It wasn't until we were about three-fourths of the way through the enormous pile of one-and-a-half-by-two-inch typed note cards on silvery stock that we came to the one with the header:
dear [FYO], age five,
It was a relief, for sure. Her increasingly panicked voice wondering if he had, indeed, written her back. I was beginning to collect notes to girls with names similar to the FYO, concocting an explanation that he could not, quite, read her writing.
Mr. Little Guy, who, as it turns out, is an elf, rather than the troll we had supposed, had, indeed, written her back.
Here it is, copied directly, written in all lower-case letters:
how nice of you to stop by. so sorry i missed you. thank you for the great picture. you sure are talented. i am so proud of you. by the way, i am not a troll. i like them but they tend to talk too much about digging for gold and investment banking. i'm an elf and we are much more fun to chat with. plus we are very accomplished cooks. you should try my minnow cakes. they are delicious.
we have a cat named nickerson. he is normal size and when he is bigger, we will ride him around the lake. i think penelope sounds like a very nice cat. nickerson says hello to her (and you too of course).
my name is thom and live with my wife, martha, a great elf and our daughter alta lucia, age eleven. she is a princess elf. i am taller than my younger brother and shorter than my older brother.
enjoy the summer. i believe in you.
mr. little guy (august 27, 2005).