She didn't even leave him a name.
He was so ugly that not even the squirrels would speak to him. Chipmunks chittered away in fear when he smiled at them. Even the birds flew off with loud chirps to warn other creatures of the presence in the forest of a little monster.
His only friend was an enormous tortoise who was already 150 years old and who didn't have a name, either. The tortoise, who had very bad eyesight, didn't know the elf was ugly. He would frequently squint at the elf and chuckle, and say, "My eyesight's so bad that you look ugly as a wart!"
"I AM ugly as a wart," the elf would say.
But the tortoise would merely rumble his deep chuckle and refuse to believe it. He thought the elf was only being modest.
And so the elf, unloved except by a 150-year-old tortoise with bad eyesight, grew up almost alone.
And then, on his twenty-first birthday, he woke up feeling as if something had changed. . .