Elf Child (Elfenkind)

by saron

he sat crying next to the brook. Was everything really going to come to an end? Would she never again play or sing here, or hunt for smooth pebbles? Never again laugh with the little nymphs or see who could jump the farthest? Little tears ran down her cheeks and mingled with the clear waters of the gurgling brook.
What had the Eldest of the elves’ council said? “We must leave this forest because the humans have forgotten us. They no longer believe in us, they only believe what they can see with their eyes. But we can only be seen with the eyes of the heart, and this they have forgotten how to do. We must die if no one thinks of us any longer, so let us go to Ophir. That is our only alternative.” And everyone in the elves’ council had agreed except for the old and experienced Hazel fairy, who had always thought differently.
“Let us stay one more week,” she suggested. “If in this week no human thinks of us or mentions us by name, then we will go.”

Elf Child had been happy. Surely in one week someone would say “elf”, if only once, or read their children a fairy tale about them. After all, there were such nice stories. But today was the last day and nothing had happened! Everyone was busy packing and it was curiously quiet in the Elf Forest.

Even the usually jolly Elderflower Fairy wasn’t singing. Elf Child looked at her own reflection in the brook and noticed that her tears were now like little pearls dancing, rocking and bobbing towards the village in which the humans lived. Maybe it was a sign? Elf Child ran to her parents very excitedly. “Listen,” she said, “I will go to the humans and wake them so that they are able to see again.”
“You? What will you do? The humans don’t deserve us,” said her mother, and her father added, “Come, be sensible Elf Child. How will you manage what we could not?”
“Dreamer, dreamer!” her brothers teased and only Elf Child’s little sister who was just about as big as a hand encouraged her and said, “I would so like to come along and help you, but they won’t let me. But you can and will succeed. I know this from Saron the Wizard! Good luck dear Elf Child and be careful!”
Elf Child put on her finest dress made of the sweet, deeply dreamed dreams of the humans, which made her invisible to the people in the village. For according to the ancient laws, elves can only be seen with the eyes of the heart. Light as a feather she fluttered along the path. But her journey was unexpectedly difficult. She almost got her delicate dress caught in the thorny blackberry brambles if an owl had not screeched a warning at the last moment, “Be careful, be careful!”
Then, just as Elf Child reached the village it began to snow. Eagerly she knocked at the first door. A man opened the door, looked around, muttered something into his beard and shut it. Wherever she tried, it was the same story. Elf Child was horrified.
“They really can’t see us any more. Their hearts no longer have eyes,” she whispered and made her way towards an inn in which a number of people were loudly celebrating. Elf Child was shivering and would have liked to warm up a bit, but didn’t feel up to going inside. This kind of celebration was strange to her. So she tugged at the bell string. A grouchy innkeeper put his head out of the door. “Who was that? Just wait till I catch you, you young rascals!” he shouted furiously. “I don’t have time for such jokes. So many guests, got to earn money!” He hadn’t seen her! Even the people in the small market that sold all kinds of knick-knacks did not notice Elf Child.
They only thought of their money, their work, their pleasures. They did not think of others, and little elves, of course, were out of the question.

Elf Child was freezing. She was tired and exhausted when she finally found the village church. She pushed open the creaking door. Inside it was cold and still. Elf Child huddled on one of the empty benches. The snow in her hair melted and dripped on to her soaked dress. “They really don’t know us any longer, we are lost. We must go away from here,” she whispered and looked with big eyes at the old cross that hung over the altar. “And they no longer know you either,” she sighed and her eyes dropped shut.

When she awoke she was lying in a small bed and next to her lay a big human girl with long black hair and black eyes. “Where am I? What happened?” asked Elf Child surprised.
“I found you in the church and because you were so cold I took you along and carried you to my bed. And now I am warming you.”
“You can see me? You can see me with your heart?!!” Elf Child sat up and smiled. “How late is it?” she cried impatiently.
“It will soon be midnight,” replied the girl and was surprised when Elf Child started dancing happily about the room crying, “We are saved, we are saved!” She told the surprised girl the whole story.
“Perhaps I can see you because I am a child. But tell me little elf, why did you come to us humans in the snow and freezing cold?” asked the girl.
“Because I love you,” said Elf Child and smiled.
“I too love you,” replied the little girl and stroked her hand lightly over Elf Child.

The next morning Elf Child left early for she missed her forest very much. And she missed her little sister, from whom she wanted to hear more about Saron the Wizard.

And should you ever miss an elf, it is wonderful because then they will
always live with us and never have to go to Ophir.

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© P. Eitner