In the middle of a green meadow there was a tree. You could see it far and wide because it was so big. It would take more than ten grown-ups to hug its enormous trunk. Every year it bloomed beautifully and its crown was so big that you couldn’t see the end of it from the ground. But it was no ordinary tree. In its top there lived several elves.
They ran about among the branches, sleeping and resting on its large leaves and eating its fruit. These elves didn’t go among people much. They were happy in their tree. But one of the elves was the oldest and wisest, and he sometimes gave them a task to help the people. They all called him Rhett. Because it means advice and he always gave them the best advice.
One day, Rhett called his elves. They all sat nicely on their branches and listened to what he said. The oldest elf cleared his throat and said: “The time has come for you to help the people. They need comforting. To lift their spirits. They are sad. They’re too worried and they’ve forgotten to rejoice. How you do that, I leave to you. So go ahead.”
There was a murmur among the elves. They were all wondering how to do it. They were pouring ideas over each other. But they still couldn’t come up with something that would make people laugh. They didn’t know any big magic tricks, so they had to come up with something simple. After a while, one elf came up with something. He said his idea and everyone agreed. They got right to work. Some of the elves got paper and some got a flower stem. The stalk gave off a green color, so it served as a pen. They wrote a message on the paper with the stem. They folded the paper into the shape of a swallow. They took it to the town. They climbed up the biggest tree there was and dropped the paper swallow with the message into the town among the people. It floated through the air. It flew among the people. Until one day it landed on a bench next to a sad old man. He noticed the swallow, picked it up, read the message on it and smiled sweetly. He stood up and sent the swallow on its way. The swallow flew on the wind again for a while and then landed next to the mother and baby girl. The little girl picked up the swallow, read the note, smiled and handed it to her mother. She looked at the swallow, read the note too, and a smile appeared on her face. They both then sent the swallow on.
This went on and on. Everyone who read the message on the swallow smiled. Whether they were more or less sad. The elves watched and were happy that they had completed their task. They cheered up a few people. In the evening, they told their eldest elf, Rhett. He listened attentively and was happy for them. Then he asked them, “And what was written on the swallow?” “Smile, it suits you best.” The elves answered.
The eldest elf, Rhett, was proud of them. With a simple sentence and a kind act of kindness, they could cheer people up. The elves learned that they didn’t need to do big things to make someone happy. They just have to mean it from the heart. To this day, the little elves live happily in that tree. And every day, they look forward to the task Rhett will give them.