The October night was cold, as October is wont to be. Tirnhîr (Scoutmaster) Fingaerdir Lhaindaerion waited for the children to gather around his campfire like moths.
The children of Tirnherth Haran-a-Canad (Scout Troop 104 for the humans) trickled towards the fire, chattering in English and in Sindarin, and squabbling over which log was the best to sit on. The human and Elen (Elf) children stayed mostly separate, Fingaerdir noticed sadly.
Clearing his throat, the Scoutmaster waited for the children (Elvish scouting troops allowed male and female scouts) to quiet down. When they did, he began to speak.
“Though many of you already know this, we elves have been alive for much longer than humans. In that time, we have created many stories. Many of those are just stories, but this, I promise you, is one hundred percent true.” He paused for a moment.
“In ancient times, during the early Age of Atlantis, the Atlantean Empire wished to expand. They found someplace, a forest in the middle of nowhere, where we are now, actually, and decided to build a city there. To do so, they sent settlers to set up a village, from which they would build the city.”
“The settlers arrived and set up tents, just like you did, and surveyed the area. It was getting late, so they went to sleep. The next day, one of them was gone.”
“The elves were scared. But they thought that it was just a one-time thing, a coincidence. So they continued their task. They had managed to build several foundations, and they went again to sleep.”
“The next morning, two more of the workers were missing. In the tent of one of them, a drop of blood was found. The elves were very scared now, but they kept working.”
All of the children were now listening, eyes wide.
“That night, the elves decided not to sleep. They drank potions that would allow them to stay up all night – something which some of you are probably planning on doing – and watched.”
“As they sat around the fire, watching, waiting, they heard a loud noise. A tree had fallen down. When they looked back, the group that had had twenty people lost another three. But the three who would vanish had not done so yet. They were floating, surrounded by what looked like clouds, and then they were gone.”
“The elves left. They ran, screaming, thinking they would never return. But as they ran to a nearby city, they found a group of humans. ‘Can you help us?’ the elves asked.”
“They explained their plight – that means danger – and the humans told them, ‘Yes, we can help you.'”
“The next week, the humans and elves came back to the place the elves had been. That night, they sat, each person watching another, but nobody was taken. Instead, two trees fell, and a large cloud came out of the woods. But it was not a cloud at all. It was a ghost!”
“‘I am the ghoooost of the Wicked Camper! Why are you in my hooooooome?'”
“Both the elves and humans were very, very scared. The Wicked Camper seemed very angry. All of the people there drew their weapons.”
“The Wicked Camper laughed. ‘Yooooooou cannoooooot even hoooooope to defeat me!'”
“One of the elves, whose brother had been killed by the Camper the previous week, summoned a fireball. He shot it at the Camper.”
“The fireball went straight through the ghost and landed on the ground. The Camper laughed. ‘Yooooooou see? Yoooooooou are weak!'”
“Another elf stepped forward. ‘If magic cannot harm you, I know what can!'”
“He looked at the elves and at the humans. All of them nodded. He took from his bag a scroll he had created. He read, ‘Yawa og stsohg sekam taht lleps eht si ereh!'”
“You see, they had planned to make the Ghost come out, and that they would trap him in a spell that they would create. Elves, though, could not do it alone, because humans are better at planning than we elves are, and have faster instincts. The plan that the elves made on their own would have failed. The humans all started glowing, and so did the elves, and lines of light shot out of them, creating a spider-like web of magic around the Camper.”
“‘Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!’ the ghost shouted. The Wicked Camper was defeated, banished, and no sign of him would ever be seen again.”
“They returned to the city and told the tale. From then on, the same spell was always used to defeat ghosts.”
Finishing his story, Fingaerdir bowed. The children, many of whom had been frightened, breathed sighs of relief. He hoped that, by telling the story, he would have made the elves and humans realize that they could be friends with each other, that humans and elves could work together. If nothing else, it was a good story.