Elvish translation: La fael = thank you
For generations and generations, children have simply dreaded eating vegetables, and delighted in the sight of sweets. That's just a fact of life. After all, what child would exchange a delicious slice of cake for a piece of asparagus? Not many.
And for generations and generations, annoyed parents would try just about every trick in the book to get their children to eat their greens, from promising nice, pleasant things like more playtime the next day to minor threats, like losing playtime. And no child wants to lose playtime. Ever.
Despite this gospel truth, there are some loopholes in it. Elflings, for example. Elflings were probably the last creatures on the planet you'd expect to refuse a nice cabbage leaf, or a head of broccoli.
As we all know, there are exceptions for every rule, even the generally accepted rule that all elves get their daily dose of greens. One such case involves a particular blonde elfling who just so happened to be named Legolas, son of Thranduil, Prince of the Woodland Realm.
Legolas had been having a rough day, for one thing. He was giving his father all kind of grief due to his written refusal to take a nap. Yes, written refusal. In fact, the letter went something like this:
I, Legalas, do not wish to hAve naptime at this exact moment. PLeese try asking again at a diff-rint time.
Just to make the note even more legitimate, he sealed it in the special envelopes that only the palace members use, and stamped it with the even more special seal, and placed to the letter in the special mailbox that only letters from big elves went. There was a lot of special things to make a letter legitimate, apparently.
Thranduil was not pleased with this little act of protest.
It turns out that Legolas did not wish to partake in napping during any exact moment of the day. So, when suppertime came around, we were now to face a grouchy, tired little elfling...
"Legolas, you aren't eating. Are you feeling well?" Thranduil asked. He was looking his son, observing how he sat with a face of utter digust as he poked at his food.
The prince remained staring at the pile of vegetables before him. Without breaking his gaze, he replied with a simple "I am well."
Legolas pierced a tip of an asparagus head, closely studying it. It was a sickly green color, and the smell was not the most appealing thing in the world.
In fact, it was disgusting.
"Are you having a problem with your food, then?" the Elvenking asked, wanting to know what was troubling his son. Perhaps he was only tired? He knew he should have put Legola to bed despite the difficulty...
The piece of broccoli stared into Legolas's soul, giving him the evil eye. "I cannot eat this, for it is green," Legolas sadly said.
Since when did color determine what was and was not edible?
"My son, you have been eating green foods for the majority of your life. Your main diet consists of green things anyway. I am not understanding the problem here."
"Yes, father, but I can no longer eat green food, for I will turn into an orc! And then you will have an orc for a son! And then you won't like me anymore, because you say that you hate orcs all the time!" Legolas babbled, not understanding how ridiculous all of that truly sounded.
Thranduil took a moment to contemplate what the elfling just said. He could not figure out what Legolas was trying to say. "What are you going on about? Who said anything about orcs? What does this have to do with green things?"
Parents can be so misunderstanding sometimes. They don't seem to get the importance of not turning into an orc.
Legolas took a big breath, preparing to give the speech of a lifetime. "When we were in Rivendell yesterday, Elladan and Elrohir told me that eating green things will turn elflings into orcs! They said that vegetables will promote the growth! And there are vegetables sitting upon my plate, and if I have to eat them, I will surely turn into an orc. I do not want to become an orc, because then you'll make me sit in time out for the rest of my life, and time out is boring!"
Elladan and Elrohir. Who would've guessed?
Thranduil sighed. Those two were always trying to scare Legolas during their visits. "I promise you that eating green vegetables will not turn you into an orc, Legolas. Elladan and Elrohir are vegetarians themselves, and they have never turned into such a thing. You are being silly; now eat up before it gets cold."
This did not appease the prince. Legolas slightly moved the plate away, having no intentions of eating anything green or vegetable related ever again.
"Please, son. Some elf took time out of his day to make this meal for you. It would be wrong to waste such a thing as valuable as food," Thranduil reasoned.
"But me not becoming an orc is more important than food, isn't it?" Legolas asked. "If I became an orc, you wouldn't love me anymore!"
Thranduil briefly thought about if it would be possible to love your child when he turned into a beast as forsaken as an orc. He quickly snapped himself out of it when he remembered that no green vegetation has ever turned someone into an orc.
"I have told you already- you will not become an orc. And we do not have to think about you turning into one, because that is impossible. My patience is wearing thin. Do as I say, and finish your food."
No response from Legolas.
"Look, I will prove to you that this will not turn you- or anyone else- into a monster. How's that sound?" Thranduil bargained.
Legolas's eyes widened. "Father, you can't! You'll turn into a horrible ferocious orc with a really ugly face!"
Thranduil smirked. Using his own fork, he speared a brussel sprout, then popped it into his mouth. He cringed, looking as if he were going to vomit everywhere.
"Father, see! You are turning into an orc!" Legolas cried. He already lost his mother to orcs, but now his father too? That would make Legolas the king, then. A small elfling ruling the entire forest? Charging into epic battles and leading his people to victory? A laughable idea!
Valar, Thranduil thought, Why did I pick up a brussel sprout? I despise the things!
After chewing the brussel sprout for a good long while, he finally found the courage to swallow the blasted thing. Of course, he took a rather large sip of his wine afterwards.
"See?" Thranduil said, "I am not an orc!"
Legolas squinted his eyes, closely inspecting his father for any orc-ness. His ears were still pointed and elflike. His skin was still fair, and his voice still had a nice clear sound. Perhaps Thranduil was still an elf after all.
"But that doesn't mean that I will not become a beast!" the elfling reasoned.
"You mean to say that I ate a wretched brussel sprout for nothing?"
"Ai..." Thranduil groaned. "How about we make a deal? If you just try one bite of it, then you're excused. Is that fair?"
"Well, little elves need to eat their vegetables if they want to become big elves. Don't you want to be big and strong?"
"No. I want to be little forever, so I can climb even the weakest trees!"
"You never want to grow up?"
"Well, if you aren't in a rush to grow up, I suppose you wouldn't mind waiting around for a while. You and I are going to stay right here until you try at least one bite," Thranduil declared. Legolas couldn't possibly stay here the whole night, or so Thranduil thought.
And so the game of waiting began.
Seconds moved onto minutes, minutes into hours. Thranduil would occasionally take a sip out of of his wine glass, but eventually ran out. He grew tired, and felt his eyes droop...
Within 5 minutes, the Elvenking lost the battle. He was now in a sleeplike state at the dining table, leaving Legolas alone with a plate of cold, smelly vegetables.
Maybe animals like vegetables, he thought, slinking away from the dining table with the plate. He crept to where the stables were, having the perfect plan for disposing of the unwanted substances.
There, in the stable, stood a creature about 3 times Legolas's own height- a massive elk. Its antlers and size were rather intimidating, making it an excellent companion for charging into battles.
"Hello, friend," Legolas whispered to the elk, "My father once told me that you like to eat plants, so I have a special treat for you," he said, sliding the plate under the stable door. The elk gave a snort at the unusual "treats". "You must be quiet, though, friend. Very quiet."
And so, Thranduil's battle companion slowly munched on all of the horrors that were brussel sprouts, asparagus, cabbage leaves and green beans, hiding all traces of them even being there.
"Le fael, friend," Legolas whispered, running back to the dining hall where a (hopefully) sleeping elvenking resided.
Luckily for our favorite elfling, the king still sat there with his head rested on the table, fast asleep.
"Father," Legolas whispered to him, "Father, wake up."
Thranduil mumbled something inaudible.
"All the vegetables are off my plate, father. May I go to sleep now?"
The king's tired eyes looked at the plate for a few seconds. "Why did you finally decide to cooperate?" he asked, being half sarcastic.
"I decided they weren't so bad after all," Legolas said with a yawn. "Will you take me to bed now?"
"Ah, yes, yes. I'll be up to tuck you in in a few minutes," Thranduil said with a tired sigh. What a long day this has been...
But who knew a dining table could be so comfortable?
Wow, this story definitely brings back some memories!
What do you think Thranduil's elk is named?
Thanks for reading. Review, if you have a chance!