Elf Trouble

My husband does not admit to disposing of the body.

I have just realized our resident house elf has a problem. Somehow its body is missing. This creature has lived on the tops of various picture frames ever since one of our sons wanted an elf-themed 7th birthday party. Although no one knew quite how our elf moved from picture frame to picture frame, we all knew then and know now that this isn’t a real elf, like the elves who (when it’s very quiet here) can be heard snickering and scuffling through the pages of their teeny tiny books and living their best house elf lives. Still, I’m shocked to notice only its decapitated head now rests on a picture frame.

I ask the spouse in a casual non-interrogating way:

“Where is the elf’s body?”
“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“How long has he been broken?”

Even under repeated (casual!) questioning he claims no involvement in disposing of the body. Says it’s no big deal. Says it has likely been broken for a few years.

A few years?

The last few years in this family have been rough, health wise. Far be it from me to fess up to more magical thinking than is psychologically normal. (None is normal, I’m told. That can’t be right.) But if there is a ever a time to indulge in some elf-sized superstition, it’s now. Why piss off the Elm Realm if you can avoid it?

But I’m not sure how to deal with this decapitated head. I consider a respectful burial. Consider letting it rest in a box with other sentimental things. And then I consult the son who had that elf birthday party many years ago. “Put it back on a picture frame,” he advised. “He’s still our elf.”

Maybe I need to redirect my superstitions toward the chipped-wing gargoyle in our flower bed.



10 thoughts on “Elf Trouble

  1. I’m with the Son. Half an Elf is better than none. And it could have been a casual visitor, picking him up and accidentally decapitating him, putting back the head and stuffing the other half in a pocket to dispose of later… maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you’re trying to come up with a logical and reassuring answer although “accidentally decapitating him” and pocketing the body sounds a mite disturbing. Now I’m amused to think of all the people who might have pocketed an elf body and how, if this were a strange TV series, I could use forensic techniques to reveal the culprit.


      • I’m probably being a little bit too sensible and literal just now, but I’m currently in a situation where I’m trying to avoid magical thinking! I shall concede there is still mystery and wonder in the world…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Laura,
    I have been following you for many years now, and there is not a thing that you write that I don’t devour and love. But today may be the first time I am compelled to send a comment on one of your essays. First of all, I think your introduction sentence may be the best introduction to an essay that I have ever read….”My husband does not admit to disposing of the body”. In trying to hone my skills for writing essays and books, this first sentence of yours has taught me so much in how to grab the attention of the reader, so that they cannot resist reading til the end – I just had to keep reading, and quickly, to find out what misfortune had befallen your husband that he had resorted to disposing of a body, all the while denying it.

    Secondly, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard, for so long, so quickly into a piece of writing. Thanks for the sustained belly rumble ! My eyes are still full of tears. This may be the most favourite part (second to the photo of the decapitated elf head)… “The last few years in this family have been rough, health wise. Far be it from me to fess up to more magical thinking than is psychologically normal. (None is normal, I’m told. That can’t be right.)”. I too would have felt very uneasy about the long term repercussions of someone in the household murdering an elf.

    Thirdly, I think its says so much about the way you have raised your children – clearly with acceptance, tolerance, inclusiveness, and compassion for disability and differentness – that he would suggest the elf is “still our elf” even without many of the body parts that many would ascribe to being worthy of life, and of being valued. Much love to your son for still holding the value, regardless of what is missing…

    So happy to have started my day with your essay….

    (And yes, I think the gargoyle needs prompt attention before the mystical realm believes your household to be repeat offenders, and holding disregard for the forest folk… )

    Greetings, from Australia ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kelia,
      This is the most affirming comment I’ve EVER gotten on a post. I can’t thank you enough. And from a fellow writer! I am floating on air.
      The magical thing about your feedback is your suggestion that my son’s response is related to our family’s values. That never occurred to me. What a beautiful thought.
      Totally agree that I need to work out my differences with the gargoyle. Far be it from me to read into a situation, but his expression seems downright eye-rolly these days.
      May the joy you’ve given me come back to you tenfold.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Je, je… sometimes it’s elfs, others, like in our home, it’s the dog (Choto) who is to blame for all missing and broken things. And sure thing, if you ask Choto about any of these misdeeds, he will give you a sullen look that ensures all of his culpability. Maybe he is possessed by some elf. Do elfs do sucha a thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m totally siding with Choto. Maybe he’s operating at the whim of trolls, as they’re feistier than elves. When our dog does something wrong I assume it’s out of benevolence since he’s trying to take my attention away from the awful realities of living in 2020. (Last year I blamed it on his depression from reading Russian literature while we slept.)


  4. Nah. I say it was the son. He was too unsurprised.
    (mostly) joking ^
    Hope everyone is doing well!
    (turns out this comment has more to do with a different post of yours – oops)
    Thanks for your writing (and research!) I am still pondering the changes in my mindset after reading a recently linked-to (by you) article about neuro-differences, especially Asperger’s. I now realize I probably was (am?) an aspie, and have recovered mostly, as of my very late 20s. (what am I saying?! Should I need to recover?? It sure is easier now I’m capable of communication with more people.) I spoke about confidence in a comment to DMs Heart to Heart blog (not sure if you follow him – hearttoheart3.wordpress.com) and how that developed in me.
    I appreciate your views on education (probably what brought me to your blog years ago) and I can’t imagine being as patient a parent as you look like from here.
    So, a general thank you from me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear from you again, Scott. Hope the farm is going well, haven’t seen new posts from you in a while. (This is not a nag, I understand!)

      You and I have been looking into the same thing, neurodivergence-wise. Years ago I was reading a lot about trauma and various methods to alleviate it, mostly somatic. Still fascinated by that arena but the last few years have been doing more to understand neurodivergence. There’s a lot of good work out there as well as a thriving neurodivergent community on Twitter. One of my sons (the elf party one) was diagnosed with ADHD when he was seven years old and at the time I was told I had it too. (Explains a lot.) The more I read and talk to people, the more I recognize how these traits can easily flow into other differences — in my case and many of my family members that means HSP (highly sensitive people), strong empathy, some ADHD, possibly some other differences (which are really norms, in a way, because so much of the human population is built that way). Helps us understand ourselves and others doesn’t it?

      And I’m not all that patient a person…

      wishing you peace,


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