While walking down a winding, dusty road one day I was startled to here someone crying for help. It took me a few minutes to make up my mind to decide what direction to go in. It was hard to tell exactly where it was coming from.
As I started to walk, I heard "Over here, over here". As I walked I searched the ground. There were lots of leaves, grass, sticks, and tree roots. The roots grew on top of the ground. The noise seemed to be coming from beneath the roots. I knelt on the ground and started to push and pull the roots around.
The voice got louder and louder as I got nearer to the place I was looking for. I looked around then looked down. I couldn't believe my eyes. I blinked several times, then rubbed them, blinked and rubbed again. Sure enough, there he was, the smallest man I've ever seen. It seems his foot was cought in the tangled roots of the tree.
Dirt, sticks, large stones were covering his foot and leg. When he looked up and saw me, he screamed at the top of his lungs and begged me not to eat him. I was shocked! First at the size of him, then that he thought I'd eat him.
I got closer so I could help him. The closer I got, the more he screamed. And even louder than before. Boy!! He sure was loud for such a little guy. I tried to console him, but he said I talked to loud and would probably break his ear drums. He told me I'd have to whisper.
I agreed. The poor little guy was shaking he was so scared. I tried to reassure him I was there to help him. He was a little hard to convince, but I finally did. He allowed me to help him get free. I gently picked him up and checked him out. His ankle was badly swollen, but I could see it was not broken, which we both agreed was good news. He said he had to get back home. People were waiting for him to return.
He explained lightening had struck a tree they lived under and destroyed their whole community. He had been out scouting for a new place to rebuild. Being this small he had to watch out for creatures who could hurt him.
As it was that's how he got in this mess. A big black bird tried to dive bomb him, so he ran to try to get out of reach and lost his footing, landing where I found him. I told him I would help him. I put him in by shirt pocket. There he could see better and could tell me which way to go.
While we were walking, I asked him his name. He said it was Banjo. I said "Banjo? A banjo is an instrument ment to be played". He laughed and said "Yes, I know. They call me that because I am the best banjo player in the world. As a matter of fact, my family invented it many, many years ago".
He asked me my name. I said "Toby". He said "That's nice. Did any one in your family invent anything?". I said "No, not that I know of".
After that short conversation we were both quite for a while. Suddenly he said "Stop, turn left here", which I did.
He siad, "We're here!"
I asked, "Where is here?"
"Home", he said.
To me the landscape was the same everywhere. He pointed to a big rock and said to let him down.
As I took him out of my pocket he complained his foot still hurt. I told him to hand on a minute and I'll see what I could do about it.
I set him on a rock and took out my pocket knofe. When he saw it he started to scream again. I told him that I wasn't going to hurt him and to stop being such a baby. I searched for a stick to whittle a little cane for him. When he saw it he was happy that I wasn't going to eat him. Frankly, I didn't know how to deal with him.
When he tried out the cane he said it was perfect. Boy! That was a relief. After a minute or so he asked me to move a big pile of stones and rocks. He said it was the entrance to his home and the whole community.
I did what he asked. Because I'm so bit it only took a few minutes to get through to his home and people. He went in. I followed on my hands and knees. I could see several hundred elves rushing to meet him. They were all relieved and happy that he was back.
I could also see the shambles this little community was in. These people really needed help. Of course they were all shocked at the sight of me, but Banjo assured them that everthing was alright and that I was a friend who offered help.
After surveying the damage, they had a town meeting to decide what to do. I felt honored that they asked my opinion. They had to find a safe place that had the things they needed. I knew of a place about a quarter of a mile from here that would be perfect for them.
It had everything they needed. Because there were no animals small enough to eat, they ate fruits and lots of berries. Soon they started asking questions about how long it would take to move to a new location, and how it would be done. I told them I could move them all and all of their belongings in less than two hours.
They asked how and I explained.
I have two wagons. I would hook them together to make a small train. I would put them in and give them a free ride to their new homesite.
They were delighted.
We didn't waste any time getting started. The children were all very excited. They never dreamed it could be so much fun. Even the parents seemed to enjoy this new experience.
After I had taken everthing to the new site I said I would try to rig up something to get them water. Easier said then done.
I went home and into the attic to find some plastic hose I had for my old fish tank. Then I looked for some big plastic bottles. When I had what I needed, I went back to the elves.
I drilled a hole on the edge of the bottle cap, inserted the hose, and found a way to control the amount of water released. I would install these in several locations so everyone would have access to water at all times.
I think the hardest thing to figure out was how to conceal this little community form the eves of the world. They had to be kept safe or they would not survive. I would have to make sure they had air, light, sun, and were totally protected at all times. I didn't want the rain to wash them away.
I decided to build something like a green house for them. It would have lots of light and sun, and it would protect them from the rain and snow.
It was quite a challenge, but with the help of the elves, we got it done. These little people were wonderful. They could handle anything.
I put up clothes lines for the little ladies, got little metal buckets for washing clothes and bathing. They all loved everything I did for them. I dug up the ground and with a pencil put rows in the fields so they could plant their berries and other food.
For two days everything went fine. On the third day we heard there was a storm on the way. This would be the big test to see if we had done things right.
About two o'clock in the afternoon the sky opened up and the rain really came. We kept checking to see that we didn't have any leaks anywhere. We were fine.
As soon as the storm was over the elves started running all around. I had no idea what was going on. I looked for Banjo to ask what was happening. When I found him he was blue all over. Then I noticed the other elves were all turning different colors. They were pink, yellow, green, purple, and a few shades of each.
I asked Banjo what was going on. He said "This is what we do."
I said, "Do what?"
He said we are responsible for making the rainbow. After the rain we sprinkle the magic dust that takes us to the pot of gold. That's where we start.
"We get in order, hold hands, and fly up, over, and down to make the beautiful rainbows to let people know the storm is over."
Ever since I met the elves I have often wondered if I've been dreaming all this. Anyway, when they got back they said they were so happy they needed a party to celebrate. They gathered around and soon I saw some of the elves carring musical instruments. The others all got in a circle so they could dance.
I was suprised how good they were and Banjo did not lie when he said he was the world's best banjo player. I never saw a group of people so happy. They had all lost their rainbow colors and were back to normal.
After a few evenings I told them I had a surprise for them. When I got the water hook-up stuff I also grabbed my battery driven train. I laid out the tracks and put the train on them. I made the tracks in a straight line from the garden field to where they took thier berries and other food. It saved them much time and back breaking work. The train was big enough for someone that small to actually be the engineer and drive it. Of course, all the men wanted to be the engineer.
I told them to be fair, everyone should have a turn. I suggested that they go by age. The eldest first, then on down to the youngest. This was OK with them.
I see them everyday and we are all friends. I know someday I'll have to tell someone else about them to carry on and help them when I am no longer here.
It's been a few years since I first met them. My family is all gone, so I need someone to take my place.
I sure hope so!