Legolas, in the wise words of Professor Tolkien, probably achieved the least of the Nine Walkers. This was just as true in the Golden Wood of Lothlorien as anywhere else: while Frodo was wrestling with visions, Gimli was overturning millennia of interracial tensions, and Boromir was brooding over Aragorn being a) more stubbly and b) less evil than him...

... Legolas was taking a walk.

At the precise moment under consideration, the prince of Mirkwood's walk was bringing him back around to the front of the strange building he had found in the forest. He wasn't exactly a scholar of matters Galadhrim, but the squat house really didn't strike him as their handiwork. It was on the ground, for one thing, and its roof was sagging in the middle, which said 'mortal' even to Legolas' untrained eye. The sign hanging above the door said... well, Legolas didn't actually recognise the letters, though the shortest word looked a lot like a rather crude Nandorin insult.

Then there was the building material. Legolas was almost positive his kin in Lorien didn't normally work in gingerbread.

For what might have been many lives of Men (but was actually about five minutes) Legolas pondered the mystery of the house. He may have folded his arms lopsidedly, though he almost certainly didn't announce 'A Diversion!'. Finally he nodded, drew one of his long knives, and stepped into the house.

Almost immediately, a dramatically overblown evil laugh echoed from the open door.

A minute or so later, smoke began to rise from the crooked chimney, staining the gingerbread black.

And half an hour after that, the prince of Mirkwood emerged with a flour-covered apron, a gleefully malicious grin, and a towering stack of pancakes, and scampered off into the woods.

Behind him, the sign creaked gently in the wind. The shortest word was not, in fact, an elvish swear word - and Legolas had never had a chance of reading the others, even had they been written in an alphabet he could understand. 'Interdimensional', 'House', and 'Pancakes' weren't in any language used in Middle-earth, though the last, at least, was about to make its mark.

It's been seventeen years since Pancakes! first hit the internet; sixteen since I last touched it; but for Pancake Day 2020, I was inspired to release this reworking of the first chapter. Many thanks go to Neshomeh of the PPC, who issued the 'rewrite an old scene' challenge that inspired it. I've tried to keep the Spirit of 2003 alive in the retelling, while hopefully improving the gags a bit.

The English word 'OF' doesn't look a whole lot like anything an Elf might write, but it could juuuust about be the runes for 'UD'. That's not an attested word in any Elvish language, but it's the beginning of words like Udun ('Hell', 'Dark Pit'), or udrug ('intractable', 'untamed'). As insulting slang, it's good to use against any absolute uds you meet.

(65 people have this story favourited. Let's see if any of them notice...)