If You Think You Need A House-Elf, Think Again

This chart could use a whole lot more red.
This chart could use a whole lot more red.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wouldn’t mind having a house-elf or two living under my stairs. I was reminded of this by a recent pie chart on Facebook, which shows the main expectations of girls who have absorbed the life styles of Disney princesses. The one that resonated for me? “Random animals will help me with my housework.” Sounds fantastic, as long as they also clean up any messes they might make in the process.

As I was cleaning the kitchen and feeling sorry for myself because I just know that Tolkien never washed a dish in his life, I suddenly realized I don’t need animal friends or house-elves. My house is already full of magical helpers.

A magic pipe brings water right into my house — no hauling buckets to a stream or well. And thanks to the magic giant living in my basement, the pipe can deliver hot water as well as cold.

I have a magic box that washes dishes and another that washes clothing even when I am in other rooms doing other things.

Magic fires live in my kitchen. I flick a switch and I’m ready to cook. No wood to haul, ashes to clean up, or fires to light. I even have a magic box that heats food up rapidly, turning unappealing leftovers into something I’ll consider eating.

I have a magic buddy that gets the dirt off my carpets. I just have to hold her hand and usher her around the house.

All these time-saving helpers lack the cute and fuzzy appeal of Cinderella’s mice and are poor conversationalists compared with the furniture that lives in the Beast’s castle, but they are ready to work whenever I ask them to and they save me time and effort. They may lack charm, but they make my life easier, and that’s why I wanted a house-elf in the first place. Today I will keep my eyes open for the magical helpers in my life (like this truly magical keyboard and screen that connect me with people around the world) and be grateful for the house-elves already in my house.

Have you been taking your magical helpers for granted? Which one is your favorite?

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Published by

Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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