Once upon a time, an elf and a troll lived in their little corners of the Divine Forest. The elf was short, blond, with giant grey eyes and green clothes, his face was pale and wise. He lived high in a golden tree. From there he observed the whole Forest and knew everything that happened. His knowledge was unmatched by any of the other Forest creatures.
At the other end of that spectrum was the troll. He lived in a hole in the ground. He knew of nothing and cared of nothing but himself. He was enormous and fat, with dark grey skin, small eyes and no clothes at all.
One day a human entered the Forest. The elf saw him at once. The troll would’ve cared not if the poor man hadn’t stumbled upon his cave. That man was a druid and didn’t fear the forests. Not until he faced the troll. The man thought “What a simple creature, unburdened by the troubles of the world.”. His opinion changed when the troll grabbed him by the foot and dragged him into his cave. “Mercy”, begged the druid, but his plead fell on deaf years. The giant threw him in a big hole where there was no chance to climb out and escape. The floor was layered with bones and ripped clothes. A torn hand was hanging from the wall. It was put there clearly as a warning - there is no escape. That alone hinted that the troll had intelligence, potential...
“Hey you, mister Troll, I know you understand me. Answer me!”, the druid shouted with all his voice.
Yes, the troll heard him, he understood him. He always got amused by the pleads of his victims. And, yes, he wasn’t stupid, so he knew something was different now. Something was very different. So he answered.
“Yes, human, tell me what is on your mind.” the troll’s voice was unlike what you’d expect. It was suave and mysterious. He also moved to the edge of the hole and pointed a lamp at the druid, to see him better. That man was dressed in greyish fur.
“Human, I see you are familiar with the concept of taking the lives of lesser beings to make your life easier.”, said the troll pointing at his attire. “You are familiar with the circle of life, are you not.”, he licked his lips.
The druid had nothing more to say so he remained silent and scared to death. It was then when the elf arrived.
“Greetings, fellow Forest dweller!”, he cheerfully said to the troll.
“Nangarash, what are you doing here”, the giant asked.
“To take you dinner away, I am afraid.” the elf grinned.
“Under one condition!” proudly the troll said, “You have to tell me my name!”
Nangarash became pale as a cloud. He scratched his head, looked around shook his head.
“Of course you don’t! We’ve been living in this Forest together for 900 years and you still don’t know my name.”, laughed the troll, “You are really pathetic. Look at me! Nangarash, the stupid elf that knows everything, but what is bloody under his giant hooter!”, he continued to laugh.
The druid’s last hope died. And he knew soon he’ll have to follow.
“I am Halibag! Remember that. Now you can take the human, I don’t like them when they wet their pants nor when they are all covered in wolf flesh, I hate wolf it smells like poo.”, once again laughed the troll.
“Ah, yes, Halibag, would you be so nice to fetch the human for me, I do need him for important tasks.”, so he did and soon the elf was walking with the druid.
“Why did you save me?”, asked the human.
“I need you to do something for me!”, told him Nangarash, “Something that no elf can do.”
“What is that?”
“It’s a little embarrassing...”, the elf muttered.
“Oh, you have my curiosity peeked!”
“Well, haven’t you wondered why elves aren’t the dominant species on Earth?”
“Can’t say that I have...”
“Well, we can’t... count to more than 12...”
The druid burst into laughter.
“Oh, very funny, simple man!”, remarked the elf.
“So, what do you need me to count? All your fingers and toes?”, then he looked at the elves hand. It had three fingers, “You are one messed up species, aren’t you?”
“Don’t get smart with me. Count the trees and you won’t end up as troll supper.”
“You need me to count all the trees?”, asked the druid.
“Yup”, Nangarash answered.
* * *
So the druid counted the trees. It took him two years, but he did. At the end he went to Nangarash and told him the number. The elf seemed impressed.
“Good work”, he said, then smacked the poor human on the head.
The next time the druid awoke he was in a giant cauldron, while Nangarash was cutting carrots in it. A small dragon was tending the fire.
“Have you ever wondered what elves eat?”, Nangarash asked the druid.
“Now I have a pretty good idea.”, the human mumbled when his skin started boiling and separating from his flesh.
The Forest filled with screams while birds continued to sing. Nothing unusual was going on...
“The troll didn’t make me do hard work before he wanted to eat me...”, the druid thought as he slipped away, never to wake up again...