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When tiny Winker Leafkin finds a beautiful blue egg to enter in the annual elfin Easter egg contest, he is unprepared for what happens.
The oaks were thick and very tall. The chestnut trees were mammoth. Even nearby stalks of grass arched high over Winker Leafkin's head. Yet, as the tiny elf stared up through the massive trees, he wasn't thinking of their great size. He was searching for a bird's nest.
His best friend Buttercup studied a patch of brown lichen growing on a rock. She sniffed it with her pixy nose and broke off a piece to crush between her slender green fingers. A forest elf like Winker, she stood four inches tall and wore a pine needle cape. Her hat of green leaves hid her pointed ears and yellow hair. Like all the elves, Buttercup took great care to blend with the forest colors so she could hide easily from humans.
Buttercup sniffed the rock again. "I smell weasel," she announced.
Winker looked at her briefly. "Weasel? We haven't seen weasels in years."
"It's weasel," Buttercup concluded. "I'll never forget that smell. Before I learned the spell of protection, one nearly ate me."
Winker was too distracted by his search to be concerned. He looked past her toward the sky.
"Winker! Look at me!" Buttercup demanded. "And come smell this!"
Winker sighed and stepped over to Buttercup. He sniffed at the rock. "You're right, it's weasel," he agreed. "Don't worry, though. That's an old scent. He's probably miles from here by now."
Buttercup glared at her short friend, angry at his indifference. In his tunic of black wool, he looked even smaller than he truly was. Only three inches tall, Winker Leafkin was the tiniest elf in the forest.
"Just in case," she said, "I'm playing my flute."
"Go ahead," Winker scoffed, as his companion pulled a small wooden flute from her cape. While she played, he climbed the rock for a clearer view of the trees.
With his hand on his hips, Winker turned slowly, scanning the branches of each tree. He stopped once to blow a strand of bright copper hair out of his eyes. After tucking it back under his acorn cap, his gaze returned to the trees.
Meanwhile, satisfied she had warded off the weasel, Buttercup finished her musical spell and put away her flute. She turned back to the rock and scraped off little pieces of the crusty lichen which grew on it. Folding the scrapings into a broad green leaf, she stuffed it into a reed sack already filled with the purplish petals from an iris. Then she whistled to Winker and pointed down the elf trail. "Let's look in the meadow," she urged.
Winker nodded and followed her through the shadows of the forest floor. As he walked, he kept looking toward the sky. It wasn't long till he tripped over a tree root and went tumbling forward in a heap.
"Winker, pay attention!" scolded Buttercup as she helped him to his feet. "Stop looking up. Plants don't grow in the sky."
Winker frowned at the tree root. He sat on it and pouted. "I guess it's no use," he mumbled. He looked up at his friend. "Buttercup ah Buttercup_" he started to say.
"How about this?" Buttercup interrupted, pointing to an unusual lichen growing on the oak beside them.
Winker grunted absently. His gaze moved up the tree. Suddenly he jumped to his feet, grabbed the rough bark of the trunk and began to climb.
"Where are you going?" demanded Buttercup. "Don't you want to win the contest? I want our egg to be the best."
But Winker wasn't listening. Inch by inch, he climbed the ancient tree.
Buttercup stared after him. Then she set to work scraping some lichen off the bark. She put it in the reed sack with the other plants they had collected. "Let's go, Winker," she yelled. "I can't wait to see what color we get when we soak these. I hope it's purple."
Winker didn't hear his friend. He had reached the lowest branch of the tree and was smiling happily to himself. He'd found the nest he'd been looking for.
The elf stood absolutely still, watching for the birds who had made the nest. Not seeing them, he scrambled along the limb. Then, standing on tiptoe, he peered inside the bowl-shaped nest of mud and twigs. What he saw took his breath away. Inside was an egg that was pure blue.
"How about blue?" he called to Buttercup.
"Blue what?" Buttercup shrugged.
Buttercup shook her head. "I don't think lichens make a blue dye."
"It's not lichen," called Winker. "It's a bird's egg and it's already done. It's blue."
Buttercup stomped her foot. "Winker, that's a robin's egg. You can't steal a robin's egg out of its nest."
"But it's so beautiful," Winker argued. "No one will have a blue egg. We'd win for sure. And besides_"
"No!" said Buttercup.
Winker bit his lip. He climbed back down the tree and walked over to Buttercup, hanging his head. "And besides," he continued, "we don't have an egg to dye."
Buttercup looked at him in disbelief.
"The hummingbird egg we found last summer I kept it under my bed for safekeeping," Winker said miserably. "But I forgot the bed always falls down when I jump on it and_"
"You smashed it?" Buttercup screamed.
Winker pointed to the tree. "But I found a new egg."
|Chapter 1: Eggs and Elves and Magic Spells||Page 1|
|Chapter 2: Nest-Building: Winker's Way||Page 10|
|Chapter 3: Up Pops the Weasel||Page 22|
|Chapter 4: Worms! Worms! Worms!||Page 33|
|Chapter 5: A Battle in the Night||Page 46|
|Chapter 6: The Stranger on the Boot||Page 57|
|Chapter 7: No More Worms: Blue||Page 70|
|Chapter 8: Danger: Danger Everywhere||Page 82|
|Chapter 9: Escape to the Sky||Page 96|
|Chapter 10: At the Top of Fairy Mountain||Page 108|