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The Elf Joke
This joke is best told in a large group setting, with great feeling and suspense.

Once upon a time, there was a man walking along the side of a mountain road. Although the sun was shining, the day seemed monotonous to him as he slowly paced his way through the pebbles on the shoulder. The man was homeless, just about to arrive at the city to the east, down on the plains below. He crested over the highest point of the road and saw his destination before him, with miles upon miles of mountainous winding road between him and the city. He sighed, the cold air highlighting his breath, and he pondered the length of time it would take to reach the sight he beheld below. Continuing along the two-lane road, he became lost in his thoughts, admiring the trees around him as he began his descent. He pondered the significance of his existence in the world around him. He pondered what was so important to that which seemed so meaningless, such as the pair of squirrels which clambered down a tall pine to chatter at him from the lowest branch, only to scamper back up a moment later. He smiled, thinking to himself I guess I will never know, I am not a squirrel. He was a simple man, always able to be amused by the smallest things in life. He continued along the pavement and around yet another bend, completely lost in his thoughts.

Suddenly, the roar of an engine filled the air. Ravens screeched and flew away, the brown bear up the side of the mountain a few hundred yards lumbered back towards his den, and even the pine trees themselves around the man seemed to lean away from the harsh cry of the unseen motor. The man, lost in his thoughts did not even notice, continuing his plodding along the shoulder of the road. A large van swerved around the corner behind the man, riding in the shoulder- so the van honked its horn, slammed on its brakes, but was too late. The body of the man went flying, smacked a pine trunk, and went rolling down the mountainside, dropping off a cliff. The van took off, refusing to acknowledge what had just occurred.

The man woke to the sound of sniffing in his ear, and suddenly a wet nose, followed by the putrid breath of one who eats rotting meat. Curious, he attempted to turn his head, only to have pain lance through his entire body. He yelled out loud, and the sniffing stopped, yet the man knew whatever it was refused to move, staying still and watching, just... watching. Despite the extreme pain, he tried yet again to lift his head, and he did manage to turn ever so slightly. When he saw what was there, he was alarmed. A large coyote had found him while he was passed out and decided to inspect the strange object in the base of the snowy gorge. The man yelled again, this time in fear, and the coyote turned tail and ran, leaving the man alone in the forest once again. The man wondered why the coyote would run with a free meal so handy, but then shivered, thinking to himself I guess I will never know, I am not a coyote. Judging his condition would be better, he thought, so he took note both of his legs were broken, his hip as well, possibly a few vertebrae in his neck, yet he lived. He wallowed in the thought of the coyote returning with its pack to find his helpless form at the base of the gorge cliff and tearing him to pieces, but he pushed the thought from his mind, refusing to believe he was truly about to die. He thought it might be best to take in his surroundings and decide the best course of action from there. From where he was, he could see the ancient pines around him, the snow along the gorge which had refused to melt during the summer months, the rocky cliff to his right, casting shadows along the narrow ravine floor, a red trail in the snow leading up to his position, which did not alarm him for some reason, but there was one thing he saw which he did not know whether to appreciate or be terrified of. The bleak blue sky, bleached white from the cold air in the mountains, was not the color of sky he knew and loved from his childhood days in the park on a picnic. No, this sky was the color of death itself, the absence of color being the absence of life. Nothing moved in the sky, no clouds existed, no birds flew by, and no leaves from the few orange oak trees around blew past. Although it was mostly obscured by the pines around him, he still found the image of the sky unsettling. At long last, he realized no help would come if he did not try to get it. He cried out to the road on top of the ridge, hoping someone would hear his plea for help.

He cried out for hours, the daylight beginning to slip away, and with it, he feared, his life. He could hear the occasional vehicle pass far up the side of the cliff, yet there was almost no point in trying. No one knew he was here. No one had reason to even look here for him if he was missing. No one would notice he was missing, as there was no one left in his life who cared. He started to think he saw shadows moving towards him, but he just chuckled despite his predicament, believing he was going insane. The man gave up, and with the crawling darkness growing closer to his destroyed form, his last bits of glimmering hope faded away.

He woke to the sound of a crackling fire, the smell of fresh brown bread from the oven along with soup from the stove mixed with the smoke from a pipe, and the soft, warm press of a pillow against the back of his head. He groaned, not knowing where he was and being unsure what to do, but more importantly, a soreness had grip of his entire body.

Ah, you have finally awoken.

The man jolted, not recognizing the voice and at the same time finally realizing he was in an unfamiliar place. The man groaned out Where... where am I?

The gravelly, stern voice stated In my home, of course. There I was, walking along, getting some sap from my favorite birch tree and I hear this cry for help from down in the gorge below. There you were, a poor busted up chap who needed some of my expert healing skills desperately. Took me a few hours to get to you, it did. There is no safe way down that gorge, and you decided to take the fastest way down. Straight down. 127 foot drop, that is. I kept trying to call out to you, and you seemed to notice me a few times, but I doubt you realized what I truly am. Humans cannot see elves, unless the impossible happened. Even then most of you cannot see us, but we have always stuck to these mountains, hidden by the pines we love. It is unlikely you would see us regardless. Anyways, I then took you here, nursed you back to health, and now you are awake, ready for a proper chat. You have been in a coma for the past five months.

Alarmed, the man sat up as fast as his sore muscles would allow. He looked out the window to see buds on the branches along all the trees, save the pines of course. The brook below ran deep and swift, from the snowmelt up higher in the mountains. Until he saw this, he did not believe the voice which had told him these things, but now with spring upon his window, the man knew his healer had told him the truth. He turned to see who the voice belonged to, yet saw no one in the small, cozy hut. He squinted, yet could not make out anyone nearby.

Perhaps you must look for me in a way you have not looked before, said the voice. Suddenly, the air shimmered next to the man, and standing before him was a four-foot-tall elf. Call me Master Elf, or just Master Elf, if you please said the elf.

The man was amused by this, being a simple person amused by strange humor. He liked this elf, not to mention the elf saved his life.

The man greeted Master Elf with a warm embrace, which Master Elf seemed to enjoy, retuning it with great gusto.

I am so glad you have finally decided to wake up said Master Elf. I have had so many questions, but you have stayed out for the longest time.

The man then proceeded to converse with Master Elf, staying all though the hours of the day, and then even a bit into the night. Finally, the man realized he should not take advantage of the hospitality of Master Elf, and proceeded to make his leave. However, before he could go, Master Elf put in one last request.

Stay the night. I want to make sure you are doing fine, as you did just wake up from a coma.

The man agreed this was for the best, and proceeded to stay the night. However, that night, it began.

It started as a low moan drifting down through the trees from the top of the mountain, growing to a far-off wail from some poor tortured soul. Eventually, it developed into an intense screaming which would not relent- and the man remained awake the entire night due to this horrid intonation of doom. No sleep was to be had for the man that night.

The next morning, the man groaned as he rolled out of bed, exhausted from listening to the howling all night long. Master Elf greeted him warmly, asking how the man slept. The man, not wanting to lie, stated Well, the bed was nice and comfortable, yet there was this horrid sound all night, and I could not sleep!

Master Elf nodded knowingly, his head bobbing in short, quick movements. I understand. You just get used to it, it happens every night.

The man, curious, asked What is it? It sounded like the inside of a torture chamber.

Master Elf nodded knowingly again, but then stopped, glanced at the ground and rubbed his hands together. I would love to tell you... Master Elf trailed off.


I would love to tell you, but I cannot. You are not an elf.

The man rolled his eyes. All different manners of creatures had their secrets. However, since he could communicate with Master Elf, he pressed harder.

Is there any way you could tell me? he asked.

Well, there is one way. But it takes a long time, and I doubt it is that important to you.

What is it? the man asked, his curiosity stronger than ever.

If you really must know, you must go to elf school for six months, then come be my apprentice for three years. Only then can you be an elf in full, and only then can I share the secret of the shrieking cave with you.

The man thought for a moment. He thought of all his friends back home, his job, his wife... He then realized he had no wife, no friends (other than Master Elf), no job, not even a home. He then decided his fate.

I want to be an elf, Master Elf.

Master Elf smiled, and taking a pipe down from the mantle, he lit it, pondered this, and made up his mind.

Then an elf you shall be. Master Elf said. I shall send you to elf school in the morning.

The man, excited he may now have a life to live, though it may not be among his own race, headed to bed, thoughts of his life to come filling his mind. However, as he began to fall asleep, it began again, this time, a bit louder. The screaming racked every nerve in his body, not allowing any sleep for the second night in a row. It continued to grow in intensity throughout the night, getting louder and louder until nothing else could be heard, not even the roaring fire, as the sound of the fire was vastly outmatched by the gut-wrenching shrieking of the cave blasting through the mountains. Morning came, and with it, Master Elf waved his hands in front of the face of the man, and the man was sent to elf school.

Once the six months had passed, the man, who had had no sleep during that time was exhausted. Yet he and all his fellow classmates were now used to the lack of sleep caused by the shrieking of the cave. They craved sleep, but it would not come, as every time they began to doze off at night it would grow in intensity until they believed they would go deaf from the sound which would tear at their ears through the night. They all wondered what it was, but no one knew. No one, that is, except Master Elf. The man moved in with Master Elf, and proceeded to be his apprentice for three years. Not once did he sleep, for the wailing continued each night, arcing through the shadowy forest and growing louder and loader until dawn. Finally, the day come when the time was up. The man, now an elf, (from this point forward known as the elf), went to Master Elf and requested to know what the sound was. Master Elf stated We shall leave so I can show you at dusk. The elf was excited by this, and quickly prepared food and water for the hike.

The time came, and the elf along with Master Elf began the trek up the mountain. The moaning began, the screaming began, but the shrieking did not start until they reach the mouth of a deep, dark cave. The sound was deafening, and the elf covered his ears while running in to find out what the sound was.


The elf ran full-tilt into a locked iron door, bruising his forehead and probably developing a concussion in the process. He looked back at Master Elf, glaring, and knew Master Elf had let it happen.

Why did you let me do that?! he cried.

Well, what can I say? I am an elf. replied Master Elf. Master Elf proceeded to pat himself down for the key, only to find it missing. Hm. He snapped his fingers. I left it at the hut.

Master Elf proceeded to leave the elf alone in the cave with the howling for the rest of the night, through the day, and all the way until dusk, when he returned with a large iron key.

Master Elf?

Yes, elf?

Two things- one, why did you not bring the key if you knew it the door was here, and two, why did the screaming continue throughout all day today?

Well, elf, the first answer is because I am an elf. The second answer is because we are so close to him he senses us and continues to cry all day.

The elf, not entirely satisfied by these answers, just nodded. He did not expect the answers of Master Elf to make sense all the time. He just took the key, placed it in the keyhole, turned it, and swung the door open, making a loud squeal. The elf ran through, only to find...


The elf ran full-tilt into a locked gold door, smashing his nose against the heavy precious metal. He turned on Master Elf, seething, and knew Master Elf had let it happen again.

WHY did you let me do that?! he cried.

Well, what can I say? I am an elf. replied Master Elf. Master Elf proceeded to pat himself down for the key, only to find it missing. Hm. He snapped his fingers. I left it at the hut.

The elf was too annoyed to reply, or even notice the strange case of deja vu which had just occurred. He just waiting in the nerve-splitting sound until Master Elf returned at the end of the next day, this time with a large gold key.

Finally stated the elf. He was tired of waiting, and his head hurt badly from smacking into two doors. He just proceeded to take the key, place it in the keyhole, turn it, and swing the door wide open, making a soft squeal in the process. The screaming grew in intensity, and the elf ran through the now gaping inky black door, only to find...


The elf just pointed back towards the hut, his front teeth smashed in from the force of the blow against this large diamond door. Master Elf shrugged, then left, muttering What can I say? I am just an elf.

The elf once again failed to notice the strange case of deja vu which had just occurred, again. He just waiting in the soul-sucking-sound until Master Elf returned at the end of the next day, this time with a large diamond key. Master Elf was the one to put the key in this time, and he told the elf this was the final door, the source of the wail lay just beyond this door. He just proceeded to take the key and turn it, swinging the door wide open, with the door silent, revealing a dark, abysmal pit. The screaming grew in intensity, and the elf ran through the door.

What did the elf find?

This text is not readable without highlighting it. You have too much time if you found it!