Running from one spot to another, Tim expressed equal amazement at the metal smith who could turn iron into swords, and at the cooks who could turn a rabbit and vegetables into stew.
“This place is magic!” yelled Tim.
The elves looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and scratched their heads.
“Are you sure he’s a wood sprite?” asked Uncle Ned, his fear dissolving into bewilderment. “He doesn’t seem very magical.”
“Joan!” exclaimed Tim. “This place is amazing.”
Joan wasn’t sure what to say. “What we do is not magical. It’s just…” she searched for words to explain. “…common… everyday stuff. We use things…”
“Use things,” uttered Tim. “Wow.”
How could Tim mistake elf handiwork for magic? It did not compare to what a wood sprite could do. Joan wanted the elves to understand what he was capable of, but he was too distracted to focus.
“Tim,” she interrupted his excited exclamations about something the candle maker was doing. “Can you show us what you do? How you make things appear?”
He didn’t understand why anyone would want to watch him create anything when there were so many amazing marvels to see already. He glanced quizzically at her and shrugged his shoulders.
“I suppose,” Tim said, pulling out his wand. “What do you want?”
“What a strange stick,” said the carpenter.
“It’s called a pencil,” Tim announced.
“Make an apple pie,” chirped an elf boy, unable to contain his enthusiasm. It wasn’t the season for apples, but that never stopped a child from wanting apple pie. The youngster held out his hands, imagining the pie in his mind. Tim waved sparks from the wand, and a pie appeared in the boy’s hands. Cheers erupted, and the children scrambled after the young elf with his prize.
“Can you make a wood spoon?” asked the carver.
Tim waved the wand and spoons piled up on the carver’s bench and spilled onto the ground. When the metal smith asked him to make a sword, Tim waved his wand and a sword appeared in the smith’s arms. As the elf admired the gleaming blade, another appeared and then three dozen more until he was buried under a mound of sharpened steel.
“Ouch,” said the metal smith.
Tim next looked over at the cooks and raised his wand.
“No!” they shouted and scattered. They had seen enough.
Having heard of the unusual visitor, curious elves continued to filter in from the woods. Joan took the opportunity to slip out of camp. She needed to check something.
As she left the grove, the elves were trying to get Tim to do more magic, but the wood sprite was too impressed with the wood benches. As Joan walked into the forest she heard Tim exclaim, “This is like magic!”
Joan also needed time to sort out her crazy experiences. The whole mess had seemed like a deceitful wood sprite trick, but she realized it was just the way his fairy world worked. He didn’t know how to help an elf at first because the elf world worked so differently.
“He thinks a spoon is magic,” she laughed to herself.
Somehow she had been trapped in the future, and she didn’t like what that future looked like. But to Tim, the time difference didn’t seem to matter at all. He didn’t even notice it.
Joan stopped when she drew near the cliff, unsure if she wanted to see what the view had in store for her. Would it be that ruined future landscape? Was her river valley gone forever, or had Tim managed to set everything right?
Holding her breath, she forced herself to the edge and studied the view carefully. A long, relieved sigh escaped her. The scene was as Joan always remembered.