So, I see the Camp Fletcher humans have planted their vegetable garden. It’s a pretty big one too.
Mr. Hawk and I perched high in a pine tree on the edge of their garden plot and watched silently as the humans worked all day under the hot sun planting rows of tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, beans, eggplants, and watermelon. Well, I was silent, anyway. Mr. Hawk gets restless and has to let out screech every now and then. His call is a very loud and sharp noise. He never warns me when he’s about to cut loose; he just screeches whenever the mood takes him. This startles me every time, especially if I’m sitting next to him like I was on garden-planting day. Once, he screeched so loudly I almost fell out of the tree. Humans fall out of trees all the time but that would be an embarrassing thing if it ever happened to an elf. If I fell out of a tree, it would be the talk of the forest for months, and I’d never hear the end of it.
As I watched the humans sweating in the garden, I wondered why they were bothering to go to so much trouble. I’m not sure what the point of a garden is when all the food you’ll ever need is already out in the forest just waiting for you to come and pick it up. Nuts, berries, roots, mushrooms—it’s all there for the taking, so why bother plowing up perfectly tasty plants to put in other plants?
I have to admit I like the taste of watermelon on a hot day, so I hope those plants grow and produce lots of huge melons. If the watermelons turn out nicely, I may have to liberate one or two of them when no humans are around. I won’t be greedy, though. I promise to share my purloined fruit with my animal friends. My deer friends love watermelon, maybe even more than I do.
Judging from the size of their new garden, the camp humans could have a whole lot of vegetables on their hands soon. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with all of that produce when it starts coming in, but I hope they trade some of it for candy. Candy is one thing that doesn’t grow in the woods, and I’ve never seen a candy bush or a candy vine in one of their gardens before. Where candy comes from is a mystery to me. All I know is that I like candy. A lot. All kinds of
candy. I think candy must grow in cooler climates than Alabama’s. Here the candy would probably melt before it got ripe. I’d love to travel north some day so I could visit a candy plantation and eat a Snicker’s bar fresh from the tree.
The e-mail inbox has been a little quiet lately, although a nice prince from someplace called Nigeria wrote me the other day to let me know I’d inherited $3 million. I wrote him back and told him that elves have no use for money, so he should probably just keep it. Anyway, you can always write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I get very excited whenever one of my friends sends me an e-mail.
Jade from Birmingham sent me this message last week, although, instead of sending it by e-mail, she wrote it on paper and hid it under a rock in the woods. That way of getting messages to me usually works too.
I’m going to be a camp counselor at Camp Fletcher this summer, but I’m a little afraid of elves. Do you promise you won’t jump out from under my bunk or from behind a tree to scare me?
At the same time, I think elves are super cool. Is there any chance I could meet you this summer while I’m at Camp Fletcher?
Your Counselor Friend,
Thanks for the nice note, Jade. You have nothing to be afraid of. Elves can be mischievous, but we don’t go around trying to scare humans (not the nice ones like you, anyway). That’s not our idea of fun. As for introducing myself to you this summer, we camp elves are very shy and we are terrible conversationalists, so we don’t often hold meetings with humans. But if you keep a sharp lookout this summer, you will probably see me out of the corner of your eye every once in a while. I’ll be watching you all summer long, though, and if the right moment comes, I might pop out and say “BOO!” Just kidding. That would be mean.