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A Lonely Elf (standard:fairy tales, 9878 words)
Author: J.A. AarntzenAdded: Oct 17 2005Views/Reads: 2769/1527Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Four young elves try to amuse their grumpy Uncle Egbert and discover the old elf's emptiness.


“What do you like doing best?” 

The suddenness of tone startled Diddo.  He had just nodded off to sleep.
He was not expecting to hear the sound of a voice. 

“Diddo!  I was just speaking to you!”  The words were sharp.  This was a
complete contrast to the usual dull drone that came from Uncle Egbert's 

Diddo opened his eyes and saw the bulging body of the wood elf sitting
in the wooden stool across from him.  It took a brief moment for him to 
gather in his surroundings.  He realized that he had fallen asleep on 
his chair at the big elfin table.  A quick glance about the oaken 
furniture told him that Ho, Hum, and Kiddo had stolen off to bed. 

Once again he was left to entertain the visiting uncle on his own. 
Uncle Egbert was a nice sort whom all four elves loved dearly.  He was 
kind and he was generous.  He was every inch a grand-elf.  But there 
was one thing about Uncle Egbert that nobody liked.  Whenever you got a 
chance to talk to him all that he would do was complain about this and 
that.   It was because of this that all the others avoided him so much. 
 Diddo didn't understand why he put up with the cantankerous grand-elf 
so much. 

“What do you like doing best?  That's the question that I asked you
Diddo.”  There was a hint of anger in Egbert's voice but it was 
sounding mostly like that dull drone again. 

Diddo did not know what Uncle Egbert expected in the way of an answer to
his question.  What do you like to do best?  He thought over the 
question.  There were many things that he liked doing.  It was hard to 
decide which one that he liked doing best. 

Apparently he was taking too long for all of a sudden Uncle Egbert
snapped at him, “Are you going to answer my question or do I go home 
not knowing what is important to my nephew?” 

Suddenly Diddo replied, “I like to make candles the best.”  It was true
that he enjoyed candle making as a hobby but whether it was his honest 
favourite thing to do was another question. 

“Candles?  You don't say!”  Uncle Egbert exclaimed.  “When I was a young
elf, I used to fancy myself a fine candle-maker.  I thought of making 
it my lifelong craft.” 

“But you are a wood elf, Uncle Egbert, and a wood elf cleaves only to
stick and bark!”  Diddo said teasingly.  He knew that this would get 
Uncle Egbert's goat even though his billy was back in the home country. 

“A wood elf's first love is the tree but that does not mean that he
cannot appreciate the other fine things that life can offer.  And this 
my dear nephew can include the fashioning of aromatic paraffin.” 

Uncle Egbert's expression clearly showed Diddo that he did not take the
taunt in a light jest that meant that Diddo had hurt the feelings of 
the good Uncle.  Perhaps the young Egbert did not want to be a worker 
of wood.  Maybe he wanted to be a candle-maker more than Diddo 
realized.  Diddo had to remember that Egbert had grown up in sterner 
times than did he and his brothers.  Back then, you had to become what 
you were born to do and Uncle Egbert was born a wood elf. 

“I'm sorry good Uncle,”  Diddo apologized.  “It never occurred to me
that you ever wanted to be anything but a wood elf.” 

“It was only a passing fancy but I did set the boles for a few.” 

“They must have been good candles,” Diddo said.  He felt the weight of
Egbert's gray eyes upon him. 

“Why?” the Uncle asked.  “Why do you say they must have been good?  I
have given you no indication about the quality of my candles.” 

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