Etwas the Elf

Etwas the Elf
Our heroine, photo by Maia Ycot

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The elf, the witch and the verbose birch

Once upon a time, Etwas the Elf was running through the tall grass, under the canopies of clover and around the stems of tall flowers when a witch flew overhead on her broom.

"Hi, Aunt Granny!" Etwas called.

"'Ello, Etwas," Granny Weatherwax answered, hovering a few feet off the ground.  "I'm off to talk to a tree.  Want to come with me?"

"Sure!" Etwas answered and she shimmied up a venus fly trap, tossed a pebble into the bloom so that the hungry flower snapped shut.  Then Etwas jumped on top of the sealed bloom and into the straw at the back of the witch's broom.  The pair pulled away slowly and the broom rocked and slalomed a few feet to the bottom of a birch tree where they stopped.  The elf looked back at the venus fly trap they had just left as the witch creaked and groaned and stepped down.

Granny Weatherwax opened her arms and danced* around the old birch.  "Oooo-oo-oo-wee" she sang.

"What does 'Ooo-oo-oo-wee' mean in tree?" Etwas asked the witch.

"Oooo-oo-oo-wee," the witch corrected.  "It means 'this is witchcraft, tree.'  It is supposed to convince the tree magic is afoot.  Trees tend to speak up when magic is afoot. That's why I never use magyick.  Makes 'em too long winded.  I once pulled out some eyes of newt to count them while walking under an Elm and had to sit through Three Hundred Years: A Dissertation and Treatise on The Natural and Social History Of This Here Yard."

"What makes witches long-winded," Etwas asked curiously.

"Elves," answered Esme.  "Elves. Ears.  OK, I think my work is done here."  She got back on her broom and waved the little Elf back on.

"Did the tree speak?" asked Etwas.

"Not yet.  I could tell by her silence she was working on some long, tiresome complaint.  No point dancing for that.  Basic headology.  Hop on and I'll explain."

"Oh, thanks, Aunt Granny.  I can walk from here."

And ever since then, elves are cautious around shy witches and verbose trees.

* "Danced," appears here because this is a fairy tale.  Were this journalism, this simple verb would be replaced with the more elaborate but accurate "stumbled sidewise in a circle despite apparent sobriety."


  1. I read somewhere that Aunt Granny's broom is famous for being old and temperamental.