In the Grimm brothers’ fairytale The Elves and The Shoemaker, a poor shoemaker is helped out by magical elves who, during the witching hours of the night, make gorgeous shoes for the shoemaker to sell the next day.
It’s a nice story. Of late, I’ve realised that I wouldn’t mind being visited by gambolling elves myself, but my elves would not leave shoes behind. Instead, they’d leave a locket. This wouldn’t be a fancy-looking locket; there would be no emeralds encrusted on its front, nor would the metal gleam obnoxiously with the power of a thousand incandescent golden suns every time it caught the light.
It would be quite plain, my locket. Perhaps even a little scratched, a little dark around the edges. Yet I would wear it, always, under my clothes, against my throat, against my skin.
For, you see, this magical elven locket will not contain mere photos inside. Rather, hiding and waiting between the clasps, there will exist an infinite number of hugs from my family. Each time I open the locket, I’ll (with a whoosh and a burst of sparkles) be enveloped from afar by my mother, my father, my brother, or my grandparents.
And, in that moment, the people who have loved me all my life won’t feel quite so far away.