The Elves of Mount Fern
THE ELVES OF MOUNT FERN
Elves of Mount Fern
Author of “Nature Songs and Stories,”
“Nature Sketches,” etc., etc.
Publishers DORRANCE Philadelphia
Copyright 1922 Dorrance & Company Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
lovers of fairies
I dedicate this book
the wonderful “little people”
who helped Cinderella, Prince Prigio and countless
others overcome great difficulties
in the Giant World
|1||The Elves of Mount Fern||11|
|2||The Lawn Party||26|
|5||The King of the Elves Visits Mount Fern||83|
THE ELVES OF MOUNT FERN
The Elves of Mount Fern
The Elves are the dearest and mostmischievous little people in all the wideworld.
They live in Elfland, and Elfland canbe found in every corner of the globe.They take up their abode on wooded hillsides,beside murmuring streams, or indeep, leafy forests. In the dead of night,when all the world is still, they steal forthfrom their dwellings and start on theirmerry midnight rounds. They dance inthe moonlight on soft dewy lawns underwide-spreading trees. They visit theirneighbors and friends among elves, andtheir neighbors and friends among men.
The Elves can see and not be seen; theycan hear and not be heard; and are solight and nimble in their movements thatthey can float through the air like a leafin the wind.
Once upon a time there was a companyof Elves that lived in a stone wall. Theyhad left their home in the forest glade fora season in the Giant World, as theycalled our world—because it seemed sobig to them.
While they were wandering about insearch of a place to settle, they came upona hole in a stone wall that exactly suitedthem, it was so snug and comfortable.The Elves were very much delighted andat once decided to make their home there.
The wall belonged to Dr. Templeton.He liked privacy, and so he had this highstone wall built all around his garden andgrounds.
But Dr. Templeton’s gardener was verylazy and careless, and when some stonesfell out of the wall, he simply rolled themover the bank. That was easier, hethought, than mending the wall; and,besides, the wall was so very thick thata few stones more or less did not matterin the least.
The Elves thought it was very fortunatefor them that the gardener was solazy and careless, and promised themselvesa gay good time with a season inthe Giant World.
The members of this company of Elveswere:
Captain Featherweight, the head of thecompany.
Rainbow, master of ceremonies.
Rhymo, the poet-elf.
Tono, the music-elf.
Lightning, the messenger-elf.
Iris-Wing, the flower-elf.
Touchstone, the jester.
Owly, the wise one.
Slumber, the dream-elf.
After the Elves had made a tour of allthe grounds around Templeton Hall, theirCaptain called them together to decideupon a name for their new home.
“Let us call our new home ‘Scale-Cliff’,”said Tono, the music-elf.
“A very pretty idea,” said Rainbow,“but don’t you think ‘Rocklight’ wouldbe prettier still?”
“‘Rocklight’ won’t do at all,” saidSlumber, the dream-elf, “because it suggestswakefulness—so I propose that wecall it ‘Slumber-Nest’ instead.”
“Can’t you think of anything butdreams and slumber?” asked Iris-Wing,the flower-elf. “I wouldn’t live in a placewith a name like ‘Slumber-Nest’, and soI move that we call our new home ‘Rose-Bower.’”
“Pooh! pooh!” said Owly, the wise one,“‘Rose-Bower’ suggests a garden, and agarden isn’t a house, so I think you’ll allagree with me that ‘Stone-Wall-Gap’ ismuch more appropriate.”
“We don’t agree, Owly,” said severalof the Elves at once.
But here Captain Featherweight calledthe meeting to order, and ended all disputeby declaring that the name of thenew home should be “Mount Fern”, becausethere was a fern growing just below,at the foot of the wall.
As a rule, the Elves lived in peace andharmony, and they adored their Captain.His word was law, and when any disputesarose he always acted as judge.
After the name of the new home hadbeen decided upon, Captain Featherweightgave each elf his work to do in itsarrangement and furnishing, and in avery short time it was all in perfect orderand ready to live in.
The Captain was very much pleased,and complimented his Elves on their abilityto do their work well and quickly.
“And since our house is now all in perfectorder,” said the Captain, “let us havesome music to celebrate the event. Tono,will you please sing something for us?”
“With pleasure,” answered Tono.“What would you like?”
“I leave the selection entirely to you,”said the Captain.
Then Tono, who was leader of the elfinchoir, played and sang:
“I don’t see why you should sing thatnow,” said Owly. “It isn’t the least bitappropriate; the fireflies are not twinklingand won’t be for some time to comeif we can judge by the look of the sky.”
“Isn’t that just like Owly?” said Slumber.
“You are always so literal, Owly,” saidRhymo. “Don’t you know that facthasn’t half as much to do with music andpoetry as fancy?”
“Just the same,” said Owly, “I think‘Our New Home’ would have been muchmore appropriate.”
“Why can’t you be more agreeable,Owly?” asked the flower-elf. “Anythingis appropriate when you’re happy, andbesides, Captain Featherweight left thechoosing to Tono, and why shouldn’tyou?”
“The music was beautiful,” said CaptainFeatherweight. “I always love tohear about the gay little fireflies. Butlook at the pink in the east! That meansthat the King of Day is coming over thehills in his chariot. To rest! To rest.”
Then the Elves of Mount Fern lay downon their soft little beds of leaves and moss,and slumbered till starlight again.
The Elves always begin their day in theevening instead of the morning, so thatwhat is early for them is late for us, andwhat is early for us is late for them.
Every evening as soon as the starspeeped out of the sky, Captain Featherweightalways gave the command:“Right! Left! Shoulder arms!” Thissimply meant, “Get to work,” and wasthe signal for every elf to be about hisbusiness.
All night long the gay little Elves wereas busy as bees, but no matter where theywere or what they were doing, they alwayscame back to Mount Fern before sunrise,and rested till starlight again.
The next evening Captain Featherweightgave his usual command and everyelf began to work.
Iris-Wing, the flower-elf, scamperedlightly down the fern ladder and wentabout his business in the garden. Althoughall the Elves loved the flowers, hewas the one who took most care of them,and so the other Elves called him “Iris-Wing,the flower-elf.”
As he wandered about from flower toflower he whispered to each a word ofgood cheer. The tulips and daisies wereall fast asleep and heard not a word thathe said, but the roses were as wide-awakeas in broad daylight, and they bowed tothe flower-elf and said: “We’re watchingthe Queen of Night climbing over thetall stone chimneys of Templeton Hall.”
While the roses were watching the moon,the flower-elf went on, and was just goingto speak to the foxgloves when he heardtwo monster voices from the Giant World.
And he listened, for he couldn’t helplistening, the voices were so loud andharsh; or so it seemed to him, although wewould call them very sweet voices.
It was Mary and Anna Templeton, theDoctor’s daughters, who were talking.
“Mary,” said Anna, “I’ve got an idea.I want to make a mattress and pillows forEmily’s doll, and some of the bird-housesare just bursting with feathers. Let usfill the mattress and pillows with feathersfrom the bluebirds’ house.”
“Oh, that will be perfectly lovely!” saidMary.
“And let us have them ready for herbirthday,” continued Anna, “and we’llsend a verse from the bluebirds somethinglike this:
“Won’t that be fun?” laughed Mary,“but who’ll get the feathers for us?”
“I’ll get them myself,” replied Anna.“With a long stepladder I can easily reachthe bluebirds’ house. This evening we’llmake the cases, and then tomorrow afternoonright after school we’ll get thefeathers.”
The flower-elf, who was getting moreand more provoked every moment, couldstand the conversation no longer, and flewswiftly back to Mount Fern in search ofthe dream-elf, to whom he repeated everyword he had heard in the garden.
The dream-elf was very indignant atthe thought of the bluebirds’ house beingrobbed of its feathers by these monstersof the Giant World, and he said to theflower-elf: “She shall not rob the bluebirds’house, for I’ll beat on the drum ofher ear and make her dream a horribledream!”
“You surely will?” urged the flower-elf.
“Without fail,” replied Slumber.
The flower-elf rubbed his hands andlaughed gleefully, and then ran back tohis work in the garden.
He spoke to the tall, pink foxgloves andtold them that foxgloves were favorites offairies all over the world.
“We are very proud to hear you sayso,” replied the Foxgloves, “for everyoneknows that fairies or elves are the favoritesof children all over the world.”
Then the flower-elf bowed low, andpassed on to the snapdragons, and askedthem how they did.
“We’re impatient,” said they, “and canhardly wait for the morning. We don’tsee why there should be any night whenthe day is so much finer.”
“I really cannot agree with you,” saidIris-Wing, “for we Elves love starlightand moonlight much better than sunlight,and so do some flowers, some birds, andsome insects.”
“Yes, but more flowers, more birds, andmore insects love day than love night.We’ve really no patience with people whodon’t love the sun. Of all living creatureswe think the bee is the best, and she lovesthe sun.”
“And now, if you’re done,” said theflower-elf, “I think I shall run, for there’swork to be done.”
When he had finished his work in thegarden, Iris-Wing called at the bluebirds’house to tell him that hawks were abroadin the land. “And they’re human,” saidhe, “but fear not, we’ll protect you.”
At twelve o’clock that very night, thedream-elf flew through Anna’s open window,and beat on the drum of her ear.And she dreamed, and dreamed, anddreamed. She dreamed she was in astrange and far-off land where the air wasfilled with birds, and there was such acommotion that it deafened her. Shecouldn’t believe there were so many birdsin all the world, and some of them wereso large and fierce that they terrified her.
At last she saw some bluebirds comingtoward her; and they grew, and grew, andgrew, until at last they were as big ascormorants. Then they threatened herwith their beaks and screamed at her:
“You would take our feathers, wouldyou? Flint-hearted girl! Cruel! Cruel!Cruel!”
But here General Grosbeak appearedon the scene, and commanded the chatteringto cease.
“This case,” said he, “must be tried byKing Crest and his Council.”
King Crest, as you must know, wasKing of Birdland, and he and his Councilsettled the affairs of his Kingdom.
So King Crest and his Council called ameeting to decide what should be done ifthe bluebirds’ feathers were stolen, andafter a long and angry debate it was decidedthat, in such an event, birds of allkinds should in future avoid the groundsaround Templeton Hall, and that thosewho were already there should vacatetheir dwellings.
“I move an amendment,” said ColonelClaw. “I move that Screech-owls andEnglish sparrows annoy the Doctor’sfamily as much as possible, especiallyAnna.”
“Colonel Claw, you’ll be promoted,”said the King. “A very good idea! Allin favor of this amendment lift the rightclaw.”
At this, every bird lifted the right claw,and the motion was carried.
When the Council adjourned, all thebirds passed Anna in single file, and each,as he passed her, pecked her on the armor the face until she was black and blue.
At this point, the dream-elf, thinkinghis work well done, hastened back toMount Fern. On the way he met Tonofloating about on the wings of song.