THE ELF by Alma Dawn Orrock Chapter 1: The Spring The sun was shining through the large redwood trees. Butterflies were flitting here and there, trying to stay out of the way of some very busy bees. Birds were flying from branch to branch. A bluebird almost collided with a robin. After screeching and scolding each other, feathers were somewhat ruffled; but the need to find twigs to build their nests hurried them on their way. A rabbit running by put up both her ears and stopped. After she was sure it was safe, she ran past a big tree stump and popped down into a hole in the ground. Inside the hole were lots of little bunnies. She nuzzled each little nose in greeting. It was spring in the Redwood Forest. On the edge of the forest was a rather small, but neat house. Mr. and Mrs. Buffington and their two children lived in the little house. The boy's name was Ben, and the girl's name was Emily. Ben had big brown eyes and dark brown hair. Emily had round blue eyes and long blonde hair. She was two years younger than Ben. Emily had just had her eighth birthday. Sometimes Emily's hair would fall in her face, so Mrs. Buffington often put her hair in braids. Two nice ribbons were tied in big bows on the end of each braid. Most of the time, Ben and Emily played very well together. Today was not one of those times! "Ben! Emily! Go outside and find something to do, and stop arguing! You've been in the house all morning. It's a beautiful day outside. Somehow, the sound of being outside stopped their arguing, and an idea popped into Emily's head. "Mom," said Emily. "May we have a picnic in the woods? We'll be good to each other if we can. Can we please? Can we please, please, please?' "If it will keep you two from quarreling, alright," said Mrs. Buffington. Mrs. Buffington was a very good cook. She especially made excellent cookies. Oh yes, her cookies were special, and right now there was a whole jar full of them! Of course, Mrs. Buffington didn’t just put cookies in their lunch. She put in carrots and sandwiches and a bottle of water. Mrs. Buffington was a very good mother. Chapter Two: More Than Lunch In The Lunch Box Ben and Emily hopped and ran and skipped all the way into the Redwood Forest. "Mom was right, it's a great day today!" said Ben. I wish we could have an adventure," said Emily. They put their lunch pail on a nice, almost flat, rock under a big redwood tree. They opened the pail and each took out a cookie. (After all, they were children.) Soon, tired from running and jumping over logs and around trees and through the ferns, they sat down on a nice little log and ate half their sandwiches and part of their carrots. Of course, all the cookies were eaten, except for a few little crumbs in the bottom of the lunch pail. The afternoon sun was high in the sky, making the children feel cozy and sleepy. They were soon fast asleep on the warm, brown earth. The wide, green ferns surrounding them looked like graceful fairies blowing in the summer breezes. Large, dark clouds started gathering in the sky and soon there was more than a breeze; there was a strong wind blowing. Up on a limb, right above the lunch box, sat a young and lonely elf. He was sitting there crying. Somehow, he had lost his family and all his aunts and uncles and cousins. 'Where did they go?" he moaned. 'Oh, where did they go?" He was crying so hard he hadn't noticed how strong the wind was. Oops! A big gust of wind lifted him right off the limb. Down. . . down. . . down. . . into the lunch box he fell, onto a half- eaten sandwich. Another gust of wind blew the lid of the lunch pail closed! There was only a little, muffled sound coming from the lunch box; but if the lid had been opened, you would have heard a very loud, 'HELP!" Of course, since it was a small elf, to us it would only have been a very small, “Help!" Big raindrops started plopping down through the trees. Faster and faster the rain came. Some of the raindrops splashed down on Ben and Emily, waking them from their nap. Ben grabbed the lunch box and they both ran for home. What a jarring experience that was for little Elf! Now he was not only sad, but very, very scared. Chapter Three: The Mouse Hole Poor, poor little Elf. He was so shaken up by the time the children reached their house. His head was all in a whirl. Suddenly, he felt himself flying upside down, as the lunch box was thrown onto a kitchen chair. Pop! went the latch on the lunch box. Little Elf sat up slowly, rubbing his head where he felt a small bump, and crawled over to the opening, pushing up the lid of the box. Where was he? Where were the trees? Where was his family? Oh, boo hoo, hoo! He started crying again. After a while, little Elf quieted down. He was so tired of crying. He peeked out of the lunch box. Lifting the lid, he very carefully climbed out. He couldn't see the sky. All he could see was the kitchen. Now, of course, he didn't know what a kitchen was; he only knew it all looked very strange. Climbing carefully down the leg of the chair (he was very good at climbing), he saw a little hole. Quickly, he ran across the floor and into that little hole, just before a big yellow thing jumped at him. Chapter Four: Emily’s Bedroom Mrs. Buffington called to the children, "Ben! Emily! You left the lunch box sitting on the chair. Come and clean it out, put it away, and set the table for supper." The children obediently ran into the kitchen. Bumping into each other, they almost knocked the lunch box onto the floor. It’s a good thing Elf had found his way out. After supper the little family came together for scriptures and prayers. Giving hugs and kisses, Mr. and Mrs. Buffington sent the children off to their beds. Little Elf looked around the hole he was hiding in. He had very good eyes and could see very well in the dark. He wondered if he was in a rabbit hole. No. It was not that big, but it seemed to be very long. He carefully walked and walked and walked until he came to a bigger opening. The inside of this hole looked more like a little room. Of course there was nothing in it but a little moldy cheese left by the last occupant, who had obviously moved away. Now the little elf was also very tired and lay down on the floor of his little room to sleep. Just as his eyes were beginning to close, he heard a noise. Then he heard a voice call, "Good night, Ben." A light came on and was shining through the opening of his hole. Little Elf hardly dared to move. Quietly he crawled over to the hole opening, peeking out just as the light went off. He saw a very big girl climbing into a very big bed. Remember, little Elf could see very well in the dark. Elf was a little frightened. Everything was so new and strange. Elf wished he was home in his own little bed, but right now he was too tired to worry and wonder anymore, so he settled back into his hole and went to sleep. Chapter Five: The Doll House Morning came to the redwoods and the little house by the woods. Strange noises woke up little Elf. Elf peeked out of his hole. Elf was amazed at seeing the big girl he had seen last night playing with a doll as big as he was. By the bed sat a beautiful little house. What a nice house," he thought. Mrs. Buffington called, "Ben, Emily, come and get your breakfast. We're going to town soon. Be sure to make your beds and say your prayers before you leave your rooms."