The Elves' Speed Contest

The elves were very excited about the contest. The evening before, everyone was busy coming up with a strategy to be the elf who could build the best robot in 15 minutes. Some of them realized how difficult the challenge would be, and they became discouraged and gave up. Others kept thinking and scheming about the best way to do it, until very late into the night.

Early in the morning, five elves showed up to participate in the contest, and five other eagers elves joined the small group to watch the competition. The blond elf started getting nervous, but he tried very hard to hide it by boasting about his skills.

“Are you guys sure you want to compete with me? Don’t forget that you’ll have to write a song in my honour!”

“You’re mistaken,” replied the brown-haired elf. “The song will be in my honour!”

One of the elves started the timer and the contest began. The five participants rushed around the workshop at full speed, getting all the equipment they needed together to build their robots. They went so fast that a dust cloud formed, preventing them from clearly seeing what they were doing. The blond elf managed to assemble parts that, little by little, started to look like a robot, but his robot refused to walk or talk. He tried to use some magic to give it life, but because he was being so hasty, his magic formula didn’t work and the robot collapsed onto the floor.

Meanwhile, the curly-haired elf, trying to weld together the pieces as fast as she could, lit her robot on fire. She even burnt a few strands of her hair!

The five competing elves kept making mistakes, trying hard to finish their robot within 15 minutes. The workshop was a complete mess, and the smell of smoke filled the air.

Just as the contest was almost over, a big hand landed on the timer to stop it.

Startled, the elves stood still and turned slowly towards the timer.  Santa had arrived at the workshop…and he looked very upset!

“Can someone explain to me what is going on here?” asked Santa.

All eyes turn towards the blond elf.

“We’re having a contest,” he explained nervously.

“A contest! What kind of contest?” asked Santa.

“We wanted to see who would make the best robot in 15 minutes.”

“And you thought that was a good reason to turn my workshop upside down?”

“Yes, we thought it was important for a Craftician elf to be very fast,” argued the blond elf. “One must work very quickly to build all the toys on time for Christmas.”

Santa examined the five shapeless structures created by the elves. They were so badly made that it was hard to guess they were supposed to be robots! The workshop went silent. Only Santa’s boots could be heard as he walked around observing the botched jobs.

“It is true that speed matters in your work as Crafticians,” said Santa. “But is it worthwhile to rush your work and get poor results? Look, the material you used is now wasted.”

Santa’s scolding tone made the elves feel sorry and guilty. They stared at the floor, embarrassed and ashamed. Santa saw that they were truly sorry, and he softened his voice.

“Your Craftician teachers told you that speed comes with experience. You are still young. The most important thing right now is to develop and cultivate your talents. You will have a better control of magic with time. Be patient.”

The blond elf realized that Santa wasn’t really angry and looked up to him with gratitude.

“And don’t be so boastful,” said Santa, looking him right in the eye. “Each of you has your own set of skills, and you all share a common goal. Do you know what this goal is?” asked Santa.

The elves replied in unison. “To make the children happy, Santa!”

Santa nodded, satisfied.

“Now, onto the cleaning! Open the windows to let some fresh air in. It smells like smoke! Your little brains have over-heated! Ho ho ho!”

Santa left the workshop as the elves cleaned up the mess they made.

“Do you want to bet that I can clean faster than you?” said the red-haired elf, teasingly, to the blond elf.

“I will never bet again!” replied the blond elf. He had learned his lesson. “And you can be sure that I’m going to take the time to clean the workshop very carefully and make sure it’s spotless!”