From the unpublished, unknown works of John Muir

Pumpkin Elves

The pumpkin elf, also called the field sprite, is native to North America. Rarely seen, they are commonly mistaken for brownies due to their diminutive size and predilection for 'helping' with the growth and maintenance of pumpkin patches throughout the continental United States and Canada. Their range rarely extends further south than the Mason-Dixon Line, possibly due to their apparent need for winter hibernation.

The pumpkin elf is a true elf, not a brownie, and is more closely related to the elves of the Arctic (aka Christmas Elves.) It is said that they have the ability to disguise themselves as rabbits if looked upon by big people which would imply a relationship to the Leprechauns of Ireland, but this link is unproven.

In appearance, the pumpkin elf is typically between six and eight inches tall and sturdily built. The males sport reddish gold hair, similar to the pumpkins they tend. Unlike Arctic elves, they do not grow facial hair, though whether this is natural or due to personal preference is unknown. Females tend toward a softer orange brown hair, possibly as camouflage similar to many bird species.

Pumpkin elves tend to dress in clothing that matches the color of the leaves of the pumpkin plants they tend, bright greens in the summer and soft yellows and browns in the fall. Often the females embellish their clothing with dried berries and tufts of fox fur. Shoes are often made of woven rabbit fur with laces made from tender first growth pumpkin vine. Unlike many related species, the pumpkin elf does not favor points on their shoes, and indeed, this is one of the sure ways to distinguish them from common farm brownies.

There is at least one scholar who contends that the color choice is not a camouflage technique as believed by most, but because the elves fashion the clothing from the actual leaves of the plant, possibly tanned by some method to promote durability. Throughout the growing season, the elves are known to wear sun hats fashioned from leaves, but have also been seen wearing caps made from acorns.

Both sexes are known to tend the fields, the females keeping pumpkin vines from tangling, males, turning the developing pumpkins to prevent uneven growth. The elves will also carry away dead leaves, and shift rocks from beneath the growing plants.

There is much speculation as to why these elves perform such duties as there appears to be no substantiated benefit to them. Current thinking is that they derive sustenance from the vines in the form of vine milk, and possibly eat the blossoms that fall from the plants in the spring. There have been no proven instances of the elves actually eating pumpkins, however, as they are rarely observed, it is likely that they do consume pumpkin flesh at some point.

Apart from pumpkins, little is known about their eating habits, although at least some farmers contend that fields with the elves never develop dandelions leading to some speculation that weeds form at least part of their diet. There is also at least one account of a sighting of young elves feasting on milkweed fluff, but the individual reporting was not believed credible.

Young elves, like the young of any species, are indulged by their elders and spend their time in play, often co-opting rides on rabbits and foxes. Very young elves are known to 'leaf surf,' riding on leaves blown by autumn breezes.

At midsummer, similar to old world fairies, pumpkin elves are said to hold midnight rituals including moon dancing and possible consumption of fermented spring berries. Some farmers have reported so-called fairy rings, areas of ground with the vegetation trampled flat, appearing in the fields at the time of the full moon. On occasion, the trampling is done with ornate designs, and is also attributed to other sources. As the perpetrators have never been directly observed, it is difficult to say if pumpkin elves are responsible.

All told, the pumpkin elf is believed to be a benign creature. Certainly, the plants they tend benefit from their care. Their interaction with humans is extremely limited, but there have never been any documented cases of any inimical behavior. Their relationship with a pumpkins and the popularity of this plant ensures these creatures will continue to thrive throughout their range.