When we last heard from Twinkle Loblolly, the camp elf had agreed to take a rare journey “over the ridge” to meet Manx the bobcat and plead the case for Manx’s rejected boyfriend, the lovelorn Rufus.
Twinkle sighed with happiness and there was joy in his elfin heart as he stepped confidently onto the wildlife trail and struck out deep into the forest. It was a beautiful Alabama morning—not quite summer, but not quite fall either. Shafts of sunlight broke through the trees here and there, giving the Camp Fletcher woods the feeling of a massive outdoor cathedral.
After an hour or so of walking, Twinkle was still well within the 300 acre woods that make up his Camp Fletcher home, but he was fast approaching the incline that would take him over the ridge and eventually to the land beyond the camp.
It was such a nice day that the wood elf dawdled along the way before stopping at a small spring-fed stream for a drink. In fact Twinkle went out of his way to pass by the tiny creek, tucked away in one of the most beautiful corners of the Camp Fletcher woods. The stream didn’t have a name, but it was special nonetheless. All of the animals for a long way in every direction knew that the water flowing in this particular stream was the coldest and tastiest water in the whole wide world. This water is so delicious that this tiny stream deserves a name, Twinkle thought. Maybe I should give it one.
When Twinkle arrived, the only animal drinking at the stream was a deer. Twinkle hailed the young buck hoping to hear some local gossip, but the deer wasn’t in the mood to talk. After finishing his drink, the buck bounded into the forest without so much as a hello or a how-do-you-do. Twinkle didn’t take offense or think the buck was being rude—deer could be like that around strangers. It was just their way.
Twinkle cupped his hands and had just dipped them into the water for the fourth or fifth time when he heard a soft and very slow voice behind him.
“Where are you going in such an all fired hurry, Master Elf?” the voice asked.
“I’m not in a hurry at all,” Twinkle said. “And who’s doing the asking?”
“I’m asking,” the voice replied. “Over here.”
Even though elves are very sharp-eyed, it took Twinkle a moment to spot the source of the voice, a box turtle cleverly camouflaged among the forest leaves.
“Oh, there you are. Hello Mister Box Turtle. I’m Twinkle. I don’t believe we’ve met before.”
“No, we’ve never met before,” the turtle said. “You can call me Bo.”
“Twinkle Loblolly, at your service,” the elf replied.
“I know who you are, wood elf. I’ve heard all about you. You’re famous in these woods.”
“Only good things, I hope,” Twinkle said.
“Mostly,” conceded the turtle. “But I do hear that you’re very mischievous.”
“I like to keep things interesting,” admitted Twinkle.
“Are you going to answer my question?”
“What question?” said Twinkle, now thoroughly confused.
“The question about where you’re going in such a hurry. Do you have problems remembering things, Master Elf?” the turtle asked.
“I get distracted when I’m thinking,” Twinkle conceded. “And right now I’m thinking about something very, very important.”
“What’s that?” the turtle asked.
“What to name this stream,” Twinkle replied. “Names are very important things, so it’s not a decision to be entered-into lightly.”
“Hrumph,” replied the turtle cocking his head, his red eyes challenging the elf. “The stream doesn’t care if it has a name or not. The animals don’t care either—the water from it is just as delicious no matter what the stream is called.”
“I suppose,” Twinkle said, “but I think I’m going to name it anyway.”
“Are you going to answer my question or not?” the turtle said with a touch of impatience in his voice.
“Question? Oh, yes, of course—I’m heading over the ridge.”
“Why would you do a silly thing like that when everything you could ever want is in these woods right here?” the turtle asked.
“It’s not for me. It’s for my friend Rufus. He’s in love with a lady bobcat named Manx. Apparently Manx isn’t interested in Rufus, and Rufus asked me to speak to her and try to change her mind about him.”
“Sounds like a complete waste of time,” the turtle said.
“Probably,” Twinkle allowed, “but I made a promise to a friend, and a promise is a promise. Besides, it’s such a beautiful day for a long walk.”
“The way I see it, it’s a perfect day for staying right where you are and enjoying one of the nicest days of the year,” Bo the turtle said. “Why should I go anywhere else when I’m happy as I can be right where I am? I don’t understand restless creatures like people and deer and you elves. You’re always in such a hurry to be somewhere else that you don’t stop to enjoy wherever it is you are. This is my favorite place in the world, and you’ll never catch me very far away from where we are right now.”
“That may be true, but I still have to be going,” Twinkle said. “It’s been nice to meet you, and you’ve solved a big problem for me.”
“What’s that?” the turtle asked.
“I know what I’m going to name this stream. From now on this spot will be known as Bo’s Brook.”
“I like that name. I like it a lot,” said the turtle, who seemed surprised and touched by the new name. “I’ve never had anything named after me before. I wish you’d stay and talk some more, Twinkle, but if you must hurry over the ridge, I wish you a safe journey. You’re welcome back here any time you want to slow down, Master Elf. I’ll be right where you found me.”