Friday, November 9, 2007

The Elves Godmother

There was once a serving girl who worked very hard at her job. She was industrious and clean, and swept the house every day, emptying her sweepings on a great rubbish heap outside of her masters house.

One morning when she was about to begin her morning chores, she found a letter on the rubbish heap. As she could not read, she put her broom in the corner, and took the letter to her employers.

They were all surprised to find that this letter was from the elves of the woodland, who asked the girl to hold a elf-child for them at its Baptism. The girl did not know what to do, but, at length, after much persuasion, her employers convinced her to go, as they told her it was not right to risk insulting the elves by refusing.

The next day, an elf arrived and escorted her, through the forest to his kingdom, which was cunningly hidden beneath a nearby hill. Everything there was small, but more elegant and more beautiful than can be described this side of heaven.

The baby's mother lay in a bed of black ebony ornamented with pearls, the covers were embroidered with gold, the cradle was of ivory, the bath-tub of gold.

The girl stood as godmother, but after a while as guest she wanted to go home again, but the little elves urgently begged her to stay three days with them. So she stayed, and passed the time in pleasure and gaiety, and the little folks did all they could to make her happy. At last she set out on her way home. But first they filled her pockets quite full of money, and then they led her out of the mountain again.

When she got home, she wanted to begin her work, and took the broom, which was still standing in the corner, in her hand and began to sweep. Then some strangers came out of the house, who asked her who she was, and what business she had there.

She was surprised by this, as she had only been gone three days ago by her own reckoning. But after talking with the strangers she found that she had dwelt amongst the elves for seven years and never knew it. Her old master had died and new owners held the house.
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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan