Tag: elves

Charlie’s Room: Little Mittens

Every evening when the weather was cold, Isaac left out a saucer of milk on the counter. Marianne and Charlie both asked about it a few times. He told them it was for passing hobgoblins who often migrated this time of year.

He really wasn’t sure whether they believed him or not, but they accepted it as a seasonal part of his bedtime routine. When the leaves changed colors and the air grew crisp, it was time to take out the little white saucer. They smiled when they saw it.

“It is getting a little chilly out,” Marianne said.

“It’s officially fall now,” Charlie agreed. “Dad’s leaving milk out on the counter.”

Some mornings the milk was gone. Some mornings it wasn’t. He never knew when hobgoblins or even brownies or fairies would be passing through. So, he always made sure to leave out the milk.

One morning, the milk was gone, and next to the saucer was a tiny pair of black and white striped mittens. Isaac, who had been reaching for the saucer, paused and looked around. No one in sight.

Perhaps they were just waiting for him to leave the room before coming back for their mittens. He quickly washed the saucer and put it away. Then he left the room for a little while. He could eat breakfast later.

But later, when Charlie and Marianne were ready for breakfast and they all went into the kitchen, the little mittens were still there. Charlie picked them up and stuck his fingertips into the mittens, stretching them out of shape. “I know Aunt Doris still things I’m little, but this is ridiculous.”

Marianne laughed. “Aunt Doris didn’t send those. They look like doll mittens. I wonder where they came from.”

“Some hobgoblins must have left them,” Isaac said. “It’s the right time of year for them, and the mittens were right by the empty saucer this morning.”

Marianne smiled brightly and nodded. “That’s right, the hobgoblins. And they report to Santa, don’t they? So you’d better be good, Charlie.”

“I thought it was elves that reported to Santa.” Charlie frowned. “And I’m always good. When am I not good? I don’t need goblins watching me.”

“Maybe we could bake cookies for the goblins later.” Marianne started shuffling through the box of cookie cutters. “They’d have to be little cookies, of course.”

Charlie sat up straighter. “Cookies? Sure. We could bake some for the goblins and some for us, right?”

“They’re hobgoblins,” Isaac corrected, but they were too busy hunting through the cookie cutters, and he needed to leave for work. He let it be.

That evening, he left the mittens and cookies by the saucer of milk before bed. After reading to Charlie, he joined Marianne in the living room. She looked up from her book when he sat down.

“Goblin mittens? That was such a cute idea. Where did you find them?” she asked.

“Hobgoblin mittens. They were there by the saucer.” Isaac shrugged.

Marianne laughed. “I see. Well, I look forward to seeing if they leave anything behind tomorrow.”

The next morning, there was a little thank you note by the saucer. The mittens and cookies were gone. Marianne and Charlie started leaving small things for the hobgoblins from time to time, and the hobgoblins always left a thank you note. However, they never left behind any more mittens.

Philosophical Discussion Over Spring Water

Winterborn listened to the breeze rustle through his leaves and felt the sharp chill of the spring water in his roots and the warm sun at his back. The forest hummed with all the living that seems to burst into a crescendo in the summertime.

Louder still were the footsteps that approached the spring. Winterborn opened his eyes, just enough to see the visitor. The light that filtered through his leaves made dappled patterns on the surface of the spring. A little elf with hair the color of new leaves sat on the bank of the spring, legs crossed. He nodded at Winterborn. “Father of this glen, may I share this spring?”

“The spring is here for all who are in need, child.” Winterborn watched as the elf took a small white cup by the handle and dipped it in the spring, leaving rings of ripples.

The elf sipped the water and smiled. “The water is sweet.”


A butterfly landed on one of the blossoms of a nearby bush. The elf put down his cup and leaned forward to look more closely. “Two delicate and beautiful creatures. Sisters in spirit, both at the height of their beauty.”

Winterborn shook his branches in laughter. Elves loved poetry and appearances. “I don’t think that’s quite right. One would have to be the younger sister, yet to reach her metamorphosis.”

The elf turned the cup in his hands. “I don’t understand.”

“That’s a berry bush. The blossom is like a caterpillar, waiting for its change into the bright berry.”

“But a berry isn’t as lovely as a blossom,” the elf protested. “The blossom is so delicate and fleeting, more like the lovely butterfly.”

“Many think that children are more charming than adults. They are certainly more delicate. But I think that the squirrel and the rabbit who visit this bush in late summer would be happy to debate with you over the loveliness of the berries.”

“So flowers are like caterpillars?” The elf looked at the blossoms suspiciously. “That just doesn’t seem right.”

“It depends on the flower. All fruit comes from flowers, but that does not mean that all flowers become fruits.”

The elf watched the butterfly float on the breeze and choose another blossom to land on. “Do some butterflies become something else?”

“No, butterflies are like flowers that never grow into anything else.” Winterborn stretched out his branches just a tiny bit further into the sunlight.

“Like children who won’t grow up?” The elf was still watching the butterfly.

“No, like elves or trees that grow to the right size and then don’t change at all.”

“Ah.” The elf sipped his spring water and was quiet for a while.

A stronger breeze swept through the glade around the spring, scattering a few loose leaves and whisking the butterfly away.

The elf looked up from his cup. “But should we change and become something better?”

Winterborn’s branches shook again in laughter. “Can’t we become better without becoming something else?”

“But the butterfly and the berry blossom…” The elf began, and then paused as if uncertain what he wanted to say next.

“The butterfly and the berry blossom are not trees or elves or rabbits or squirrels. They have their growth to attend to just as we have ours. If there is life and growth and improvement, does it matter that it looks different for each one?”

The elf smiled and put his cup away. “Truly you are wise, father tree.”

“Perhaps. I have had more years to stand and think. Your wisdom will come if you continue to think and ask questions.”

The elf stood. “May I come again?”

“The spring is here for all who are in need, child.”

The elf walked away, back the way he came. Winterborn closed his eyes and listened to the breeze rustle through his leaves and felt the sharp chill of the spring water in his roots.

Charlie’s Room: The Favorite Mug

It was a day where the weather seemed determined to remain dreary. The sun threatened to peek through the clouds, but never did. It was too warm for thick coats and too cold for thin coats. The snow didn’t melt all the way, but remained slushy. It spilled onto the walkways and mixed with mud and brown, dead leaves that stuck to everyone’s shoes and froze their feet and ankles.

Charlie wanted to collect pine cones for a school project. Marianne had paperwork to do, so Isaac and Charlie walked to the park nearby. Once they arrived, Charlie forgot all about his project and ran over to the swings. He reached out for the closest swing and paused.

He whirled and frowned. “They’re all wet.”

“You could try to shake the water off.”

Charlie trudged through the slush back to the path. “That’s no good. It won’t work.”

“Well, let’s just go look at the big pine tree then.” Isaac led the way to the tree. He had to jump to pull down the lowest branches. They found two pine cones.

“That’s not enough. Are there any other branches you can reach?” Charlie looked around the park. “What about those bushes? They look like they might be little pine trees.”

“Let’s go see.” Isaac followed Charlie this time, trying to step on the firmest bits of mud or snow. His jeans were soaked halfway to the knees. He couldn’t feel his toes.

Charlie found five more little pine cones on the bushes. “Do you see any more?” he asked.

Isaac looked at the bushes. “No. Do you have enough for your project?”

“I guess so. Let’s go home.”

They changed out of their muddy shoes and clothes and into pajamas and slippers. Isaac was sure he’d be grateful to feel his toes again, once they stopped hurting. Charlie met him in the kitchen.

“Can we have hot cocoa? It was cold outside.”

Isaac smiled. “Of course we can. Let me get out the cocoa mix.”

“I’ll get the mugs and spoons.” Charlie opened the cupboard and started rummaging around. “I want the red one. Where’s yours?”

“It should be in there.” Isaac turned on the stove and started to heat some milk.

“Here it is. Oops.” There was a loud crash.

Isaac turned around. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Charlie was standing next to the shattered remains of Isaac’s favorite mug.

Isaac turned around to turn the stove off and took a deep breath before he turned back to Charlie. “It’s fine. I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Do you think we can fix it?” Charlie reached for one of the pieces.

“Stop, it’s sharp. I’ll clean it up and make the cocoa. Why don’t you show your mom those pine cones, and I’ll call you in when it’s done.”

Charlie’s eyes watered and the edges of his mouth pinched. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to break it.”

“I know. It’s okay.” Isaac gave him a hug and then a little push towards the door. “Go on. I’ll call you back in soon.”

Isaac looked down at the splintered remains of his sky blue mug. It looked like a bit of summer sky lay broken in pieces on the kitchen floor. With a sigh, he got the broom and swept it up. Then he made the cocoa and called in Charlie and Marianne.

Isaac tried to mostly forget the mug. A few days later, he was shuffling through the cupboard for mugs for cocoa again, feeling a little sad. He found Charlie’s red mug and Marianne’s black and white mug. He was reaching for the green mug that no one liked, when he saw something sky blue near the back of the cupboard. This was odd, because his mug was the only sky blue dish they had, and it was broken into tiny pieces and gone. He moved the other cups, and pulled out a sky blue mug.

Was it fixed by brownies or elves like in the story about the shoemaker? Did he need to leave out a saucer of milk to say thank you? Or did modern elves and brownies prefer something else? Orange juice? Cocoa?

Maybe the mug was self-repairing. Did that mean it was sentient? Did it mind being a mug? How would he ask its opinion? It did return to the cupboard, so it must not mind that much.

As Isaac was holding the mug and trying to figure out what happened, Marianne finished mixing up the cocoa. “Oh, I see you found the mug. Charlie insisted we had to get you a new one. We had to go to three different stores to find one just that color.”

Isaac smiled. The mug shone bright in the dim kitchen, just the color of a summer day. When Charlie came in, he gave him a hug. “Thank you for getting me a new mug.”

Charlie smiled. “I’m glad we found one that color. It’s your favorite, right?”

“That’s right.”

They drank their hot cocoa and laughed and talked. Even though the weather was just the same as it had been all week, in their kitchen it felt like the sun had come out at last.

Little Green Trees

On a foggy, rainy day, when the humans were all either inside or rushing down the street with their heads down, neither looking right nor left, the trees had a family reunion. In small groups here and there, the dryads left their trees and floated to the gathering place out in the woods.

They drank deep from the lake and then sat on the soft green moss, waiting for the meeting to begin. Finally, Grandfather Oak stood, his gray-green beard brushing his toes.   “It’s been decades since we last met,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see that there are so many of us left. Everyone will get a chance to tell us what is new in their patch of earth.”

“I don’t think everyone is here yet,” a young city tree said. “The little green trees haven’t arrived.”

“Who are the little green trees?” Grandfather Oak asked. Read More