Today I would like to introduce you to JP, an elf who recently came to talk to us through Susan, the same way that Mr E does.  Mr E has enormous respect for JP and has mentioned several times that he is one of the most powerful elves he knows, both magically and politically. JP is not originally from Fyn and hails from a neighboring country but, through marriage, he is now considered part of Fyn as well.I found him to be charming, honest and concerned about the earth and humanity, much like Mr E  but perhaps a little less tactful. 🙂  Below are some excerpts from our recent conversations.

The Elven View of  Excess and Waste

JP: Something that is very elvish is to find second uses for things. We really like to take things and find second uses for them. Wasting is something we hate to do, that is an elvish outlook. Most of the seelie elves are very non-wasteful so we practice that in everything we do.

Say for instance, we had dinner and there was extra bread, soup or whatever else we had that could perish. We would take that, bundle it up, and set it out for the poor or someone else that could benefit from our excess until it’s gone. We don’t waste like you do here in America. You see, sometimes I’ve been popping in and out people’s houses looking at different things, you know?  

[More on that below] And I’ll see people wasting this and that, and they throw usable things away. I would see them not finish their Christmas ham and throw it away. Its like, “WHAT? There are people that are hungry!”

NL: People don’t always know where to take their extra food for the hungry.

JP: Well, if there is a way for it to stay alive, you can store it. The freezing thing, you know, I’ve seen this thing that you do with the freezers, that’s fascinating.  If we could do that in Fyn, that would be awesome. Maybe we wouldn’t give away as much as before, but then we would be able to use less so we would create less. Do you know what I mean?

NL: Then you wouldn’t have a surplus.

JP: Right, you don’t want too much of a surplus. Even bakers, if they have day old bread, they take it and give it to the poor. People in restaurants, if they have too much soup somewhere, they call people at a certain time and say, “okay, at this time, instead of closing, it’s a free for all if there’s anything left.” Sometimes people survive that way.

People make excess, sometimes it’s unavoidable. You just really don’t know if this guy over here is going to have extra soup for you today or not but it’s going to be used, that’s how we are, not only with food but other things as well.  Say the chair broke. Well, what’s it made of first of all? If its stone maybe it can be fixed. If it’s made of wood it can be burned. It’s going to create heat or something. It would always be used for something.

NL:  So a broken chair wouldn’t end up in a pile of trash.

JP: Right, there’s very little trash if anything. I mean the only trash I can think of would be something like eggshells, but even that could be composted or other animals could eat it.

NL: Well, what about meat? You can’t eat every part of an animal.

JP: Well, not the bones and things like that. But then you can use some of that too, you know, it all depends. I mean you can use almost everything.

NL: That reminds me of the Native Americans, historically they lived that way.

JP: Well yes, we live that way as well.

NL:  But not with electricity for some reason.

JP:  No, we can’t quite figure out how that works.

NL:  So your scholars aren’t really on that track.

JP:  No, we’re not because we see what it does for this side. It hasn’t worked out very well.

NL:  There is a price to pay for this kind of living.

JP:  Yeah, it’s a problem. What you need is something in between. If you could find a new way to create the energy without creating the filth behind it, we would be interested.

NL:  I know they are working on that now.

JP:  But you know, these modern conveniences tend to remove you from nature. You tend to stay in your house more and have the creature comforts in the home and become further and further away from nature.  That might not be so good for you–you still need to be out by your waters and your grounds. You’ve got to touch things and be with your animals, etc.

Winter Activities and Road Workers

NL:  What do you do in the wintertime? It isn’t really a great time to be outside.

JP:  I spend a lot of time in the castle. We burn a lot of wood. Wood is brought in almost everyday. Ah, we only burn in certain areas of the castle and everyone can burn wood in their own quarters if they choose ( to stay warm at night). If there’s large sections we don’t use, that goes cold and we keep the doors closed and stuff so the cold stays out. It’s weird, it’s like you have the outside, inside. You open that door and whew! You know what I mean? We wear extra clothes.

NL:  How long does winter last?

JP:  Ugh.

NL:  Is it a long winter? Being in Michigan we have a long winter here.

JP:  It’s not great. I’d say about a good four months, maybe five. There were times though before all the countries were settled and stuff, a lot of times instead of being stuck in one place and saying okay, this is our territory, people used to roam.

NL:  So they would go somewhere warm?

JP:  They’d take off and go to a warmer area. Then they could go down to say, what you call Spain, which is a lot warmer than it is over in Denmark. Yes, I am all for roaming.

NL: Yeah, I get what you’re saying. Pack everything up and move along.

JP:  Right, but that’s a whole place!

NL:  Yeah, its not practical anyway.

JP:  Yes, and in parts of our area, the winter is even longer. Terrible, but its home. I’m already thinking about spring when things would start blooming again and we could have festivals outside. We have them outside even though it’s a little colder but you have to bundle up and have a big fire. Not just a little fire, I mean a big, big, fire to make sure you heat everybody.

NL:  So it sounds like people don’t gather together as much in the winter.

JP:  Not as much, there’s only one time I can think of, the Solstice. There’s a big, big fire, I mean big as this house.

NL:  Wow, that’s big.

JP:  That’s why I’m trying to give you a concept of large.

NL:  Do they build a pit for that? How do they do it?

JP:  A little bit of a pit, but then they lean a lot of woods together on top of it and make it really big and tall.

NL:  Is this dead wood?

JP:  Yes, dead wood. We don’t chop trees for this. This is the stuff you collect all throughout the year for this particular thing, you know, old sick trees. Trees that grow fast could be used for harvesting. As long as they are replanted they can be used that way, but you must replant them. You can’t just let it go.

NL:  Right, that could impact things negatively. I know it’s not right to do that.

JP:  Well, if there’s an area you need to clear then there’s wood to be cut. If there is an area that needs to be bald to create a road or maybe houses or stores.

NL:  What are the roads like, are they mostly dirt? It would be hard to use a dirt road after a heavy rain.

JP:  It depends. There are some that are dirt. There are some that are laden with stone. But yes, it does get muddy and groovy. There’s a man with a horse and cart with extra dirt, it’s his job to refill the holes in the road with dirt to take care of the erosion.

NL:  That sounds like it requires a lot more maintenance than a brick road would.

JP:  We have people doing that though. People are supposed to be doing that, it’s their job. We send them out, we say “you, you, and you- you are going to be road people”.

NL:  Whether they want to or not? I mean, are we talking about a military type of situation?

JP:  Semi-military, they aren’t warriors.

NL:  So it’s more like government work then?

JP:  Yes, it’s a government job. It helps people that don’t have work or don’t have enough money to have their own shop. Sometimes there’s younger kids, ones that aren’t trained in other things. It’s a no brainer as you’d say. You know, there’s dirt in the cart behind the horse. One guy drives the cart, and the other one takes the shovel. You stop the horse, “okay, here’s your hole, next,” you know, and they get a fair wage. Their work starts in the spring.

NL:  Yeah, I bet. It’s frozen in the winter so you wouldn’t have big problems like you would in the spring. We used to live on a dirt road so I remember what that was like. Sometimes it was impassable but they paved it eventually and it’s a superhighway now, I think.

JP:  Pssft, yeah, that’s what they call progress.

The Unseen Guest

NL:  So you drop into people’s houses and watch what they’re doing?

JP:  Yeah, (laughs) but I don’t go in their bedrooms or anything. Sometimes I go, look around, and watch what they’re doing.

NL:  How do you decide what house to go into?

JP:  I just see it and say, well, let’s go here.

JP:  Any particular area of the country?

JP:  No, usually around here.

NL:  So you’re checking in on our neighbors?

JP:  Yes, your neighbors. I check over there (pointing), I check over here. I’m able to see “oh that’s a place, that’s a market. It’s got all this so nobody’s living in this place.”  They’ve got no couch or beds so there’s nothing over there, so I figured it was a business.

NL:  Yeah, you could probably tell by the amount of food in there as well.

JP:  (Laughs) Oh my goodness! How would they eat all of this! They’d have a lot of people to be feeding.

NL:  Yes they do, but we have to pay for the food.

JP:  So, I go around back this way and over that way. When I have nothing to do, I watch what people do at their businesses and watch how they set it up, and say “oh, that one’s nice. Look how they set it up this way, how civilized,” you know, and then you end up watching the people sometimes when they come in they don’t notice you. You’re just like a ghost, you know.

NL:  Do they ever sit on you?

JP:  Sometimes.  You’re the unseen guest and you’re just sitting there watching them go about their business and talk about this and that and things I don’t understand. But then you watch their behavior with items.

NL:  Like what for example?

JP:  There was this cereal. Is that what you call it? It’s this thing in a box, then they put it in a bowl. I think they call it cereal because thats what I hear the kids say. There was like this much left, not enough to make a bowl, so they threw the whole thing out. And these weren’t recycling people either.So, this goes in their trash, that wood, that paper!

NL:  We can recycle paper here.

JP:  Right, but these people did not!

NL:  That’s too bad.

JP:    Not only that, there was food in there! I don’t understand.

NL:  Yeah, it’s wasteful like you said.

JP:  There’s birds that could eat it.

NL:  Sometimes they don’t want to feed animals around here because they don’t want to draw them in. Some people consider them pests sometimes.

JP:  (Gasps)

NL:  You know, squirrels or racoons could get into houses and cause a lot of trouble.

JP:  Yeah, I’m sure they think that humans are pretty big pests too.

NL:  I’m sure they do.

JP:  ‘How do you get rid of these humans?’

NL: I’m sure some of them would like that.

JP:  It’s all  a matter of  perspective. What is a pest, really?