Tag Archive | children

BunniHoTep and the Lost children 

I wrote this after the shootings in Virginia and it was my way of dealing with school shootings. I shouldn’t have to keep posting this! I hate that some men feel the need to do this.

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was sitting on the Temple Porch playing with some beads that Isis had given her, streams of coral and carnelian and lapis glowing quietly in the afternoon sunlight. The Priestesses were off somewhere doing their jobs and she was alone slowly meditating on how she would use the beads, maybe a collar or a belt.

She heard a low thundering coming toward the Temple. She stopped and listened. She was wondering what the noise was when Ammit’s head popped around the pillars at the end of the porch. “Ammit! What are you doing here? Aren’t you usually helping Ma’at now?” BunniHoTep asked.

“Yes, but she thought you could help us. We’re missing some souls that need weighing. They were due hours ago and Ma’at thinks they’re lost and don’t know they are dead. Ma’at thought that since you were the Finder of Lost Things you could help.” Ammit said breathing heavily and trying to get her breathe. Ammits aren’t built for running.

“What happened to their escort? Don’t you have that escort for them?” said BunniHoTep.

Ammit hung her head. “They weren’t on Anubis’s list. They weren’t supposed to go.”

“How did that happen?” BunniHoTep exclaimed.

“I said they weren’t supposed to die. One of Thoth’s students has been very unhappy and this morning he exploded. He was one of those people that don’t ever notice that other people are reaching out and trying to help them. He took a crossbow and shot a class of younger students. And then he got away and drowned himself in the Nile. Thoth is heartbroken, everyone had tried to help the student but he wouldn’t be helped. It’s so sad when someone won’t let themselves be loved and he hurt all those children too.” Ammit broke down sobbing.

“Ammit, please stop crying and we’ll go look. They are probably still in the classroom. I doubt they’ve gone far if they don’t know they are dead. We can find them.” BunniHoTep said, packing up her beads. ”Let’s go.”

BunniHoTep patted Ammit and they walked hurriedly down Temple Row towards Thoth’s temple. They walked through the Temple, priests and priestesses crying quietly as they cleaned up the damage and the blood. No one had ever done anything like this in a Temple. They had no frame of reference. What had they done wrong? Could they have done something differently? The Temple buzzed with the asked and unasked questions. Ammit and the small goddess moved through the crowd quietly. They hurried to the classroom area and found the bodies of the teacher and the children. BunniHoTep swallowed and choked back tears. She noticed that the seats were still full of children that she could see through.

“Why are you still here? Why haven’t you gone to Ma’at?”

“We’re waiting for our teacher. He left us behind. Why did he leave?” the children asked. They started to cry quietly.

“I don’t think he meant to leave without you. I think he thought you were following him and didn’t know you couldn’t. It’s going to be alright. Do you notice that you can see through the people out in the Temple.” The children nodded. “That’s because you aren’t in their world now. You are in Anubis’s world now. You are safe here. You will never be afraid or be in pain ever again. It will be alright now. Would you line up in a two straight lines and hold hands with your partner?” BunniHoTep took the two lead children’s hands and led them from the Temple and down to Ma’at’s Temple.

Ma’at was waiting at the top of the Temple steps. “Where would you like me to take them.” BunniHoTep asked.

“I don’t need to weigh their hearts. They haven’t lived long enough to know the evil that comes when you get older. Would you lead them to Anubis? He is ready for them. He is taking them to the place where children get to play in the sunshine.” Ma’at looked down and smiled at the children.

BunniHoTep led the children in their crocodile line to where Anubis was waiting. Ma’at hurried over, she’d had an idea. She looked at Anubis and pointed to the clear blue afternoon sky.

BunniHoTep gave the children hugs and kiss on their forehead. “Go with him and be good, won’t you?” The children nodded and turned to follow Anubis. The last child in line turned and waved shyly and followed the rest. BunniHoTep waved back and turned to walk back to her Temple.

Anubis took the children and walked up,up and up into the now twilight sky. He led them round the Great Bear and her child and asked if she would watch over the children. The Great Bear nodded, Yes.

And now when you look up into the deep night sky and see a line of stars that wind in and around the Great Bear and her child you will see a long line of stars. The Greeks called them the dragon or Draco but they are really a long line of children playing in the night sky.

BunniHoTep wondered how someone could be hurting so much that he would hurt children just starting out in life. She thought that some people could be so lost no one could ever find them and she thought that was one of the biggest tragedy of all. She wondered what it would take to reach one so lost from the family of man.

New Story – The Littlest Druid needed some Yuletide cheer

The Littlest Druid pushed through the snowy afternoon. She needed to be at the next small village to sing at their Solstice celebration and she was afraid she wouldn’t make it. It didn’t snow often here but when it did it could quickly get very deep. She was cold and she was wet and she smelled like a wet sheep.

Her raven had flown ahead a long time ago and she was feeling very alone. She wished she was warm and safe in her village waiting for the Solstice in the barrow (Brú na Bhoinne) waiting for the Sun to return. Being a Bard was way harder than she thought. She had mediated a village disagreement that was just plain silly at her last village. She had sung every song at about the Fae at another one, they hadn’t wanted to hear anything else.

The Sun had disappeared a few hours ago and she was now following the stars to the next village. She was homesick and she was tired of the dark and she was missing Beith and the Head Druid who was so kind to her and she was feeling very alone in the dark with just her pack and her staff and musical instruments for company.

All the sheep and cows had been gathered into the crofts and the only animals she had seen were a few deer. There was no one to talk to out here.

She started to hum a rather sad tune that had begun haunting her several hours ago.  It was started to cloud over and she was afraid it would begin to snow again, she gave a huge sigh.

“Oh, Aisling, that was a particularly big one,” a soft voice said behind her.

Aisling almost levitated out of her boots. She turned and saw a familiar green mantle. “Brighid!” she shrieked. She had a very strong impulse to hug her favourite goddess. She stopped. One does not hug goddesses particularly when one is wet and cold and stinking of sheep.

Brighid grabbed her around the shoulders and gave her the hug she’d wanted to give her. Suddenly she was warm and dry and a lot more comfortable. Her raven came flying back and landed on Brighid’s other shoulder.

“I love that you are here out in the middle of all this snow and I thank you for the warmth but why are you way out here?” Aisling asked bravely.

“You” said Brighid. “Bards should bring hope and cheer at Solstice to welcome the flame and the birth of the Sun. You are getting close to the village and they want you to celebrate with them. You are a light for their Solstice.”

“I don’t feel like a light right at the moment, at all.” She said rather emphatically.

“I know, Aisling, I know. That’s why I’m here. You can see the village lights shining across the snow? This village really needs you to be their light in the dark. There were a lot of deaths near Samhain and they have been very sad and in a dark, dark place. No Bard or Druid has been here for many months. You will be the first in a long time.”

“How can I be a light when all I want to do go home and be with my people? Until you came I was cold and miserable and very stinky”

“Aisling, look around you and what do you see?” As they had been walking the sky had cleared and stars shown.

“I see the stars, oh so many bright stars. I see tall trees and oh! There are some rabbits under the trees. And a deer and there’s an owl in that tree ahead.”

“Were you alone?” asked Brighid raising an eyebrow.

“Nooo,” replied Aisling.”I was a little blindered, wasn’t I?”

“We all get that way sometimes.” Brighid said thoughtfully.

“Even you?” Aisling asked

“Even me.” nodded Brighid.

“It’s hard to look for the good in the world. It’s hard to look for beauty and for the love in the world when all looks dark.” said Brighid.

“Your job, though, is to remind people there is good in the world even at the darkest of times and hours. The Sun always returns at the darkest hour and so does hope. There is always life in death and light in dark and a spark of hope if you know where to look. You just have to remember to look.” Brighid pointed to a woodpecker with his bright red head diving onto a tree branch. A full moon had risen as they were walking and it was very, very still.

Beautiful lights gleamed across the snow in welcome. Aisling felt calm and ready to face this sad village. She strode forward and Brighid faded away.

She was ready to be the light.

 

 

 

 

 

Bjorn the bear’s winter dream

Once upon time there was a small bear named Bjorn. Bjorn was born in a far northern forest up where it was very, very cold in winter. Bjorn had been born in the dead of winter with his brother and sister, Berta and Esben. They spent that first winter cuddled close to their mama and as they got older she started to tell them stories about the outside world.

Deep in their den she told them about tall trees they would see and deep, cold lakes and about the high mountains around the place they lived. He heard about the salmon that swam in the rivers in spring and about the rabbits and squirrels that lived near the den. His mom told them where they could find a honey tree and where the best back scratching trees were.

When spring came there were no more stories, Mama led them out into a world of wonder. To the bear’s eyes the world was born anew just for them. The snow was gone and the water ran clear. Mama taught them to hunt and to fish. She taught them how to hide in plain sight as they grew. She taught them to stay away from people. People had guns and guns hurt bears.

They grew quickly ambling along in the forest and the summer passed in beautiful days of deep burning blue skies and sunlit days in their northern forest. As the days got shorter Mama showed them where the best blackberry bushes were and the cubs stuffed themselves fat. They got so sticky Mama had to dunk them all in the spring and in late fall they went back to their den to sleep. This year, when they woke up in their long sleep Mama would tell them about a tree that she had seen one winter not far from their lair. She had woken in up on Solstice night and had felt the need to walk in the quiet of the forest. It had been silent except for the owls and she had seen a bright light.

Mama bear followed the light across the forest and watched it land in a little pine trees branches. The tree had stood there bearing the star in its branches and had lit up their forest. It was so beautiful. The bear had gone back to her den to sleep after the lovely sight and had never managed to wake up again on Solstice Night. The cubs bothered her the rest of winter for that story. It became their favourite winter story and Bjorn began to have a dream. He wanted to stay awake and see the tree and the star but that winter was deep and cold and the bears slept most of the winter and didn’t come out until the next spring.

The bear cubs were bigger that year and Mama spent most of the summer teaching them how to be on their own. That fall they would have to make their own dens for the first time. She taught them how much they needed to eat to store enough fat to make it through the winter. She taught them how to make it cozy and she taught them how to stay away from other bigger bears. Soon it came to be fall and the cubs split up for the first and last time. Each of them choosing a different direction to go and seek a place to make their own and all the time he was choosing and making his own den, Bjorn day dreamed. He was going to find some way to wake up and see the tree and star.

He kept trying to figure out a way to wake himself up. His mother had told him that just wasn’t possible, that if he was meant to see it he would wake up in exactly the right time to see it, otherwise it just wasn’t meant to be. She had supposed that it was something most bears would ever see once in a life time and then only if they were very, very lucky. She didn’t even know if it happened every year or if it had happened only once. She had never heard anybody else in the forest ever talk about it.

Bjorn swore he would be that lucky bear! He would wake up on Winter Solstice and he would see that star and his friend, the tree. He wanted to know what that special night was like. He wanted it with all his heart and he kept whispering to himself as he lay down for his winter nap to “Remember to wake up! Remember to wake up!”

He extremely disappointed to wake up and it was almost spring. It was different in a den by yourself with no brother and sister and no mama to tell you tales. He had slept the winter away and missed it. He was horribly disappointed and fell back asleep until spring had truly arrived.

This went on for several years and Bjorn had decided it just was a dream his mom had dreamed and maybe he should just give it up. Bears belonged in dens in the winter sleeping not roaming around in the cold and dark forest.

Bjorn was making his den again one fall and he remembered the story but just shook his great black head. No point in wishing, he would just sleep anyway and tucked himself into his lair but this year was different.

One cold, cold clear night Bjorn woke up. At first he was disoriented. What had woken him up? And then he heard it. He could hear a faint chiming and see a bit of light filtering in the entrance to his den. “Could it be? Could it really truly be?”

Bjorn shot out of his den and pushed the heavy snow way from his den and stood up. The light was coming from the north but not very far away at all! He started to move quickly through the snow. He saw other animals around him, a small herd of elk. Snowshoe hares that should have been asleep were lolloping through the snow. White owls that flew silently over head hooting softly. “Come, come celebrate with usssss”

And they came. They came to a tree that was standing all alone in a field of deep snow. In the tree’s branches a star hung nestled at the top and shedding star dust all around. The snow sparkled and shone all around. The animals crept closer and closer and soon it seemed every kind of animal was there and on this night it felt like they were all friends. A deep peace hung over the forest and the only thing that could be heard was a soft chiming from the star.

Bjorn had never felt this way before. No hunger, no need to hunt, just a need to be with other creatures and to maybe, just maybe have friends and be at peace. He looked at the other animals. They seemed to be feeling the same thing as they sat in large circles around that tree absorbing the blessing of the tree and the star and Bjorn thought to himself, “Sometimes having a dream come true is better than any dream.”

He sat in the snow and a small hare snuggled up to him and then a squirrel. A great deer lay down near by and an owl sat in the rack of his antlers. For this night there was peace in the forest and the blessing of a star from far away and a lonely little tree that was his friend.

***This follows yesterday’s “Lonely Little Star” and is available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354728417&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

Small children do commit suicide

I wrote on this a long time ago but when people don’t believe small children will commit suicide or they don’t understand a child can believe death is permanent, they would be wrong. I can tell you that almost every day when I was small (Under 9) I was planning it.

I thought about it all the time and my gauge was my guessing how much that particular thing would hurt. It’s why I jumped off the roof to see if I could fly like Mary Martin in Peter Pan. That one hurt a lot since I landed straight legged, I was 2 or 3.

When I was little cars didn’t have seatbelts and every time I was in the car and next to the door I wondered how much it would hurt to open the door and fall out.
Every time I was some place high where I could fall, how much would that hurt?

I was actively planning it all the time. My mom made it clear that I was not perfect so I was not wanted. I had disabilities that got me beaten up at school on a regular basis. I could read at a much higher grade level than my peers, that got me beaten up. (I could read at 10th grade level in 3rd grade) Some days my dad loved me and some days he beat the crap out of me. I wanted out. If it hadn’t been for my grandparents I probably would have done it. Going to their house or out of them or having them there to visit or take the family out to lunch and I would have done it. I would have kept at it until I was successful.

My sister being born when I was 9 1/2 and moving to a different city helped even though I could never stop believing that I was about to get beaten up. By then it was too late and I had learned to flinch.

Reading also helped, because I could read I could travel to Oz, or investigate with Nancy Drew.

But let no one tell you children don’t try to commit suicide because it isn’t true

The very first BunniHoTep story

This was the very first BunniHoTep story I ever wrote and it’s only been published on anything once, on my very first blog post on March 24, 2005, so as of yesterday I’ve been blogging for 11 years. I started blogging because my brother had brain cancer and was blogging about it on Livejournal and wanted me to be able to follow his journey and he knew I loved to write. What he gave me was a gift beyond measure. After he died in July of that year it gifted me with a group of lovely gay men who had been his friends and shared my grieving. He was only a year and a half younger than me and it was like losing half of myself, he had been my shadow for so long. We shared a room until I was 9, we shared so much and both turned out to be gay. I still love a lot of those wonderful men and am glad they are in my life. Blogging gave me a way to grieve and not burden every one around me. It gave me a wider spiritual community. It broadened my life in so many ways.

So here is the very first BunniHoTep story that I wrote because I dreamed it. She was born at a priestess meeting of TOILA, it was our first meeting for priestess’ and that afternoon Inannamoon and I were going to Ellen Cannon Reed’s memorial so we had her Egyptian book out and there was a hieroglyph of a bunny but no real explanation of the meaning that I now know is the word “to be” but then no one remembered what it was but someone smarted off that it was “BunniHoTep!” and we laughed and went on to something else but that night I started to dream stories about a small brown Egyptian Goddess named BunniHoTep, she was the Goddess of lost objects and the small joys in life. So here she is:

The Tale of the Tail
Once upon a time in a time very long ago there was a very small Egyptian rabbit
goddess. Her name was BunniHoTep. She was a beautiful rabbit with soft,
soft fur and a long bushy tail. She was very vain about this tail. It was a
pretty color and swooshed behind her. It did have a slight problem because
when she hopped it landed in the dirt.

Every day she would groom her tail and if she asked nicely Bast would help
her brush it out so it shined and shined.

BunniHoTep loved to go down to the banks of the Nile and watch the fish
swim by. She could watch for hours and hours. One day while she was
watching the fish a crocodile snuck up behind her and opened his very big
mouth with its very big teeth. BunniHoTep turned around and saw the very,
big, nasty crocodile and gave a big leap away and hopped and hopped for her
life. She heard the jaws go snap as she sped away. She hopped all the way
to Isis and Hathor’s House. (They were sharing a summer Temple that year.)
As she was nearly there realized she was hurting and slowed down and looked
behind her. Her beautiful tail was gone.

BunniHoTep cried and cried, “Oh. it hurts.” she said. Nursing her bunny
hiney. “My lovely, lovely tail is gone.” She cried softly to herself. But
she didn’t cry softly enough and kind Isis and Hathor heard her.

Isis and Hathor picked her up and cradled her and soothed her hurt bunny
behind.

BunniHoTep sobbed to Isis. “What will I do without my tail? It was so soft
and lovely and cushioned me when I landed.”

Hathor thought carefully and knew she had just the thing and went quickly
into the house and came back. She handed Isis an object and said to Isis.
“See if this works.”

Isis it took and laughed and said this will be perfect and she put the soft
thing right where BunniHoTep’s tail used to be. BunnieHoTep looked down
and her behind. There where her lovely long tail had been was one of
Hathor’s powder puffs. It was lovely and soft and white and was much more
practical than a long tale.

And that is why bunnies have fluffy powder puff tales.

BunniHoTep and the Donkey’s Boy

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was sitting on the Temple porch. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and every one was out celebrating the Inundation. The porch was cool and there was a breeze blowing through the pillars that just lightly lifted her fur. BunniHoTep was happy but then she was happy most of the time.

BunniHotep was startled by a noise not very far away. What was a donkey doing braying out in the Temple district? She could hear the braying getting closer and closer and she got up to see what the commotion was all about.

A donkey came running down the avenue with a small boy bouncing on his back. The little boy was having a fine time yelling at the top of his lungs along with the donkey but the donkey didn’t look very happy as he ran.

BunniHotep stepped off the porch in front of the donkey and the donkey skidded to a stop. “What’s all this noise about?” BunniHotep asked the donkey.

“He’s supposed to be studying with his father and instead he’s making me run around the town.” replied the very disgruntled and angry donkey.

The boy was looking curiously at the rabbit goddess and the donkey as they talked. He looked to be about three years old and had a mop of curly dark brown hair that kept flopping in his face. BunniHoTep thought it was about time his mother sheared this sheep. The boy smiled down at her.

“Why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” She asked the boy.

“I’m tired of studying and Donkey didn’t look like he was busy.”

“I was busy resting.” said the donkey. “Your father has me hauling timber all the time. It was my turn to rest, you little monster.” The donkey seemed resigned. It obviously wasn’t the first time this had happened.

“He wants to drive camels and he thinks he can practice on me instead of learning to be a carpenter like his father. He’s supposed to be learning to do his measurement tables.”

“I already know them.” The boy told the donkey.

“How could you? Your father only showed them to you this morning.” The donkey scoffed.

“Enough!” cried BunniHoTep, “Your bickering is hurting my ears. And how can you understand what Donkey says?” BunniHoTep was curious. Human boys didn’t generally understand the speech of animals. The child was clearly no Egyptian godling. He didn’t look Egyptian at all.

“I understand the speech of all animals. I always have. Right, Donkey?”

Donkey nodded with an exasperated look on his face. “We get no privacy in the stable when he’s around. He’s always in our business.”

“Well, it kept you from keeping that stone in your hoof.” The boy retorted.

“Enough,” BunniHoTep said again. “What are you doing over here on Temple Row?”

“My parents say there is only one god and I heard from the animals that Egyptians have many gods and even some goddesses and I wanted to see for myself.”

“Well, now you’ve met one and you can go home.” BunniHoTep said. She didn’t like being the object of scrutiny. She knew some people believed there was only one god but she didn’t know how they could in Egypt when there were so many temples to so many gods but to each their own.”

“You’re a goddess?” the child asked. “You’re a rabbit.”

“Yes, I’m a goddess, my name is BunniHoTep and I’m the Goddess of Finding Lost things and Small Joys.”

“What are small joys?”

“Small Joys are the things that make life worth living like appreciating a sunset and enjoying a flower or listening to friend’s talk.”

“Oh,” said the boy thoughtfully. “Like listening with love.”

“Yes like that. Would you like the see the other temples? Most of the gods and goddesses are out celebrating the Inundation and giving thanks for the earth’s bounty but we can walk around.”

“Okay.” The boy got off Donkey and took BunniHoTep’s paw. “Let’s go.

BunniHotep and the boy walked down the row with Donkey following and BunniHoTep pointed out each temple and told the boy what that god’s job was.

“Your gods work very hard, don’t they?”

“Most times.”BunniHoTep replied. “Would you like to meet one of my good friends?”

“Sure.”

They had walked down to edge of the Nile by Ma’at’s Temple where there was a smaller dwelling. It wasn’t a very big building and it appeared to have a mud wallow in front of it at the edge of the Nile. There were 2 small ears poking out of the mud.

“Ammit! Come meet a new friend.” BunniHoTep called.

The ears started to rise and this incredibly ugly beast started to rise out of the wallow. It looked like it had been put together with spare parts of several animals mostly hippo and crocodile. Ammit had a hesitant look on her face.

“Hello.” She said quietly. Ammit was very shy and knew people were afraid of her but she trusted her friend BunniHotep so she kept coming until she was on solid ground. She stood looking at the boy and BunniHoTep. The boy looked like he was ready to break and run.

BunniHoTep had been wondering if he would run too so she kept a tight grip on his hand. “If you want to know the gods and goddesses of Egypt you have to know even the unpleasant looking and scary ones. Ammit has a very important job. She eats the souls of the wicked. Sometimes even the most ugly and odd looking people do the best things for other people. Ammit is a good soul and a good friend no matter how she looks.”

The boy had stopped pulling and was offering to scratch Ammit’s ears.

“Even the ugly and odd can be good?” he asked.

“Yes, just like sometimes the most beautiful can be bad. Don’t judge by looks, Young man. Even the smallest or ugliest or lowliest can be loving good people.”

The boy was thoughtfully stroking Ammit’s neck and Ammit was almost purring at the unexpected kindness. Most people ran away from her.

“Shall we go have tea in my Temple?” BunniHotep asked. “By the way boy, what’s your name? Calling you boy seems rude.”

“My mom calls me Jesse but my dad says it’s Yeshua. I like Jesse.”

“Well, come on Jesse let’s have tea and then I’ll send you and Donkey home.”

They all walked back to the Temple and had a nice time at tea and when the boy left he was thinking hard.

Tale told at Yule – The Littlest Druid celebrates Winter Solstice

Once upon a time in a place that is now called Ireland and a place we call Newgrange there was a very small Druid, well, she wasn’t a Druid yet but all the adults seemed to think one day she would be one. She wasn’t so sure. She didn’t seem to be good at anything. All she really seemed to be good at right at that moment was getting in trouble. So she sat on the bench outside the Chief Druid’s house and waited to hear how much trouble she was in. She sat kicking her heels on the stones that surrounded the hut. She gave an enormous sigh.

The Chief Druid was sitting inside with one of the littlest Druid’s teachers and they were both shaking their heads and smiling.

. “How much trouble is she in this time?” he asked. “Quite a bit,” replied her teacher.

“She’s managed to make herself unwelcome just about everywhere. She was supposed to be helping in the kitchen and she decided to stick her fingers in all the honeycakes that the cook was making for the feast. The cook sent her to help one of the healers and she somehow managed to break several jars of cough medicine the healer had just brewed. The healer sent her over to the Master Brewer and she decided to assist him with the mead for tomorrow and he ended up having to start all over again since she decided if a little mint was good, a lot was better.”

By now the Chief Druid was desperately trying not to laugh too loud and looked about to burst from holding it in.

“Anything else?” he asked, with the little Druid around he was always afraid there was more.

“Let’s see, she was helping the blacksmith with his bellows and blew ashes all over and he got a cinder in his eye and the blacksmith sat down on a hot nail he had just made. He sent her over to Chief Shepherd and she let the sheep out on the grounds in front of the Temple so she’s been picking up the stuff they left behind.”

The teacher was eyeing the Chief Druid who was now bright red and crying.

“What are we going to do with her? She doesn’t try to make trouble, most of the time she thinks she’s helping. But her help is not the kind of thing most people need especially when everyone is going to be up all night waiting for the Sun’s return. And it isn’t helped by the older students scaring her by telling her it will be her fault if the Sun doesn’t return this year. One of them told her if you make too many mistakes the Sun will get mad and not come back and would bring darkness forever more. That made her try to help even more and it’s just gotten worse and worse and I don’t think the poor thing has slept all through the night in a week.”

“I think it must be my turn then,” the Chief Druid said. “I think I’ll keep her with me tonight in the mound. I think she can’t do much harm there. You might as well call her in”

The Chief Druid motioned at the door and the teacher got up and went to get the littlest Druid. The littlest Druid walked in hanging her head and scuffing her feet on the stone floor. Now she was going to get it. It was all going to be her fault if the Sun didn’t come back. They were going to do something awful to her. They might even send her home and she really didn’t want that. She liked it here. Most of the time the teachers were kind and she loved all the animals and she liked learning the uses of the plants and what the meanings of the stars were but she knew if she stopped the Sun nothing would ever go right again and she was really afraid of what they might do to her.

The Chief Druid looked down at the littlest Druid. She was rather bedraggled looking. She had a smudge across her nose and her tunic and pants were filthy with stains and there were several rips and tears and somehow she had managed to get straw in her hair. She looked so sad. The Chief Druid was trying hard not to smile. He had a soft spot for the littlest ones. They always seemed to grow up to be the kindest of the druids.

“What am I going to do with you, Aisling?”

The Chief Druid asked kindly. The littlest Druid just kept looking at her feet. They seemed to be very interesting to her. It was almost worse that he was being nice to her. She kind of wished he would just yell and get it over with.

“I guess it’s my turn to deal with you.” The Chief Druid said. “So tonight, you are going with me behind the spiraled stone and we will wait for the Sun’s return. I think if you stay with me until sunrise we can make sure the Sun does return, no matter what you’ve done.”

The Chief Druid looked down at Aisling very seriously. “You need to go get cleaned up and meet me at the stone in a candlemark. Do you think you can do that?”

Aisling looked terrified but nodded and ran out the door. She was going to sit with the Chief Druid! If the Sun didn’t come back in the morning every one would know it was her fault and the Chief Druid would know first of all!

She was so scared but she didn’t see anyway to get out of her predicament so she got all cleaned up and went to meet her doom at the Temple of the Spirals.

The Chief Druid was standing with his staff waiting for her. “Now we go inside and wait.”

Someone had lit a small lantern and put a couple of sheep skins down inside the room behind the spiral stone.

“We need to get cozy. We are going to be here quite awhile. Do you think you can stay awake to sunrise? We need to catch sight of the sun’s first rays.”

The littlest Druid was terrified. She knew the Sun would never return. The older boys had said so and they were always right and here she was trapped with the Chief Druid. She was shivering with fear.

“Here, sit down by me and we’ll wait. Wrap up in the sheep skin and I’ll tell you about Elen and the reindeer. Your teacher may drop by in a bit with some tea and you can tell her the story later.”

He wrapped the littlest Druid up in her sheepskin and started to tell her all about Elen of the Ways and how she followed the reindeer. About halfway through his story the teacher came in and joined them in their vigil. She’d brought some chamomile tea and they all sat and sipped slowly and they listened to the Chief Druid’s tale of another Winter Solstice night long, long ago.

The littlest Druid’s eyes kept closing and she’d shake herself awake. She had to see the Sun return, she had to, it was important! But she fell asleep anyway and the Chief Druid and her teacher smiled. The teacher reached over and smoothed the littlest Druid’s hair.

“When she’s like this you’d never know she caused any trouble at all.”

And the two of them laughed quietly and kept the vigil as they did every year. The night passed as the longest of nights eventually does and it was almost time for the first light to enter the stone room.

The Chief Druid gently shook Aisling’s shoulder. “Wake up or you’ll miss it.” He whispered.

The littlest Druid started awake. Oh no! She’d fallen asleep! Now the Sun would never return. It was her final failing. She couldn’t meet the Chief Druid’s eyes as he blew the lantern out.

“Oh! Don’t do that! We’re going to need it. The Sun won’t ever return now. I fell asleep and I promised I wouldn’t.”

The littlest Druid started to sob.

“Hey there, none of that. Why don’t we see if the Sun rises before we start our crying. If it doesn’t rise I promise I’ll cry with you.”

Aisling was so confused. This crazy grownup must not have heard everything that had happened or he wouldn’t have said that.

“Come here with us.”

The Chief Druid commanded as he stood up and waited. And something wonderful began to happen. It was just a spark at first and then a small line and then suddenly the room was full of beautiful orange light. The room positively glowed and then it started to fade away and it was gone for another year.

She’d been wrong. The light had returned even though she had done bad things. It had come anyway. She felt like she could breathe again.

The Chief Druid and her teacher took her hands and led her from the small room. Everyone outside was cheering and hugging each other and blessing each other saying. “Blessings of the Sun’s return!”

Someone handed her a small cup of mead and she looked up at the Chief Druid.

“It came back. The Sun came back even though I did bad things?”

The Chief Druid looked at her. “Why do you think that was?”

The littlest Druid thought a bit. “Because I had nothing to do with it? That the Sun was always going to return anyway and I shouldn’t believe everything I hear.” She said uncertainly.

“All anyone can ever do is try their best and just because you make mistakes the world isn’t going to stop turning and the Sun and the Moon will always stay on their courses. Now I think it’s time for a feast! Who’s hungry?”

And the three of them moved off towards the tables that were full of all kinds of good things to eat and stood watching the new born winter sun shine down on all their friends.