Etwas the Elf

Etwas the Elf
Our heroine, photo by Maia Ycot

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The elf and the duck that flew.

Once upon a time, Etwas the Elf was running through the forests of grass, under the canopies of clover and around the stems of tall flowers when she saw, falling from the sky what might have been the biggest, prettiest unyanked tail she had ever seen.  It was downy and white and pointed away from her as though in challenge.  Down came the tail, and the duck to which it was attached, and Etwas scrambled to stay underneath.

Finally, Etwas followed the tail to the edge of a pond and watched the tail turn up towards the sky and then follow the rest of the duck down under water.  Soon the duck re-emerged into the center of the pond with a fish in its mouth, dangling by its own tail.

"Cheeky!" thought Etwas and then, grimly,  "It's on."  Etwas dove into the water using, of course, a butterfly stroke, but long before she got near pulling distance of the duck's tail, the bird paddled once or twice and was far away.  So Etwas swam to the edge of the pond, under an oak tree and made a boat from a fallen leaf and carved the end of a twig to make a paddle.  Off she went into the pond but still the duck was faster.

She rowed herself back to shore, this time beneath a willow tree.  With her tiny knife, she cut branches and collected willow leaves and made herself a fast catamaran.  She cut through the water like a knife but before she could catch up to the duck, it lifted itself off the water and flew over her head, quacking in triumph before landing across the pond..

So the little Elf rowed itself back to the shore and sat contemplating the elusiveness of a waterfowl's hind quarters when she had another idea.  She pulled the oakleaf boat over the top of herself and the willow leaf catamaran and again set out toward the tailfeathers of a duck.

Now, every duck knows that if you don't want to lose a feather you must watch out for elves on catamarans.  But whoever fretted an oakleaf rowing a catamaran?  Soon Etwas was in among the tailfeathers and gave the softest, whitest one a good jerk.

"Quack!" yelled the duck, no longer in triumph but in surprise and aggravation.  She took off high in the sky with the laughing little elf hanging on from the rear.  The duck rolled and loop-de-looped before Etwas' boat separated from its downy pier and Etwas dived after it.  If you're an elf, willow leaves make great water skis, but poor parachutes.  Luckily, she landed in a soft pile of birch leaves and bounced twice.

And ever since then, Etwas has believed that the battle may go to the strong and the race to the swift, but only the subtle will tug a duck's butt.


  1. That Etwas, always yanking tail!

    (read it to her a little past midnight...hope that's still alright ;)

  2. If she didn't complain, how could I?

  3. "There's a universal puddle
    In which we every bob

    And each one touches every one
    A muddy, wetted mob. ... "