The story of how the great tree city of the Elves, Ellylion, came to be.
In which Professor Proot teaches:
How the Ellylion came to be
The password that will get you to the famous Manyfruit
How a Dwarf saved the Gnomes from an angry Giant
Avalon is a place full of the most wondrous sights, but few are as inspiring as Ellylion. This is the home of the Lake Elves, whose name in the ancient language of Avalon is Ellyn Choblynniod. (Of course, chob-leen-ee-od is difficult for some to say, I will refer to them as simply The Lake Elves.) Ellylion is an enormous tree, whose trunk takes a day to walk around, and whose top twigs tickle the clouds in the Avalonian sky. Its branches form the grand avenues and boulevards for city of The Lake Elves, who make their home in the knolls and whorls of the wood, living off the Manyfruit that grow there. A Manyfruit is a special kind of fruit; part apple, part pear, half-peach and a little persimmon all mixed, and a most succulent treat it is, I can tell you.
Ellylion sits atop an island in the middle of a lake called Llyn Ellylion, but which was once known as Brudd Begor’s Llyn, which, in the Avalonian means “The Wise Dwarf’s Lake. This is a most important point, because if you ever travel to Llyn Ellylion and wish to taste the Manyfruit, then you must know another of the Extra Fantastic Secrets of Avalon. In this instance, you must know the name of the Wise Dwarf.
Before I whisper to you another Extra Fantastic Secret of Avalon, I think it fair that I share the tale of The Dwarf and the Giant, in which you will learn how Ellylion came to exist.
Where the lake now sits, there was once nothing but a rough and rugged Land of Rocks. None of the peoples of Avalon could live there due to the fact that very little would grow on the rocks except grasses and mosses. So rugged and impassable was this Land of Rocks, Dwarves pulling their wagons were forced to walk a fortnight to get around it. If you do not know it, a fortnight is a very long time to be on the road pulling your wagon. Now, before I tell you who the Dwarf was, I need to tell you about Hamish.
Hamish was a giant. In fact, Hamish was the biggest giant of them all. Where most of his kind could stand eye-to-eye with a treetop sprite in a Sky Scraping Sequoia, Hamish stood knee-high to a mountain. Even the Goblyns, who are not known for exaggerating, said that Hamish stood head-high to a heap of hillocks. This is something Goblyns would know.
As I said, Hamish was a Giant, and because he was a Giant he had an extremely bad temper. It is also true that Hamish’ favorite food was the Mountain Melon. Because he was big, Hamish believed that everything in the mountains belonged to him. This is not true, but because he was so big and so bad tempered, nobody bothered to tell him. I am certainly not going to do it.
Nobody, as it turns out, informed the Gnomes that the Mountain Melons belonged to Hamish. This was most likely because the Gnomes believed that, as is true of everything that grows from the Avalonian soil, the melons did not. This point failed to stop Hamish becoming angry with them when they took melons from the Giant’s favorite patch. Hamish became so enraged that he vowed to smash the Gnomes.
He set about fashioning a bashing club.
He gathered a grove of trees in his enormous hands and twisted them until the wood bulged into the shape of a colossal club, which he named Groynir (Groy-neer). As those of you who speak Giantish know, Groynir means Gnomes’ Bane, which is a terrible name, as is any name with the word “Bane” in it. Why, if my name was Billy, for example, and Hamish made a club named Billy Bane, I am sure I would find the deepest hole in the tallest mountain in which to hide. If your name were Billy, you would be wise to join me.
Now, one thing about Giants that you should know is that they are terrible when it comes to directions. Oh, they do fine in the mountains, because everything there can be found by saying things like “just turn south of the mountain”, or “go to the mountain and take a left.” The Gnomes, however, lived in a hill on the other side of Avalon. This was quite a distance even for a Giant. Since Hamish did not have a mountain to go by, and because he did not know where the Home of the Gnomes was, he roamed for weeks without any luck.
It is important at this point in the tale for you to pay attention, because it is here, in the next few sentences, that I will reveal the Extra Fantastic Secret of Avalon that I promised.
After weeks of wandering, Hamish was tired and he sat down in the Land of Rocks where none of the peoples of Avalon lived. This was good for them because it is one thing to be bashed by a Giant, and quite another to be squashed by his bum. It was at this exact moment that a Dwarf named Daffyd was passing by. Daffyd was pulling a cart full of broken wagon wheels which he had gathered from the villages thereabouts. He planned to take them back to his forge where he would repair them before returning them to their owners for payment.
The tired Giant spied Daffyd. “Excuse me, but do you know the way to the Home of the Gnomes?”
Daffyd thought it strange that a Giant would want to go to the Home of the Gnomes, and so he inquired as to what the Giant’s business was. Hamish explained, quite matter-of-factly, that he intended to bash them for taking his melons. Of course, Daffyd was wise enough not to tell Hamish that the melons belonged to everyone. After all, a Giant is just as likely to bash a Dwarf for his honesty, as he is a Gnome for his hunger. The Gnomes, however, just so happened to be some of Daffyd’s best customers and the thought of losing them to the grumpy Giant was most alarming. The wise Dwarf quickly came up with a plan.
“The Gnomes live half way across Avalon, Sir Giant. If you are tired from the distance you have traveled so far, then you will be utterly exhausted if you walked the rest of the way. Why, I myself left the Home of the Gnomes many months ago. See for yourself,” he said, pointing to his wagon, “the number of wheels that I have gone through because of the great distance. Surely, it would be better for you to go back to the Mountains and bash them when they next come to your melon patch.”
Hamish pondered the words of the Dwarf, and found them to make such sense that he agreed. However, the mountains were a long way from the Land of Rocks, and Groynir was incredibly heavy. Not wanting to lug the club, Hamish threw it to the ground, where it sank deeply. The force of the impact shook Avalon, and cracked open a magical spring that gushed to the surface. Groynir, that twisted tool of many trees, suddenly rooted as it drank from the spring. A great canopy of leaves burst from branches that made up the club, growing into the most majestic tree in all of Avalon: Ellylion. Mended by magic, the fruit of the different trees that made up Groynir became one: the Manyfruit.
Daffyd watched in awe as other trees sprouted along the banks of the new lake. Pods and cones, shaken free by the impact, drank from the magical spring and sprouted before his eyes upon the ridges that rippled up from the shaken ground. The Land of Rocks, where once-barren land had stretched, was transformed into a lake of clear magical waters surrounded by a forest of every manner of tree. In the center stood Ellylion, which in the language of Avalon, means Tree in the Lake.
Where you have trees in Avalon you will likely find Elves, and this is the case with Ellylion. Drawn by the sound and shaking of Groynir’s impact, Elves came from all over Avalon to marvel at the tree that grew before them. The Lake Elves were so happy with this wonder that they built Daffyd a home by the edge of the water which they call as Daffyd’s Dell, and where, if you speak his name to the ferryman, you can ride a skiff to Ellylion. It is the only way you can walk the roads that make up the home of the Lake Elves.
It is also the only way to taste the wonders of the Manyfruit. That, in itself, is well worth the trip.