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Children's Story - Ellya and the Elves


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Tales of the Steppes, a Trilogy - Ellya and the Elves

Icy winds blew across the Siberian Steppes. Ellya knew snows would be here before Christmas. Ellya also knew that to survive the cruel Siberian winter, he would have to get a new warm coat, warm hat, new winter boots with felt insoles and fur mittens. The clothes he stood up in now had seen him through the autumn, but would not see him through a winter in the coldest place on earth.

Ellya had seen 60 summers and 60 winters, a rare feat in this part of the world. His hard work, wisdom and cunning, had kept him alive. He worked cutting fallen wood in the forests and selling it as fuel to the local inhabitants, who used wood burning stoves. It was a hard way to make a living, out early, back late, cutting, chopping, pulling his heavily laden cart himself. He would stand in the market square of the towns and villages, selling faggots of fuel.

But Ellya was getting older and more tired, journeys took longer, fallen wood became scarcer. This winter Ellya realised he must work closer to home, to cut more wood, to earn more money for the winter clothes.

Ellya would have to go into the Enchanted Forest. No one went there, the piles of fallen wood would be huge, but what about the elves Ellya thought. Everyone knew the elves were very jealous of the Enchanted Forest and would harry and frighten anyone brave enough to enter, no - one was brave enough to enter, no - one would dare. Ellya, knew he must get the wood; the elves can do as they please, I need my winter clothes he thought.

Early next morning before sunrise Ellya set out, pulling his well-greased cart. He noiselessly made his way to the Enchanted Forest. He entered the forbidding forest quietly, but as soon as Ellya seen the abundance of fallen wood he forgot all caution and worked loading his cart. The elves were watching, silently, angrily watching. They waited until the cart was nearly full, when Ellya turned from cutting the last bundle of wood, the cart and all its contents had disappeared. Ellya knew the elves had taken his cart because he could hear them laughing in the distance, now Ellya knew he was in trouble his wood and his cart had gone.

This is a crisis, no cart means no wood, no wood means no warm clothes. Ellya realised the only way to avoid disaster is to use his wisdom and cunning. On returning home Ellya thought hard and worked out a ruse. Having been many years on this earth, a woodsman and out- doors man, Ellya knew all about the special plants growing all around. The one in particular, was the resin of a Lattice pine plant. This was used with other natural plants to make powerful glue. Ellya often repaired his wooden shingle roof, his cart and 1001 other things with this strong adhesive.

Ellya also knew how to make a potion with Sage–brush juice to break down the stickiness of the glue, when he needed to take things apart for repair. All through the night Ellya worked, preparing the two concoctions. Next morning very early, Ellya set off for the enchanted forest. He took with him a piece of rope, his old cart, badly worn and rickety, but part of the plan.

Ellya placed the old cart by a stout tree in the enchanted forest. He tied the axle to the stout tree, very tightly. Then he smeared the sticky glue over the handles and sides of the cart. He carried on filling the cart, knowing the elves were watching, waiting, not believing a human would be so silly as to come to their glade for wood again. Just as Ellya prepared the last of the wood, he heard the cries and screams of the Elves. Ellya turned smiling, the elves were stuck fast to the handles and sides of Ellya’s cart. Struggle as they may they could not get free. They could not release their hands and could not move the cart tied firmly to the stout tree.

“Ha”, says Ellya gloatingly. “Now I can take you back to the village, the villagers would love to get their hands on wicked elves, who harass and frighten their children. They’d have special punishments for you.

“Oh please, please sir, spare us”, pleaded the elves. ‘We only want to protect our forest from strangers. What can we do for you to release us”, beg the elves. Ellya scratched his bearded chin, thought deeply, and then said. “I can set you free, but only if you give me an elf’s promise you will agree these conditions.

You return my best cart back with all the wood.
You fill my cart every day with wood from your forest
You pull the cart to my home every day so I may sell the wood.

Well what do you say?’ The Elves had to promise and an elf’s promise Ellya knew is never broken. Ellya then went around each elf pouring the juice over the Elves hands, which released them from the glue.

The Elves of course were delighted and kept their promise bringing Ellyas best cart back and transporting all the wood home. This they done everyday, Ellya soon had his warm clothes and money to spare. But best of all the elves soon realised by helping Ellya and collecting all the fallen wood, they were tyding up their forest, clearing glades and dells making their homes much neater.

Ellya did not have to work at all now, so he used to invite the elves to share his tea with him. The Elves in return allowed Ellya to visit their forest and have honey sip and nectar. They knew Ellya would not tell any one else about their friendship, they trusted him and he trusted them. Ellya said. ” Of my sixty summers and winters, this is truly the best”. 

Tales of the Steppes, a Trilogy - Vasilia the Fair | The Watergate

Contributing Story Teller:   Terry Voyle - ex bricklayer - disabled now writes short stories to fill in long days.

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