The elves slipped quietly into the girl’s dreams,
carefully tending to the seedling of her imagination
before adulthood sprayed it with weedkiller.
‘Grow strong,’ they whispered to it, ‘into a mighty
tree that will only expand as the years pass,
never withering even with extreme age.’
And then they bowed to it and each other,
before drifting out to find the next child
threatened by the corsets of society and peers.