Morgely the Elf
by Ann Schwarz
Morgely was the tiniest elf in her forest glen. She had fine blond hair like spider silk and large blue eyes.
Morgely lived with her uncle in a large oak tree along with a large great horned owl and a family of squirrels. She was also the only child in the glen who was failing at being an elf.
All the elves sent their children to a special school for elves. Each day they met in the center of the forest glen and each day one of the elf elders would instruct them on the various elf talents.
One lesson was on growing plants and tending the forest wild flowers and vegetation. Each elf child was given a seed or bulb to care for. They were shown how to plant the seeds, how to water them and sing to them just right for them to grow into a beautiful flower or fern or other special plant.
All the elf children managed to grow their plant. Some were almost as lovely as one of the head gardens elf's own plants. Others were on the spindly side but at the garden elf's touch became strong healthy plants.
Morgely sang to her seed and watered it everyday. A tiny plant sprouted and began to grow. But instead of blooming when Morgely sang to it sent out shoots everywhere and began to take over all the gardens in the glen like an ugly weed.
It took weeks for garden elf to get the plant under control and convince it that it was a flower and not a weed. Morgely was discouraged from tending any more plants in the glen.
Another lesson the elf children were taught how to collect spider silk from weaver elf's spider friends. They were taught how to weave the silk into beautiful blankets to help keep them warm for the winter.
Morgely spoke quietly to the spiders and was able to collect her spider silk without any mishap. But when she began to weave her blanket everything went wrong. The spider silk snarled into a knotty mess and her blanket was the ugliest thing weaver elf had ever seen.
When weaver elf held it up to examine her work Morgely turned red with embarrassment. All the other elf children snickered and the spiders were so insulted by what Morgely had done with their silk that they threatened to pack up their webs and leave.
Morgely felt like the worst elf ever. The elder elves all shook their heads in wonder at all her misfortune. How could she be so remarkably untalented? Her uncle was the most gifted elf in the glen. He was a healer elf and there were very few ailments he could not heal.
Morgely decided that she could not live in the glen or attend elf school anymore. She was tired of all the other elf children teasing her and laughing at her accidents and mistakes. She was sick of watching the patient elders disappointment at all her many failures. And most of all she could not stand to see her uncle shake his head in embarrassment at the end of each day.
Morgely decided to run away.
The night was warm and the moon was full but it was still spooky out in the forest at night alone.
Morgely found a large mushroom to sit under and gathered moss for a pillow and tried to fall asleep. But there were too many strange noises around her. She could not close her eyes.
Suddenly a huge shadow passed over her and two large feet with sharp talons landed next to where she lay.
Morgely huddled under her mushroom and tried not to even breath.
"Do you think it is wise for you to be out here alone?" A deep voice asked her.
It was the great horned owl that lived above them in the oak tree.
"I don't care. I can't stand to fail at anything else," Morgely said.
"Perhaps you are right," the owl agreed. "If I eat you for my supper you will not have to worry about failing at anything ever again."
"You would eat your own neighbor?" Morgely asked in outrage.
"You are not my neighbor, you ran away remember?"
Morgely did not know what to do. If she admitted that she was in the wrong the owl would eat her. If she tried to run away he would surely catch her and eat her then too.
"My uncle was the one who healed your wing for you when it was hurt. If you eat me you would be hurting him," Morgely said.
"Your uncle would never know I ate you. You are here all alone so there is no one here to tell him," owl said.
"But you would see him everyday all alone wondering whatever happened to me. It would be just like when my parents disappeared," Morgely said.
"Ah," said the owl. "This is true. Of course by running away without telling him where you went and why would cause him the same sadness."
Morgely realized that the owl was right. By running away she would be causing her uncle the pain of never knowing what happened to her.
"I think you might find that running away from one problem can sometimes mean running toward other problems like being eaten by hungry owls. Have you thought about how you will survive the cold winter ahead or how you will be able to feed yourself?" Owl asked her.
"No," Morgely said.
"Well I guess this one time I can promise not to eat you and help you get safely home. But you must promise that you will think long and hard about it before you ever decide to runaway again," owl said.
"Thank you owl. I promise not to leave home again without permission from my uncle," Morgely said in relief.
When Morgely got home all the lights were on in the tree as well as in several of the other houses in the glen. Morgely's uncle grabbed her close in a hug when he saw her then he thanked the other elders gathered in the center of the glen and took her home. Morgely told her uncle about why she had runaway and of her conversation with owl.
"I think you might have found a talent," her uncle said.
"Really," Morgely said. "What talent is that?"
"You can speak owl," her uncle said.
"But I thought you and everyone knew how to speak with owls and other animals?" Morgely said.
"Most elves are able to communicate simple thoughts to animals. But only a few are able to speak with them like you did," said her uncle.
"What kind of talent is that exactly?"
"It is simply the talent known as animal speech. It comes in handy for healer elves."
"You mean I could be a healer like you?" Morgely said in excitement.
"It is very likely you might be someday. And Morgely I want you to know I was never embarrassed by you. I was simply sad that you were having such a hard time finding your talent. But I never doubted that you would have one."
"Oh uncle I am sorry," Morgely said. "I am sorry I ran away and that I didn't talk to you about how I felt."
"I love you Morgely," her uncle said.
"I love you too," Morgely said climbing into his lap to give him a big hug.