They call it “elf-shine.”

I've seen it; I'm sure that you have, too.

It's the beauty that shines from someone in those moments of great joy or deep understanding: an illumination from within.

The ancestors of Northwestern Europe accounted the elves as the most beautiful of peoples, and so this beauty is named for them: for the shine of elf-shine—in Old English, ælf-scýne—is kin to German schön, “beautiful.”

“Beautiful as an elf,” the ancestors used to say.

But even those of us who are not beautiful as elves may still, at moments, shine forth with their otherworldly radiance.

With elf-shine.


Wishing the merriest of Midsummers to you and yours