The Trelf and the Cow
Once upon a time in a land of green pastures and brown dirt, there lived a trelf and a cow, happily married by a wandering minstrel and his dog. A trelf is an elf who loves to bake cookies. They lived in Battle Creek, Iowa, which had once been a thriving gold-mining town. The mine just out of town had been home to the trelf’s entire extended family of 300 trelves, but the mine collapsed after one trelf’s oven exploded. With no gold mine, the economy of the town dried up and people deserted the town until Battle Creek was little more than a ghost town; except for all the trelves. See, when the gold mine collapsed, the trelves were left without a home. So they hid in the fields until the town was empty then moved into the vacant buildings. The cow and trelf were married shortly after the trelves inhabited the town and were content to stay with the trelf’s family.
One day, the happy couple was wandering about, making lovey-dovey faces at each other, when they stumbled upon a bon lying on a tree stump. A bon is the spirit of a tree. They rushed over to see if he was all right.
“Are you all right?” the cow asked.
“No. I’m dying,” the bon croaked out.
“Well, who did this to you?” the trelf asked.
“A . . . lum . . . ber . . . jack,” whispered the bon, as he slowly fell silent.
“Oh no,” said the cow. “He’s dead.” The bon suddenly gasped for air and coughed. Looking at the trelf he whispered, “Avenge . . . me,” and died.
“What should we do with him?” the cow asked.
I don’t know,” the trelf wondered, “Bury him, I guess.”
But as they picked him up, he dispirited into fat air, never to be seen or heard from again.
“Well, what do we do now?” asked the cow.
“We go find that lumberjack and ask him why he killed that poor, helpless bon,” the trelf decided.
“But shouldn’t we tell your family what we’re doing?”
“And let them steal this golden opportunity to prove our worth? No way!”
“But what if he kills us to conceal his crime?”
“Don’t worry honey, he can’t take on both of us.”
So off they went in search of the murderous lumberjack. His trail wasn’t hard to find as he left strings of tree stumps and dead bons behind. After several nights of tracking, the cow collapsed on the nearest stump.
“I can’t do this, I’m too tired,” the cow complained.
“Come on, honey, I’m sure he’s just over this next ridge,” the trelf told her.
“You’ve been saying that for the past week and we’re still following him. We’ll never catch up.”
Suddenly, they heard a loud thwack. The trelf ran up to the top of the next hill and started jumping for joy.
“What is it?” his wife asked from the bottom of the hill. “What do you see?”
“We found it!” exclaimed the trelf; “We found the lumberjack’s camp.”
Sure enough, at the bottom of the hill stood the biggest lumberjack the trelf had ever seen. He must have been 100 feet tall he was so big. Despite the intimidation factor, the trelf and his wife marched up to the lumberjack, who was measuring a tree.
“Excuse me,” squeaked the trelf, feeling very nervous indeed. The lumberjack wiggled his ear with his finger as if it had water in it. The trelf tried again. “Excuse me,” he said. Again the lumberjack continued to ignore him as he picked up his axe and prepared to hack down the next tree. “EXCUSE ME!” shouted the cow. The lumberjack dropped his axe and spun around to face his attacker. He looked around for a minute, then glanced down.
“A cow and a garden gnome,” the lumberjack said.
“Number one, I’m a trelf, and number two, we’re here to ask you what you’re doing,” the trelf said.
“Yes,” the cow said, “and why you are murdering those poor helpless bons.”
“You guys can talk?” the lumberjack said in amazement.
“Yes, of course we can talk,” the cow said impatiently. “We asked you a question.” The lumberjack continued to stare at the pair in amazement, although the initial shock was fading.
“Yeah,” the trelf said, “what about those poor bons?”
“What are you guys talking about?” the lumberjack said. “I’m just harvesting trees for the Tree Smack-em-Down Company of Gilead, Wisconsin.”
“Well then what are you doing in the middle of Iowa?” the cow said.
“Well . . . um . . .” the lumberjack appeared flustered, like he was trying to hide something. “You know, that’s a good question, ‘What am I doing in the middle of Iowa?’ um . . . my company is expanding it’s business. Yeah, that’s it. We’re expanding our harvesting, um, range to Iowa. There’s not much wood left in Wisconsin.”
“But why Iowa?” the trelf asked.
“Well little man,” the lumberjack said, crouching down to get a better look at the trelf, “Iowa was the closest state with enough lumber.”
“Well, you’re going to have to go back to Wisconsin,” the cow said, “because every time you chop down a tree, a bon dies.”
“Yeah, about that,” the lumberjack said, “you mentioned those things before. What are bons?”
“Well,” the trelf said, “they are the spirit of the tree. And we will stop you and your evil company from killing anymore helpless trees and tree spirits.”
“Those are big words coming from such a little guy,” the lumberjack said. The trelf turned beet red and started muttering something under his breath. The cow turned to her husband and said,
“Let me handle this, hon.” The cow turned back to the lumberjack and said,
“I’m sorry about my husband, he just gets a little excited when he thinks he can do something. Last year he tried to save the whales, but you can guess how that went.”
“Yeah,” the lumberjack said, “damn hippies.”
“Any ways, is there any way we could persuade you to stop cutting down these trees?”
“Well, if you could tell me where to find a better forest to chop from, I would be able to leave these trees alone. How would that do?”
“That would be just fine. Now let me think. Ah yes. There is a lovely forest of good lumber just outside of Dodgeville, Tennessee. Would that be good enough for you?”
“That would be great! There’s only one problem.”
“I have to make sure that bons are eliminated from the face of this earth. They killed my family. And no heifer is going to stand in my way.” The lumberjack stood up and grabbed his axe.
“RUN!” screamed the trelf, as he leapt onto his wife’s back. The cow began to run back up the hill while the lumberjack chased them with his axe raised high. They ran for several miles, slowly loosing the lumberjack, until he collapsed from weakness. The cow and the trelf continued to run, stopping for nothing. Finally they arrived in Nebraska, where the cow had relatives that they could stay with.
After resting, they decided to take a train back to Iowa and report the lumberjack to the police. After a cramped ride in the baggage car, they arrived in Des Moines, Iowa. As they headed down Main Street, they thought about what they were going to tell the police. I mean, it’s not every day that a talking cow and a mythical being walk into a modern police station to report a crime. And it’s not like they could use a phone without any money. So they walked into the police station and up to the front desk. The trelf stood on his wife’s back and spoke to the officer.
“Excuse me, officer. But we’d like to report a crime.” The donut in the policeman’s hand dropped to the floor with a smack as the officer looked at the trelf in amazement.
“That’s right officer,” the cow said, raising her head so she could she him, “there is a lumberjack murdering bons out in the plains around Battle Creek. We’d like you to do something about it.”
“What’s going on here, Lieutenant?” Police Chief Bratton said, as he barged through the door, staring at the cow and the trelf.
“Uh . . . sir,” the lieutenant replied, “the cow and the elf . . .” he was interrupted by the trelf, “That’s trelf, sir.”
“Sorry. The cow and the trelf have a crime to report,” the lieutenant finished.
“WHAT!” screamed the chief, “What do you mean they have a crime to report. Everyone knows cows don’t talk and elves or whatever don’t exist.”
“There’s no need to shout,” the cow said, turning to the chief, “we’re right here.” Chief Bratton’s jaw dropped as he stared at the cow, before realizing he was being rude.
“Yes of course. What can we help you with today?”
“We came to tell you,” the trelf said, “that there is a man posing as a lumberjack outside of Battle Creek cutting down trees inhabited by bons, which are tree spirits. He claims they murdered his family. Personally I think he’s a little wacky.”
“All right,” Bratton said, “let me get on the horn to Battle Creek PD and we’ll get this straightened out right away. I won’t have psychotic tree killers in my state.”
“Thank you very much,” the cow said.
“You’re quite welcome,” Bratton said. And with that, the cow and trelf walked out of the station and headed home. The lumberjack was arrested on charges of possession of a very sharp axe and a bad attitude and was admitted to Battle Creek Psycho Ward on January the 1st, 2000. The cow and the trelf spent the rest of their lives in the plains around Battle Creek, pleased that they had saved the bons, and content to live the rest of their lives making lovey-dovey faces at each other and eating the trelf’s delicious cookies.