Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/899000-Peter-Pumpkin-Eater
by Shaara
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Holiday · #899000
I was carving a plain ordinary pumpkin when an elf popped out.

I was carving a plain ordinary pumpkin when an elf popped out.


Peter Pumpkin-Eater

I pierced the skin of the pumpkin with my knife. “Ploosh,” it exhaled with an almost silent gasp. Ignoring the sound, I cut around the handle, and lifted its top. Then setting down the lid, I reached my hand inside to scoop out the goop.

“Ha, ha, ha! You’re tickling me!” a tiny voice cried out.

I dropped to my knees and peered inside that big, orange squash. “What in the world?” I said, as I poked an eye through the rounded hole of its lid.

“Ooh, did you check to see if I was dressed first? You naughty girl!” the same diminutive voice said, flirtatiously.

That took me aback. In fact, I almost tipped over backwards. But bravely I peeped inside again. I was positive someone was just playing a trick on me. After all, it was my brother who’d brought the pumpkin to me. He’d probably dropped a tape recorder in it. Maybe the pumpkin had a false bottom. I tilted it upside down to check.

“Ackkkkkkkk!” cried out the voice, as a small green man plopped down into my lap.

“Oh, you're worth coming out for,” he said. “Lift me up higher, lass. Let me check out your...”

“Stop it,” I said, taking a thumb and finger and lifting the elf off me.

“Oh, my ears!” he exclaimed.

For a moment, I felt guilty. Maybe it did hurt an elf to be lifted up by his ears, but I didn’t trust the guy. There was something about the way he kept licking his lips and staring at certain parts of me.

“Ah, I’m almost in heaven,” the elf sang in a smooth Irish tenor.

My heart skipped a beat. I’m a sucker for a song. But just in case he was using magic to charm me, I dropped him back down into the pumpkin.

“Oh, no! Don’t do that, lass. I was so enjoying the sight of good . . .”

The word he used was so blushingly obscene, I slammed the cap back onto the pumpkin.

“Stop, stop,” he mumbled, or rather the lid muffled his voice. I tilted it slightly so I could hear what he was trying to tell me.

“I’m sorry, lass. I promise I’ll guard my tongue; it’s just that it’s been so long since I . . .”

I started to close the lid again.

“Wait. I said I’d guard my tongue,” he promised. “Give me a moment. Let me think about what's proper for me to say to a young lady like yourself.”

I waited, wondering how an elf had gotten locked inside my pumpkin.

“Okay. Let’s start again, lass. I’m Sir Peter, the prince of the elves. I’ll give you a kiss or a wish, whichever you wish.”

“Well, I sure don’t want a kiss from someone who smells like pumpkin and is no bigger than my finger,” I told him, laughing.

“Are you married, lass?” he asked.

“No, but that’s no business of yours,” I told him, slightly bugged by his question.

“Ah, but then I know what wish to grant you,” he said. “I’ll make a fine husband for you.”

I laughed again. That's how I discovered that it is not wise to laugh at an elf prince. He turned bright orange, whistled the most horrible tune I’ve ever heard – all discordant and horribly sharp -- and then he burst out of the pumpkin shell and landed in my arms.

Then as I watched, he grew and grew and grew until he was the same size –- no bigger, than me. I dropped him then and stepped back, but it was too late. He swung me up in his arms and carried me down into the pumpkin.

Now I must admit it was roomy inside, and the seeds were quite pleasant to nibble on, but that naughty elf chased me all around, and he never gave me a moment of peace.

So many times I told him that day that I was sorry for laughing at his size and his smell, but he wouldn't forgive me. He said that I was too uppity and must stay for the next hundred years inside the pumpkin.

I kept thinking about how the pumpkin was probably starting to rot on the bench of my porch. Cut pumpkins never last long. Wouldn't the gnats come and circle and then dive in and start eating?

It was Saturday when I first sliced into the orange meat of that pumpkin shell. Tomorrow would be Halloween. The children would come to my house and not find any candy. And then on Monday, who would take over my class at school?

I was thinking so hard about my future, the elf prince caught me again. He slathered kisses across my nose and licked his lips. “Pumpkin maiden,” he called me, and then he laughed and asked me to tell him my wish.

But I had already done so, hour after hour. “I wish to be back home in my house, full-sized and safe from elf princes," I told him again.

“Wrong wish,” he laughed and he sang another ditty.

Once more I ran, and he chased.

As darkness filtered in through the capped lid of the pumpkin, he caught me again.

"All right,” I said. “I give up. I wish for a full-sized prince of an elf to marry me and live with me happily ever after.”

“Right wish!” he cheered, and he enfolded me in his arms, and we shot out of the pumpkin and onto my doorstep.

Our marriage took place the very next morning on Halloween. Yet, I must admit that we have been very, very happy.

However, each year when my brother offers to bring me a pumpkin, I always shake my head and say, “No, thank you.” And Peter laughs and laughs. Then he sings me a love song with his fine Irish tenor voice.


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