The game of tug-a-war started before the mortals even knew what was happening. The tree-elves suddenly yanked hard on the rope, sending the two in front over the edge. Arnol, who was just behind them, managed to keep his feet on the brink of the platform while the two dangled from the rope over the long drop to the ground below. He and the others pulled with all their strength on the rope tied about their middles, and were able to stop the elves from pulling more of them off. But they couldn’t make any headway against the mob on the other end, with the two in front weighing them down.

Arnol looked around frantically, then he had an idea. He told the two in the back to jump over the side of the platform. They looked at him like he was crazy, but he insisted, so finally they did. The sudden force of their weight on the rope brought the two in front back onto their platform, and one of the elves off of theirs. He held on, dangling in the air by his hands, giggling with a strange mixture of delight and fear. More of the elves standing nearby watching jumped in and grabbed the rope. Then the mortals gave them some slack, allowing them to pull the elf back and hoist the other two mortals at the back up to solid ground.

As soon as their feet were all steady, Arnol called for them to pull, wanting to keep the elves from gaining the advantage again. Now it was the elves who were having trouble, struggling to keep their hold on the rope. But even more elves grabbed hold of it, and they started to make some headway due to their sheer numbers. Arnol knew he needed to come up with another creative solution. As he looked at the elves he realized they had a weakness he could exploit. Even as they strained on their end of the rope many of them were unable to keep from giggling, exuberantly caught up in the excitement. Arnol started making goofy faces at them, and before long they were so overcome with laughter that they weakened their grip enough for the mortals to give a sudden hard yank and pull the rope from their grasp. Some of them were pulled to the edge before they reflexively released the rope, trying to keep their balance to avoid tumbling over the side. The mortals quickly pulled the rest of the rope in, making it clear that they had won the game.


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