“Matti,” sighed Mika, “You do know that I cannot follow you so far south! I know that you have to do it and I know that you’ve been considering it for so long, but do you think…” He didn’t finish what he wanted to say because the bird came and stood in front of him with a very serious look upon his face, “Mika, I know that everything might be a myth and there are no mountains of seeds and rivers of hot chocolate, but I just have to see it for myself!”
“There is only one place I know that has mountains of seeds and rivers of hot chocolate, but I think you are heading in the wrong direction, my furry friends!” Matti and Mika looked at one another, and then turned to see from where this voice had appeared. At first they were surprised to see they were in a forest, which they had not noticed due to concentrating so much on their conversation, and then their eyes were caught by a twinkling up on a branch.
“Did I scare you?” asked a tall forest elf, “Please accept my apologies, but you were both so deep in conversation that I hadn’t wanted to interrupt!” This elf looked slightly different from the elves Matti and Mika had met before, but his sparkling smile and twinkling bell reassured them that he would be an immediate friend, unlike the swan. “I think I know you two, or at least I have heard about you! There are so many stories coming from the north about a moose and a magpie that I don’t know if everything is true!”
Matti was about to confirm the stories and begin to tell his version for the first time in days, but the forest elf jumped down from the tree, brushed his trousers with his little hands and said, “The evening is coming and I think that we all need a warm place to spend the night, why don’t you both come with me. Sorry, I overheard your names, but I’ve forgotten to introduce myself, I am Trotz. Now, come with me and you can tell me if all the stories I have heard are true!”
The noise of the wind vanished the moment they entered the cave, which made Matti’s ears feel funny with the sudden silence. It was a nice cave, as caves go, not the best one the pair had seen but quite comfortable. Mika thought about the number he had seen over the past months and thought he was becoming an expert. Matti now always waited for Mika to pick his spot and then he sat down because once the moose had accidentally squashed him with his bottom.
Trotz set about making a small fire, while Matti took the day’s chocolate biscuit from the magic hat, “Sorry Mr. Trotz, I only have one biscuit. The magic hat won’t let me have anymore in a day.” Trotz smiled, took the hat from Matti and mumbled a magic word. Suddenly a feast of food poured from the tiny hat and left the magpie buried beneath a pile of sandwiches. “Oh, Matti, don’t forget to put your hat back on or you may lose it – it is cold outside,” laughed Trotz. The magpie dug himself out from under a cheese roll and took the hat.
“Mika, when the storm slows down I will go!” Both the moose and the elf looked at the magpie in surprise. Nothing had warned them for that, especially after Matti had been so quiet for so long. “I’m going south! Yes, I’m going to fly south!” Mika didn’t say anything, so the elf decided to break the silence, “Are you going to fly alone? If the stories are true, then this moose can only fly with Santa’s help! As far I know, nobody flies south alone, since it is far too dangerous. They all fly together, just look at the swans and the ducks!” The magpie looked at him, “I’m not a duck and I am definitely not a swan…they’re not very nice!”
The night looked to be a difficult one for both friends, even though Matti finally got to tell his story again, although this time it was mainly the truth and very little exaggeration. Early in the morning, when Matti thought Mr. Trotz and Mika were asleep, he picked up his little hat, dusted it off and placed it over his ears. Matti then walked to the entrance of the cave, turned around to look one more at his friend and then took off. A tear slowly began to roll down Mika’s cheek.
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