It was the time by the Water of Awakening, 'Cuivienen', where the Elfs first became aware. They found they alone had voices and could speak and sing. Alone they could grant names. Themselves they named the 'Quendi': Those That Speak With Voices. They looked up and named stars, sky, vast. They found use for the names tree, grass, plant. They looked upon themselves and gave to some the names brother sister mother father lover. They saw other that walked and named horse, bird, insect, wolf. But one that walked they did not yet name.
As elven bodies began to move Those That Speak With Voices found that they were also those that move with grace. Walking was flowing with natural ease. Leaping distances and into trees came easily. Falls were lightly taken and seldom led to any hurt. Lightly they could run atop snow and leaves and dancing was done with elegance. And they saw that the unnamed one that walked was just as graceful.
Then elf curiosity became known, both to Elf and to Arda 'The World'. Elf would sit and stare at stars for many times-of-rest; for sun and moon were not yet here and star lit dark was all about, just to see what stars were like. Groups would travel on long paths to find out what distant lands revealed. Small things received examination; large things were measured. Much was set in memory and much talked of. The unnamed graceful walker proved to be just as curious.
As Elvenhome expanded, Elfs tried new and wondrous deeds. They made friends with trees and taught them to speak, and the unnamed walkers climbed the trees and watched. They created bowers and flets and the unnamed entered these, tails held erect and proud, and explored to their content. Food was grown and stored, meals cooked and with elven grace the unnamed kept rodents from the stores and requested, but never begged for samples of the food. Smithying, craftwork, and creating of music all took place watched by silted eyes in bodies curled beneath chairs.
But all was not safe on Arda. Fell beasts appeared that would take Elf as food or as sport; none knew. Then The Hunter appeared, on a dark horse, sounding a loud horn as he rode. Elfs traveling alone disappeared and some from small groups told of hoof beats coming from behind, of friend or sibling snared and carried off. Parts of the land became dark. Unknown fear would come to those who traveled in these fields. Elven senses became even sharper as the Elfs sought their tormenters. The nameless ones of gracefulness also had Elven sharp senses. They could find the enemies of the light as easily well as could Elf. Further, they would fight them, warning first with hissing and fluffing of fur followed by leaping, clawing, biting. Though many were lost in these attacks, always the creatures would join Elfs in defense.
Because of this, many an Elf invited the unnamed graceful ones into their homes. Some did not want to stay. Some tried to talk to their Elf. A Strange communication began to develop. The independence of the creatures was unbreakable; some say even more than the Dwarves. Yet, the need for company was great in them. They could lie for hours in lap or on arm purring or they could ignore for days. But above all, they would listen. Trees would talk, beasts would obey, but these unnamed graceful walking creatures would simply listen to an Elf. No judgment or unneeded response, just listening. More and more Elfs found kindred spirits among these unnamed. At times when there was no one else, the graceful walkers became friends. And that became one of their names, among others. Elf-friend, each so dubbed when born as kittens as the only non-speaking beings to be so called and the only race to all hold the title.
And today many Lingerers say that the way to know what Elf was like in the youth of their creation is to live with a group of cats. Cats still enact the walk of the Elder Days, the curiosity, the defense, and the friendship developed with the Elfs. For if the pride of Dogs is that they are bonded to Men until the End of Days, the pride of cats is that in the Time before Days, they bonded to Elf and now are the last of elvendom on earth.