Etwas the Elf

Etwas the Elf
Our heroine, photo by Maia Ycot

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Elf, the Owl, The Mouse, The Can, The Cat and The Tangle of Yarn (Now with termites!)

Once upon a time, Etwas the Elf was running through the forests of tall grass, under the canopies of clover and around the stems of the tall flowers when she heard a sound.  "Ccccow!" said the sound.

Etwas looked around and saw no source of the noise.

"Kkkkki" said the sound.

"Kakamakalooki!" answered Etwas, in the sound's language.

The elf darted around among the foxtails and found a termite mound.  Etwas ran a butterfly pattern to the top of the mound, avoiding the snapping mandibles of the termites.  Off in the distance she saw an owl struggling to fly, which had been making all the noise.

"Wait for me, Ms. Owl!" Etwas yelled and hurried back down the hill, leaping from termite to termite as she went.  In a few minutes she found the owl.  It had a mouse in it's talon.  Around the mouse and around the talon was some yarn the mouse had been carrying to its nest when its capture had made a tangle of all three.  On the ground, the yarn was caught around a gigantic metal cylinder with an open metal top into which the paw of a cat was set insistently.

Etwas loved to help but it seemed she couldn't help everyone.  She could cut the yarn with her little dagger but then the mouse would be eaten.  She could take the can from the cat, easily the least sympathetic part of the puzzle, but then the mouse would suffer the indignity of carrying cat food to its last banquet. If she climbed the yarn to free the mouse, the owl would be hungry.

Finally the solution dawned on her.  She crept up behind the cat and yelled "woof!" and the cat jumped, sticking the paw further into the can of food.  Away it ran, pulling the mouse and the owl behind it like a box kite.  Soon the cat and her kite hied up the side of a birch tree where the bark scratched the yarn.  The whole menagerie stopped at a nest of baby robins.  The frayed yarn pulled apart and the owl flew home with a beautiful blue egg, the cat crept off to sulk and the mouse stayed and shared the canned food with Robins.

And ever since then, whenever a problem gets too complicated, Etwas always looks for an extra constituent to consider.