They were joined by Ceridfen, Lumi, Gwaldon and several others a bit later in
the day for a late mid-day meal. Seileach, the efficient elf that he was, had already forwarded a letter containing specific ways that Joulupukki could prove his heritage to the Council. The issue was that he had no lineal documentation. His mother had destroyed every trace that could link him to the elves in an attempt to keep him safe from the humans. DynDoeth, seeing her reasoning and always an admirer of the human woman, regretted her actions in this one instance. Erlenkönig and Aisling, he saw as a part of his family and they rummaged through everything they could find that had been a part of their lives when they lived together in the cottage, but, other than a few clothes and some written references to court proceedings signed
by Erlenkönig they found nothing of use. There was only one letter referencing the unborn child that had been sent to Aisling from her youngest grand niece in Erin, now an old woman herself, offering to travel to the north lands to help her when the time came for the baby to be born.
By then Erlenkönig and his family were already on the run.
“Ceridfen, Joulupukki, I am at a loss, I do not know where else to look,” began DynDoeth. “I thought this would be the easy part. Usually a link between a parent and child can be made through their magic, but yours is so different to his..., there is no commonality in it. There are no documents pertaining to your birth and only a few of us knew she was with child. The letter we found can verify that well enough, so for that at least we have proof. But how do we prove you are that child?”
“I wish I could help with that DynDoeth, but I am not even certain of the fact myself, and I am he. I have changed my name so many times since my youth that I don't even know with which name I was born,” Joulupukki had a look of dismayed concentration on his face. Through the doorway a young elfin girl approached Ceridfen holding an obviously distressed much younger boy. Without thinking she cradled him in her arms and began gently rocking him. “I feel like I'm missing something,” Joulupukki said, half to the elves
surrounding him and half to himself.
“Perhaps we can inquire of the Southern Clan as to whether they may have some information that could help,” offered Dyndoeth.
“Sleep, come sleep, come sleep my child...,” Ceridfen's soft mezzo-soprano voice whispered to the child as she rocked him.
“But, you told me that they were only there for a very short period, right?”
“Yes,” responded the Elder.
“They likely would have not had time to to leave any documents in the south, plus, I had not even been born yet.” Joulupukki sounded more and more distracted as he spoke.
“...sleep do hasten to your weary eyes, in morning you'll awake to a bright sunrise...,”
Ceridfen's whisper continued.
“What's wrong with my name anyway?”
Everyone around the table laughed except Dyndoeth's wife who was too
busy with the child to pay attention to the conversation around her.
“...rock my child, rock him, rock him to sleep in a manger of gold let
Mani keep him safe in his hold, sleep come sleep my child.”
Lumi said something, then there was faint laughter again.
Touching his arm Gwaldon inquired,
“Joulupukki, hey, Joulupukki?”
Roused from his reverie, Joulupukki's glazed eyes cleared and focused
on Gwaldon's smiling face.
“Are you alright,” asked Lumi?
“Yes, yes,” was Joulupukki's hesitant response. “I was just distracted.”
“You certainly were,” Gwaldon added.
Joulupukki turned to Ceridfen and asked her about the song that she was singing.
“It is an old lullaby, Joulupukki,” she answered.
“My mother used to sing that to me as a child.”
“That does not surprise me,” was her response, “Mothers have been singing it to their children for a very long time.”
“But yours is different,” he said. All eyes were on the half elf. His thoughts seemed to be drawn inward, thinking to himself.
Ceridfen slowly continued,
“It was originally meant for a son, Joulupukki.
It is called 'Lullaby for the Son of a King' but I believe it is taken from a
much older text. I simply changed son to child because I often find myself
singing to both a little girl and a little boy at the same time. It is so old that no one knows whether human or elf wrote it.”
“What about the third verse,” he inquired?
“To my knowledge there are only two verses, I sang them both,” she replied, the child lying quietly in her arms.
“It's strange but I don't recall my mother ever singing the third verse either, but my father, who sang it to me often, most definitely sang a third verse.” That is one of my few distinct memories of him, as clear as spring water. His head was spinning thinking about this. Why is this so important, he asked himself? It's just a silly child's lullaby. Seeing the stress in Joulupukki's face, Dyndoeth suggested that they take a break.
“Take a walk, clear your head, perhaps it will help.”
Joulupukki sat back in his chair and closed his eyes for a moment.
Ceridfen carried the now sleeping child back to his room and placed him in his bed. Most of the other elves excused themselves and left the table.
Without a word, Joulupukki lifted himself from his chair and made his
way outside for some fresh air. Ceridfen returned to the dining hall and with Lumi's help removed the dishes.
Copyright © James Inman | Year Posted 2021