"Have you heard of the Dwarves of the Corn?" Malcolm asked Mr. Rufus, who shook his head.
"They are the malevolent beings who taunt people is rural areas. They swarm, hitting people with doubts and dissatisfaction. No matter how blessed, or wise, or knowledgeable, or rich a person is, he often feels like he's missing something because he doesn't live in the Big City. And even if a person has conquered the Dwarves of the Corn, everyone around him suffers their taunts and constantly tells him, either directly or indirectly, that he is poor compared to people in the Big City, or untested because he has not grappled with the people in the Big City, or weak because he does not contend with the Big City, or ignorant because he does not see the things that happen in the Big City.
"They are, of course, lies. The Big City makes a person neither wiser nor more knowledgeable. The Big City has many advantages, but the people in the Big City rarely avail themselves of the advantages, and when they arrogantly disdain the towns' lack of culture, they are merely referring to the lack of eating and consuming places, which are, of course, among the most base pursuits. Good things, yes, but base and scarcely more elevating than a cow's choice of pastures.
"The Great Things are available to everyone in every place. In every tenement of clay, regardless of location or station, happiness and goodness and widsom are attainable. But many people do not know it, and instead relish the quest for money and dizzying amounts of entertainment as the worthwhile things.
"This inability to see the primary importance of the Great Things is what makes the lies of the Dwarves of the Corn so effective. And when their lies become effective, the result is a weakening of our basic fibers–the fibers found in small things, like the communities in the Growing Places. The result is an uprooting of people and the corresponding weakening of that most important small thing, the family. Because the foundation of everything is smallness, by spreading seeds of discontent there, the Dwarves sew discontent in everything.”
Here Mr. Rufus interrupted Malcolm and asked, “So the Dwarves of the Corn battle against smallness? Surely there is great irony here.”