlelight.
Hugh blanched at the familiar name, and a look of horror crossed his face.
"You've seen the portraits of Adele Roberts," continued
Marak seriously. He bent down close, his striped shock of hair brushing
Hugh's face. "Tell me the truth," he said with an inhuman
leer. "Don't you think I favor my mother?"
MARAK MISSES ANOTHER CLUE
This scene also occurs during
the interrogation of Hugh Roberts. Marak knows he has learned something
important, but he doesn't have time to puzzle out what it means.
"Of course I had plans," snapped the gray-faced man. "I've
never cared much for marriage, but I decided it would be for the best.
I intended to marry Miss Winslow at first. That was before I met her."
Marak glanced at Kate's startled expression.
"I was led to believe that humans let their women choose their husbands,"
he said. "Isn't that true?"
Hugh fidgeted back and forth.
"Someone in Miss Winslow's position, with property to consider,
can't just marry a chimney sweep," he replied with little
grace. "Of course, she can marry whomever she wants, if she falls
in love with the right person."
The goblin King hooted with laughter.
"Of course," he agreed. "What a simple solution. And
you were to be that person?"
"As her guardian," Hugh answered heavily, "I would be
in the position to keep everyone else away. She'd have to marry
me or no one."
"I see." Marak laughed again. "Tell me you would have
made the right choice, Kate," he added, but Kate was far too upset
to respond. "So, why am I not congratulating the happy couple?"
the goblin went on. "What happened to your plans?"
Hugh turned his pale eyes on Kate.
"Look at her!" he shrieked. "Just look! Do you think
I could marry that?"
Kate glanced around, distressed, to see all eyes fixed on her. Marak turned
abruptly from his questioning to study her mortified face.
"Yes," he replied quietly, his own eyes glittering with rage.
"Yes, I rather think you could have."
He turned away from the group and stood, hands clasped behind his back,
glaring at an old portrait. It was a picture of his grandfather, but there
wasn't very much resemblance. Kate realized that the other goblins
were watching their chief uneasily. Thaydar's green eyes were narrow,
and Seylin's golden ones were huge.
"Tell me," Marak continued evenly, not turning around, "just
what do you think is wrong with her?"
"She looks just like the other one! They look exactly alike!"
Hugh howled in a tantrum. "That shrinking lily, that fairy changeling
who stole the family fortune! As soon as I saw her dreamy face, I knew
I could never bear to marry her!"
Marak considered him severely for a few seconds. "Kate, do you have
any idea what he's talking about?" he asked with an impatient
"He means," whispered Kate, "that I look like Elizabeth,
the girl who played with your mother. He's right, I do look just
like her. There's a picture of them both upstairs."
Marak unclasped his hands from behind his back, suddenly intrigued.
"Wasn't she the adopted girl?" he asked. Kate nodded.
"And you look just like her." The goblin frowned. "Kate,
there's something strange about you."
THE GOBLIN KING PLAYS LADY'S
This scene used to be part
of a chapter that discussed Kate's new life in the underground kingdom.
Most of that material was compressed into one day three months after Kate's
marriage. The beginning paragraphs had appeared during the banquet scene
in which Kate is dismayed to find everyone staring at her snake.
It is true that Kate herself had stared at the golden snake for some time
before she got dressed. Marak told her cheerfully that the snake didn't
always look that good. Apparently, it liked variety. Sometimes it looped
itself like a band of knitting yarn around both shoulders. Sometimes it
twirled over and over around the neck itself. Scholars had kept a record
of all the different orientations, trying to find some omen or meaning
"On my first wife," Marak said, tracing its spirals admiringly
with a finger, "it hung itself around her neck like a worm on a
hook, head and tail just hanging. I think it was disgusted." But
these helpful remarks did not reconcile quiet Kate to all the curious
While the King had his fuzzy valets to help him dress, Kate had no ladies
in waiting of her own. Tradition accorded the role of lady's maid
to her husband. Many goblin customs encouraged the King to stay close
to his wife to help him gain the insights needed to produce the hoped-for
Heir. While this might be romantic in design, Kate considered grimly,
she would have preferred a half-dozen arguing maids to one goblin King
when it came time to dress. At least she could have worn what she wanted.
"Bring me the green silk with the white lace," she said one
morning from her dressing table. "The one with the tucks in the
"The one I can't stand," Marak answered from the wardrobe.
"You only want to wear it because you know I hate it. You must be
feeling sulky this morning. Here," he said, returning, "bite
me on the thumb again to get it out of your system and then put this on."
Kate turned to see a familiar blue gown in his hands.
"But I always wear that!" she cried indignantly.
"Of course you do," he said, looking at it with approval.
"It's my favorite."
"I don't know why I even have other clothes," she stormed
as he fastened up the back. "I should just have twelve copies of
this stupid blue dress!"
Marak paused and shook his striped hair out of his face, considering the
"I'll talk to the tailors," he promised.
KATE LEARNS ABOUT ANNIE
This short scene, also
part of the chapter about Kate's new life with Marak, describes
how he reads to her from the King's Wife Chronicles. Recorded in
the last volume are Marak's notes about his first wife, Annie, whose
somewhat frail mental state had given way to madness during the ceremony
of the King's Wife Charm.
He didn't want to read them to her, but Kate declared that she was
trying to gain insights into his character for the sake of producing the
Heir, and Marak's sense of honesty compelled him to accept this
argument. She studied the neat handwriting as he read her the brief notes.
"Annie is sweet and docile in spite of her affliction," read
one. "She is much like a very young child. Only the most human-looking
women take care of her. At the sight of any normal goblin, she screams
and hides her eyes, convinced she is having an attack." Another
one read, "Annie cries even at the sound of my voice. She told Agatha
she thinks I'm the Devil."
Hearing the notes recording his efforts to find some way to reach the
poor girl, Kate began to see why he had watched his second bride for so
long and hesitated to overpower her attempts to escape him. In stealing
Annie without learning anything about her, Marak had caused Annie's
madness, and he had had to live with the consequences. He had been determined
to be more careful the next time.
KATE MEETS ANNIE'S FATHER AGAIN
occurs immediately after Kate scrambles out of Hollow Lake and Charms
scolds her for being in danger of catching pneumonia. In the book, an
old woman takes the place of Mr. Graham in playing host to Kate for the
"Annie!" came a cry from the road above them. "Annie!"
With a metallic rustle, the snake twirled around Kate's neck and
collapsed into place again. Kate saw a dark figure hurrying towards her
from a nearby cottage. In another moment, Mr. Graham was clutching her
wet hands. Then he dropped his head, a crestfallen look on his face.
"I'm sorry," said Kate, feeling very odd. "I'm
"I know," sighed the old man.
Kate let him guide her up the path and into the cottage. A fire blazed
on the hearth of the little two-room structure, and a simple wooden table
and chairs stood before it. With a sigh of contentment, Kate came to stand
before the hearth. She was never cold in the goblin kingdom. It felt rather
delicious to get very cold and then warm up before a crackling fire.
Mr. Graham brought clean sacks to help Kate dry off. She was streaming
with water, and her dress clung to her wet legs. He set out a meal of
bread and cheese and soon had tea steaming in a mug. She sat down and
began to eat. Mr. Graham watched her, his eyes miserable.
"I knew you weren't really Annie," he said sadly. "She's
been gone so long now. But when I saw you coming up out of the lake, I
thought maybe her spirit was visiting me. You—you know about my
Annie, don't you?" he asked hesitantly.
"Yes, Mr. Graham," said Kate slowly. "I know about Annie.
I know all about her. Would you like to know about her, too?"
The old man fixed her with an agonized stare. His mouth worked for a minute.
"Do you know what happened to my Annie?" he whispered She
almost couldn't look at those eyes.
"Annie went walking on the lake shore," said Kate. "She
was picking flowers. And there she met a stranger, a—a young man—and
rich, too. He wanted Annie to run away with him. They left that minute,
and they were married that same day." She paused, struggling to
find the right things to tell. She owed the tormented man nothing less
than the truth.
"Annie didn't really want to leave you," she went on.
"During the wedding ceremony, her mind gave way. The rich gentleman
had women take care of her day and night, and she was very sweet, like
a little girl. She lived for fifteen years, and he gave her everything
that would make her happy. But she must have blamed him for separating
you two because she cried whenever he came near her. She thought that
he was the Devil."
At these words, Mr. Graham laid his head down on his arms and burst into
tears. But when he lifted his head again, his eyes were bright. The agonized
look was gone.
"Annie's mother Beth was just as sweet as she was,"
he faltered as he mopped his wet face. "But when the baby was born,
it changed her. She was just like a baby herself. You should have seen
the little girl leading her poor mother by the hand, looking after her
and telling her what to do.
"When Beth died, we came here," he continued. "I wanted
us to have a new life. But Annie disappeared right away. I imagined the
most horrible things," he whispered. "And every girl that
came here, I'd warn. There shouldn't be such things happen
to young girls, Miss." Kate nodded as he looked at her solemnly.
"But now I know what happened. You don't know what it means.
And I know that it's the truth. You see, on her bad days, Beth thought
I was the Devil, too."
In the morning, Mr. Graham hailed the post coach for her.
"Today's Monday, so it'll be young Tommy Hargrove, I
expect," he remarked. "I know 'em all," he added,
looking a little ashamed, "because I always meet the coaches, looking
for my Annie."
"I'd like you to have this, Mr. Graham," said Kate,
giving him one of her rings. "If you find yourself worrying about
Annie, just look at it and remember that she was as happy as she could
be. And I'll tell Annie's husband I met you," she added,
looking around the tiny, bare cottage. "It may be that he can do
something to help his father-in-law."
MARAK HELPS ANNIE'S FATHER
This scene takes place in the last chapter of the book and is
the conclusion of Annie's story.
Marak had been quite interested in Kate's account of Mr. Graham's
timely help, and black-cloaked emissaries began visiting the bent old
man regularly, bringing him money from his son-in-law. Mr. Graham gave
up his earth-floored cottage and took the best room at the inn. There
he sat by the wide hearth, eating Matty Bounce's excellent meals
and listening to the tales that the travelers told as they came through.
One night, two young thugs attacked the old man as he walked by the lakeshore,
intent on gaining the wealth they had heard he possessed. A mysterious
figure intervened, and the young men were never seen again. But the next
morning Matty Bounce noticed in surprise two very nervous-looking new
roosters in her chicken yard. Always practical, she popped them right
into the cooking pot before any of the neighbors could claim them.
GOBLIN REVENGE ON THE COACHMAN
This scene also occurs
in the last chapter of the book and tells of the goblin King's efforts
to avenge Kate's attempted murder. It gives a glimpse of Marak and
Kate during his long convalescence.
Marak sent Thaydar out with two other members of the Guard to
deliver the King's Judgment on the coachman. Kate didn't hear
his instructions, but she was on hand when the fanged lieutenant returned.
She was sitting on the bed, a large unwieldy volume in her hands, plowing
through the doings of her husband's predecessors.
"'In the eleventh year of the reign of Marak Batwing, and
the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Aganir Ni-Halbi, the elf King named
Spring Frost,'" she read slowly, "'the master
of Hallow Hill acceded to a demand of his new wife, and he violated the
integrity of the ancient truce circle. The goblin King and the elf King
banded together to fight this threat, to wit, the master's efforts
to construct within the circle a gi—no, a ga—' Marak,
I don't know this word," and she held out the book.
"'A gazebo, '" muttered the goblin King, opening
his eyes to study the page.
"A gazebo!" echoed Kate in disbelief. "Are you sure?"
Marak closed his eyes. His lips twitched into a wry smile as he shrugged.
Thaydar entered the room, still in riding apparel and covered in dust.
Marak opened his eyes again and looked up with a gleam of interest.
"Goblin King," roared Thaydar, "I have bad news. We
learned that the coachman had his throat slit and his goods stolen the
night he attempted to endanger the King's Wife."
"Well, it can't be helped," murmured the goblin King
thoughtfully. "You did your best." He continued to look thoughtful
after the travel-stained Thaydar left. Kate eyed Marak warily. The frustrated
disappointment etched on Thaydar's face convinced her that this
King's Judgment would not have been a pleasant one. She considered
asking what it would have been but decided she'd rather not know.
Goblin revenge was never pretty. She went back to the book.
"'Day after day, the master had his workers build,'"
she read on, "'and every morning the truce circle was pristine
once more. At length, greatly angered, the master hired thirty workers
to build the gazebo all in one day. And that night, he guarded the finished
structure with twenty armed men.'" She paused to take a breath
and puzzle out the next sentence. "'In the morning, the master
and men awoke to find that they were floating in the middle of Hollow
Lake on the smashed remains of the gazebo. They floated about until late
in the day, when a fisherman discovered them. The master was brought back
to the Hall delirious and in great pain from sunburn.'"
"Now, that's magic," sighed Marak happily, closing his