“My plate broke itself?” screeched the Squirrel. “There! Your shoe broke itself.”

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“Let me go! “yawped Pippin while trying to break free from the Squirrel’s tight grip. 

“What are you doing here?” yelled the Squirrel as she dumped Pippin onto the floor. 

Pippin dusted his bottom, looked up at the Squirrel with teary eyes, and took a deep breath. “I walked in because I thought this cabin was abandoned. I did not come to steal… or hurt anyone. Your plate broke…”

“You broke my grandma’s plate?” screamed the Squirrel while looking over the kitchen floor in disbelief. 

“Wrong.” Pippin tightened his lips. “Your plate broke itself.”

“My plate broke itself?” screeched the Squirrel and grabbed Pippin’s left pop-pom, dis-attaching it from his crakows. “There! Your shoe broke itself.”

Pippin disappointedly gazed at the pom-pom on the floor. He then looked back to his crakows. 

“You are so mean!” said Pippin as he wiped his tears. “And all you ever will be is mean, and you will never find any friends!”

The Squirrel stood in silence. Her long tail wiggled for a few moments, but then she placed it on the ground and held it still. Pippin looked into her large, dark eyes and mumbled something. Then he clenched his little hands, frowned his eyebrows, and spoke again. 

“And these are no shoes. They are Elven crackows.” His voice cracked as he burst into tears sitting on the floor next to the cabin’s door. “I will leave in a moment,” muttered Pippin.

The furrows between Squirrel’s eyes deepened as her brows drew down. She looked at Pippin and then picked up his pom-pom, dusting it. “You know… there is a family of human shoe… umm crackow repairers just nearby. We can go together… I am sure they will be able to fix it.” 

“Don’t you understand? My Elven crackows are broken! That never happened to any elf!” When Pippin said this, it reminded him again of what had just happened, and he broke into tears once more. 

“Look.” the Squirrel and sighed. “I am very sorry about what has just happened. I did not know that your shoes… umm crackows matter so much to you. I am offering my help now. I wish you would let me make this right.”

Pippin looked up and recognized an emotion he and his brothers so often experienced whenever they would steal a cookie from the younger elves. The Squirrel was remorseful. Pippin looked down again. Then, out of nowhere, he heard his mother’s voice. “My sweet Pip, we always forgive another when they ask for our forgiveness.” 

Pippin relaxed his tightened lips and exhaled. 

“Okay. Let’s make this right,” said Pippin as he got back onto his feet. “What is your name?”

“Mary the Squirrel.” 

“Umm. I see you are a squirrel. So just Mary then?”

“No. Mary the Squirrel. That is my full name.”

“Umm. Why, exactly?”

“I do not know. I just like it that way.”

“That is ridiculous. It is obvious you are a squirrel. Imagine I go around and call myself Pippin the Elf.”

“So is that your name? Pippin the Elf?”

“No, it is not!” protested Pippin. “My name is Pippin. Pippin only.”

“Pippin Only?”

Pippin rolled his eyes. “Just call me Pippin.”

“OK. But you call me Mary the Squirrel.”

“Okay… I hope I never have to call you then,” giggled Pippin. “Come on. Let’s fix my crackows.”

Mary, the Squirrel, smiled and opened the cabin’s door. 

“Introduce the second stimuli. Gradually.”

Pippin and Mary the Squirrel strolled through the grainfields, occasionally warding off a bumblebee or other buzzing insects. It was just past midday when Pippin got sleepy.

“Are there any lavender fields around here?”

“Lavender fields?” asked Mary the Squirrel curiously. 

“Yes. Or you know…”—yawned Pippin—”…like any lavender rows inside of these grain fields?” 

“Umm. I do not think so… Why?”

“Well, I just got sleepy.”

“Oh! So you think it is the smell of lavender that made you sleepy?”

“No. I am an elf. I sleep in lavender fields.”

“Well… We can make a stop at my friend’s house, and you can maybe have a nap there?”

“Oh, lovely! So your friend has lavender fields?”

“No, Pippin. He has a bed.”

“What will I do with a bed? I am not human. Elves sleep in lavender fields.”

“Umm. Do you want to try at least? I am also not human, but I sleep in a bed.”

“Okay. But if your friend has any lavender at home, maybe we can put it next to that bed. You know… So I fall asleep more easily.”

“Sure thing, Pippin. Sure thing,” murmured Mary the Squirrel.

Just minutes later, Pippin and Mary the Squirrel were knocking on a cold grey metal door with a circular frame. They heard no answer. 

“Come on in,” said Mary the Squirrel as she pushed the door open and entered the house.

“No, thanks. I did that once today.”

“Come on, Pippin. Rozalén is the kindest raccoon out there, and my noble friend! She wouldn’t mind this a bit.”

Pippin warily entered, gripping the pom-pom in his right hand a bit harder than before. 

“Here. You lay down, and I will read on the porch,” said Mary the Squirrel as she pointed to the bed and shut the peachy curtains above it.

Pippin approached the bed, but he could not climb on it. 

“Umm. Is Rozalén as big as you?”

“Oh, yes! She is one of the biggest raccoons around!” remarked Mary the Squirrel. 

“Umm. I see. I could use some help.”

“Oh!” giggled Mary the Squirrel as she picked up Pippin and put him on the bed. 

Pippin’s head touched upon the fluffy pillow, and while caressing the pom-pom in his hand, he sang under his breath:

“Down in the Elven town

Where no elf is ever let down

Laid Pippin down his ears

Amid the lavender fields.”

“Experiment number two—passed.” 

“Write the report. We are done for the day.”

Report on experiment number two (“Bed”): 

The subject of the experiment: An elf named Pippin. 

The elf in question successfully passed experiment number two. Human-like behavior was observed. While showing some inflexibility, the elf in question eventually adapted. We will soon start with experiment number two. 

A report issued by The Human-Elf Interaction Laboratory

E&P by EZorrilla.

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