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During a walk along the ‘River Wear’ bank this morning I was reminded of a Naughty Little Elf.
He snapped twigs on trees, swung on branches that cracked with his weight.
Kicked the heads of flowers, knocked down fences and stiles.
Threw large stones in the river frightening hard working ‘Salmon’ who were on their way to spawn….
Worst of all he spray painted concrete supports of the overpass.. Pointlessly.

His mother was distraught at such an unruly boy and asked his Father to deal with the matter.
Eventually, Father called the boy to his side and sternly warned him of a very short life if he didn’t calm down.

This is a Magical place where Birds sing, Wild Flowers grow and Life Evolves as Nature takes its course.
You are a Disruptive Elf and your actions upset rather than support.
You are to be punished and you WILL Do as Your Told.. The Magic will make you… to resist will leave you out in the cold!

Your task is to count ALL of the leaves on the trees by the river bank for 100 yards from our house.
Well; this young man was only twelve and lied every day when asked if he was counting.
Soon the Autumn came as did the fall.
A carpet of leaves covered the ground and this young Elf ran about, kicking them as they rustled in the dry crisp morning.
How many leaves are there enquired his father.
I don’t know replied the boy, who thought the earlier request a joke.

RIGHT Young Man… Here is your coat, Gloves and Hat.. Do not come home until you have counted ALL the leaves in 100 yards!!
The Elf cried, his mother screamed but Father said The Boy Must be Disciplined… He Must Learn Respect and Responsibility otherwise his life will be wasted!

The Elf began to count the leaves, throwing them over his shoulder one by one until he got to One Million but then disaster struck.
The wind blew through the pile behind him and scattered ALL; like Golden Stars in the Autumn sunshine falling from the sky in front of him.
He was horrified and cried whilst banging on his parent’s cottage door, to no avail.

Upset and sobbing he found wood, nails, a hammer and bags in the tumble down shed nearby.
Making a frame out of fencing posts and lining it with wood slats was a thankless task but his anger got the better of him and he created a large box.
The bags were used to collect the leaves and he began his task again…
Now this took some time and whilst food was left out for this lonely Elf he was cold at night, but he continued his task day after day and week after week.

The wind howled, rain squalled, the frost bit, snow flurried at times;
The young Elf reflected upon all of his crimes.

One Billion and Two then Three, then Four;
The wood box filled up, he could hardly shut the door.

The task now complete he returned to his home;
No longer an Elf, now a fully grown Gnome.

It was Christmas Eve, Snow covered the ground;
A tree emblazoned in lights stacked with presents he found.

You have completed your task said Father Santa, but have learned much more;
There is a Big World out there which you must Respect and Adore.

Life isn’t a practice, it’s one chance, a gift to us all;
Now you Have begun to understand; make the most of it…. Have a Ball!!

Have a Very Merry Christmas followed by a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year

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