Adventure with a Snow Elf

Once upon a time, in the far north of a cold and snowy winter, the kindly knight Sir Colin and his friend the Lady Claire we were walking through the woods, avoiding deep snowdrifts, when they stumbled upon a snow elf. Now this elf was one of the rare snow elves who's magic is in mirroring. They have the ability to draw and paint images so realistic and beautiful that men have been known to go crazy trying to find their way into the paintings. However, when Colin and Claire happened on her she was practicing a different side of their magic. Besides their enchanting paintings, snow elves can manipulate the world around them by drawing it in the snow. At the moment, this elf was redrawing the moon so it shone more brightly on the freshly fallen snow. With several short strokes in the snow and a few sneezes (they tend to sniff and snuffle when drawing) she pulled the moon from its wining crescent back in to full beauty.

Now most elves are very shy and will vanish from sight before we are even aware of them, but on that night, the elf in question was feeling somewhat more cheeky then usual. All elves love to mess with humans, but this one had a special affinity for it and decided to play a little trick on the approaching knight and lady. With a wicked little grin and a firecracker of a sneeze she sketch out an owl on the powder and, in flurry of sparkling snow dust, the drawing's living counterpart swooped from the sky. More nimbly then anyone could have expected for a creature so bungled up in coats and scarfs, the elf leapt onto the back of the bird and directed its flight right into the piles of snow precariously weighing down the limbs of the tree under which Colin and Claire had stopped. The resulting avalanche caused the elf so much mirth she nearly fell from the bird with combined giggles and sneezing.

The elf was long gone by the time Sir Colin and the Lady Claire had managed to extricate themselves from the wreckage. Though Colin had managed to get his shield up over both of them in time to keep most of the snow from slipping down their backs, they were still thoroughly covered when they emerged from under the recently liberated pine tree. They stomped their feet and knocked snow from their shoulders; Sir Colin held his left hand over his head in an attempt to shake some stubborn bits from his steel gauntlet while Claire shock her head like wet dog, dislodging an impressive a mount of the melting snow. In all the commotion, neither of them had noticed that they were no longer alone in the woods. Claire had just picked up a handful of snow and was about to toss it at Colin when the knight noticed a white mass moving towards them through the trees. Claire's snow ball caught him right between the shoulder guard and the breastplate (she had obnoxiously good aim) causing Colin to jump and stifle a laugh before gesturing for her to be quite and look; not twenty paces away a great white polar bear was slowly stalking towards them. Colin drew his sward and stood his ground, shaking through he was. But Claire was quicker then he, with a jump she dashed over to where the elf's footprints and drawings sat undisturbed in the snow. Besides having a good arm, Claire had a quick hand and, though she was no elf, she could draw better then most people. Her drawing was neither as quick nor as deft as those of the nimble elf, but she managed to finish her work before the bear had closed the gap between Colin and itself. Not three steps from him, the great white creature stopped, cocked its head with a curiously intelligent look and sat down in the snow. Claire walked up behind the puzzled knight and slowly approached the bear.

"What are you doing?!" whispered Colin.

"I think it is ok," said Claire, though her response was no more confident then the slightly shaking hand she offered to the animal. The bear sniffed at it, gave it an enormous and slobbery lick, than flopped down on to the ground, rolling over like an oversized puppy.

"What did you do?" Colin asked, still whispering though he wasn't sure why. 

"Come look."

Back where the elf had redrawn the moon and then summoned an owl to affect its escape, lay another picture, this one was of a knight and a lady riding on the back of a great white smiling polar bear.

"I think I bent your sward a little bit," confessed Claire. Pointing at a wobbly line in the snow. And so she had, for the sward the hung from Colin's belt was now no straighter then an old tree limb.

"At least you got the bear right," Colin laughed, gesturing at the bear who had taken to rolling around in the snow.

Sir Colin and the Lady Claire spent the rest of that night riding around the forest on the back of a great white smiling polar bear, and it was nearly morning before they finally made their way to the edge of the wood. There the shaggy animal stopped and would go no further.

"Maybe he can't leave the forest," suggested Claire as they dismounted. 

"No," said Colin sadly, "He can't leave the night." Claire’s questioning look, prompted him to continue. "It was elf magic, it can only be held by the light it was made under. It will go away with the sun."

And indeed, as the moon set and the cold morning sun began to brush the tops of the trees, the bear shivered and a fine vale of snow rose from its coat and floated away. He shivered again and this time the entire creature seemed to blow away in thin swirl of snow, like smoke from an extinguished candle still trying to cling to a fragile wick before blowing away.

"Maybe we will meet him again some night," said Claire hopefully.

"Maybe."