"The Burrow Elves and the Crawlies"
a portrait by the Picsees
We would like to introduce you to one of our best friends. He's a wee burrow elf named Root and his little companions are called slowpoke and hop. They all live in a little hollow underneath one of the cobblestones in our garden. There was a time when it would have been quite rare to find a burrow elf there, but these days it's very common for them to make their homes under cobblestones. That's because cobbles tend to be nice and smooth, unlike the wild rocks in the forests, which are full of nasty sharp edges on which you could bump your head. So, whenever a burrow elf finds a loose cobble, they will crawl underneath it and dig out a little hollow that they'll call home. And they share these little abodes with all the local garden dwellers, like snails and bugs and caterpillars and slugs, which they call the crawlies. They see these crawlies as part of their family and look after them really well...which is why you should never ever take a crawly away from its cobblestone.
Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time. People will lift the cobbles, put the crawlies in a jar and take them home. We don't know why they think a jar is a good place for a crawly to live but the crawlies sure don't like it and neither do the burrow elves. And if they suspect that you took one of their crawlies they will sneak into your house and try to rescue them. If you are lucky, they will find them and leave...but if they can't find the crawlies in question, they will play tricks on you night and day, until they get their crawlies back.
At first it will just be little pranks. They might pull a preposterous face and leave an imprint of it in the butter or maybe they'll put some onions in your pillowcase. Another favourite is to move things around the moment you put it down or to make your phone call a colleague when you put it in your pocket. But if these pranks don't do the job, they will start to take things from your house and bury it under the cobbles. Burrow elves are of course quite small so they can only take little things, but this doesn't mean the big things in the house are safe. That's because most big things are made up of tiny bits, and tiny folk can take tiny things apart. So even though the big things might stay inside the house, they won't work very well when all their little parts are hidden outside under the cobbles. And this will go on until everything they can carry or take apart is under the cobblestones or until they find the crawlies...whichever comes first. It is, however, worth remembering that they will always put everything back exactly where they found it if you do the same with the crawlies.
Of course, it does sometimes happen that a crawly gets trapped in your house without you even knowing, so if you can't find your keys and you really looked everywhere, it might be a good idea to start looking for some crawlies instead. And if you do find a wee frog or a lost little bug carefully pick them up and put them outside by the cobblestones. Chances are you'll find your keys a few minutes later right where you left them...