In the village's little tavern, the people were quite cheerful, despite the early hour, for if something tasted even better than beer, it was beer paid for by someone else.
Still, the voices went quiet when the elf turned up in the doorframe. Splendid he looked, like a king from the old days, fair, but terrible at the same time. Everyone was secretly relieved when he addressed the worst drunkard of the village. "Do you know the woman who lives in the small house near the forest?
„Sure I know old Bess", the drunkard laughed, for, being drunk, he had not noticed the earnest tone of the elf. "Why don't you call her by name, seeing as you are so good friends?"
"And where", the elf demanded, "do I find her brother?"
"Right there", the drunkard said, and pointed at the man. "He paid for our beer. To his health!", and raised his mug and drank.
Of the others, none was drunk enough to not see the terrible glint in the elf's eyes, and they all winced when he stepped in front of the man who had paid for the beer.
"You have something that belongs to your sister, mortal." The elf's voice sounded like thunder. "Give it to me."
With trembling fingers, the blackmailer retrieved his ill-gotten prize from the inside of his cloak, where he had intended to sew it into the lining. It was just as well that he had not yet gotten around to doing it, for he would have little liked to have to try and stave off the elf.
"She gave it to me so that I keep my mouth shut", he sought to justify his deeds. "I know something about her, you would give a lot to know that, too."
"No. I do not wish to know it." The elf took the silver snowflake, put it into a pocket of his green garb, and turned to leave.
Now, having given back the snowflake, the blackmailer did not see himself as much in danger anymore, and his anger at his sister's betrayal grew. "She murdered her husband – so, now you know. A vile poisoner she is!"
"Is she?" The elf paused.
„What are you talking about – he drank himself to death, everyone knows that", someone cried.
"Yeah – can't have been that mushroom dish, she ate of that herself!"
"She used a special kind of mushroom", explained the malevolent brother. "Mushrooms that only kill if you drink – she drank nothing."
"Pay no heed to him, kind elf-lord", one, who had stayed more sober than the rest of them, and had noticed the look on the elf's face, interrupted. "It vexes him mightily that he has to provide the upkeep of his sister, as she could sell your gift and live on that, that is all. He drank too much and is talking nonsense. Be so kind as not to think ill of him because of it."
"Yes, talking nonsense he is. The man was a drunkard, and anyway, why should she have killed him? They were married for years and years, and it's not like he got worse."
"Strange it was, though" another said. "He was not old, and some drank more ..."
„I am sure, she did no wrong", the elf said quietly, and left.
That decided it, for no one could claim to know more about herbs and mushrooms than the elves.