Naming The Elf


| December/January 2000


Back in the days before the Internet, the joy of discovery was elusive and hard-won. 

Recently I was at an herb festival where I was seated at a table to sign books and visit with customers. On either side of me were stacks of my new book, Making Herbal Dream Pillows (Storey, 1998), and perched on top of one stack was an elf, about twelve inches tall. I’d seen the elf the previous year in one of the vendor’s booths, and I really liked him. That year I’d talked myself out of purchasing the little creature. This year, however, he was still in the booth of the lady who had created him, so I bought the little guy and took him to sit on my books.

Several people wandered past and asked what the elf’s name was. I didn’t know, so we discussed possibilities.

I’d just signed a couple of books for a customer when I saw a little boy and his mother approaching. The boy was probably seven or eight years old, with sandy blond hair and little pointed ears that looked for all the world like elf ears. He walked right up and said to me, “I really like your elf.”



I thought to myself, “Here’s a boy, part elf himself, who will know the elf’s name if anyone does.” So I replied, “We don’t know the elf’s name—but I thought possibly you might know.”

He put his finger to his mouth and smiled, then looked up at the ceiling for a moment. “His name is Jingles,” he said quickly, “and he likes books.” The answer was right there in front of me—but I had to know where to look.








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