What You Most Want

Concealed in the branches of a tree, the small elf watched a human village. “What a strange people,” she thought. “They begin their lives helpless, but soon become very wise, spending their days in play and constant exploration.” She moved closer to watch the human children kicking a ball, secure in her footing even as the bough danced beneath her tread. “They’re so like us. And the big ones gratify the human’s every wish, just as the gnomes labor to satisfy our needs so we may ponder philosophy and play and enjoy nature’s beauty.”

She skipped away from tree to tree by outstretched branch. “And then they become the big ones.” She spoke aloud as she traveled. “It’s absurd. Like an elf choosing to become a gnome instead of a tree, or a cloud, or the sun. Why be anything but what you most want to be?”

The net wrapped around her like an excited ogre’s hug and bore her to the ground. “Because some of us don’t get a choice.” The rough-voiced human crouched over her before slinging the net over her shoulder. “Let’s go,” she called. “If we get this to market by nightfall, we might eat tonight.”

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