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Reflections from the Paradise of Elves  by Bodkin

The Paradise of Elves – Part 38:   Management


‘What are you doing here?’ Legolas enquired as he slipped into the hayloft.  The fresh scent of the meadow grasses filled the confined space, and the sunlight slanting through the narrow window gleamed on the golden sheaves.

‘Shh,’ Elladan looked up with a grin. ‘Look.’  He indicated a large knothole in the boards that made up the floor.

His friend crouched beside the twins and peered into the stable below. There was no horse standing patiently in the stall, but instead a group of elflings huddled over a pile of straw in the corner.

‘No Elrin,’ Legolas observed.  ‘That always strikes me as ominous.  He usually manages to keep the intention, at least, within reasonable bounds.’

‘You would not say that if you had just had to deal with his naneth’s reaction to his decision to miss his lessons and go with his friends to explore a cave they had found. Miriwen was frantic when they had not returned by nightfall.’

‘It probably made sense to him.’

‘Legolas – he is an elfling.  Remember what you were like.  The most bizarre things make sense to you at that age.’

His friend grinned.  ‘He returned safely – and I am certain you have ensured that is one error he will not repeat.’

Elladan sighed. ‘The trouble is that he is endlessly finding new things to do.’

‘If you think Elrin causes you worry, try having my pair,’ Elrohir’s voice sounded gloomy.  ‘I have just spent an hour listening to Mothwen’s complaints about Aewlin and Nimloth coming home covered in pondweed and hiding their clothes in among the best linens.  Apparently both the linens and their clothes are beyond redemption – and she did not even think to query what the twins had been doing to get themselves in such a state.  Sirithiel is going to be most upset – again. If either of you can think or an effective penalty short of chaining each of my offspring to a minder, I would be glad to hear of it.’

‘I think Galenthil might have been involved in that incident,’ Legolas said thoughtfully.  ‘Adar caught him by chance the other day, dripping his way across the entrance hall, and sent him to me.  I did not enquire whether he had company in the water.’

‘Did he, by any chance, say what they were doing?’

 ‘He said he had been told that there was a huge pike in the pond – and he thought that, if he were to climb right out over the water, he might be able to see it.’

‘I did not think that there were any branches that stretch over the pond.’ Elrohir frowned.

‘There are not.  But he thought – notice how he very carefully failed to mention the names of any co-conspirators – that if he climbed a sapling birch to the very top it would lean over the water and that would do just as well.’

Elladan closed his eyes.  ‘I imagined it worked in the way that such ingenious ideas always do.’

‘Oh yes – right up to the moment of no return, when the tree proved too young to support his weight and deposited him into the middle of the pond.’

‘And, then, I suspect,’ Elrohir said thoughtfully, ‘Nimloth leaped in to help him and Aewlin jumped after her.’

‘Did they find the pike?’ Elladan enquired curiously.

‘If you were a pike, would you remain anywhere near three splashing elflings?’

‘Well,’ Elrohir sighed. ‘At least that gives me some idea of what questions to ask.’

‘What are they doing now?’ Legolas enquired.

‘The stable cat has had kittens,’ Elladan told him simply.  ‘They are working on a scheme to persuade their loving parents that they really, really need to be permitted to adopt them as pets.’

‘That seems harmless,’ offered Legolas.

‘But the scheme Aewlin has just hatched,’ his friend grinned, ‘is for them to catch and introduce to our houses as many mice and voles and shrews as they can trap in their grubby little hands – in the sure belief that we will be far happier to welcome those squeaking kittens if they are to defend us against the rodents.’

‘She is devious enough to be worthy of her ancestry,’ Legolas said with respect.

‘That sounds like a barb aimed at Daernaneth,’ Elrohir informed his brother.  ‘Of course you realise we could render this plot worthless very simply.’


‘All we need to do is join them – and invite them to select the kittens they wish to take home with them.  They will then have no need to persecute us – and we will be in favour with our elflings as loving adars.’

‘But,’ Elladan reflected, ‘we should not be hasty.  That could possibly – and more importantly – put us equally out of favour with our wives.  Let us show our wisdom, my friends.  We will wait and see.’


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