Tag Archive | children

The Littlest Druid finds a good in the bad

Aisling looked around at what was left of the tiny village, everywhere around her the building’s roofs smoked. Household goods were strewn over the landscape. People lay where they had been slain. The marks of the weapons clear to be seen. There was nothing here for a healer to do.

She looked at the other druids around her. Some were in tears, some were in shock, some were angry. Aisling wasn’t sure how she felt, numb?

In the middle of the night a young boy had come yelling into the Druid village about the sea raiders that had come to his village up the coast to the north. The Chief Druid had quickly roused all the people old enough to help and they had come as fast as their ponies would go but it wasn’t in time. It looked like the boy was the last one left from his village.

Aisling looked at a loom in pieces on the ground and the half finished wool blanket in slashed hunks around it. She could see it would have been beautiful when it was finished with all the colours of sea and sky in brilliant hues. It made her sad. What made people think that they could come and harm a small village? Aisling’s heart hurt.

She could see an abandoned butter churn milk and butter left to curdle on its own. Ravens and crows gathered in the trees above some of the cottages as if waiting for a meal and she was glad her Raven was back home and not here. She couldn’t stand the thought of her being part of this.

The blacksmith must have run to his forge and laid about with his big hammer but it had done no good but she could see he had taken some of the raiders with him to the Summerland.

The older men went to build a pyre to burn the dead. The ravens and crows would get no meal here today. She wondered if the raiders had taken anything of value or if the reason the devastation was so bad was because the village was so poor. It made no sense at all to her and the tears ran down her face.

What made some people do this? No one in this village had done any harm. They had lived quiet lives. They sometimes sold their extra crops to the Druid village. The Chief Druid put his arm around Aisling and gave her a hug.

“Why? Why do people do this?” she asked him. The Chief Druid looked around and shook his head.

“I don’t understand it myself.” He said. “But it makes me cling to the good I can see. Some people want what others have. Some people think they have the only way. Some people just enjoy doing evil.”

“But what’s the good in this?” Aisling asked. She couldn’t see anything good at all.

“Hamish is alive, he’ll have a broken heart but he is alive. People came to help even though there was nothing they could do about the raiders. People will rebuild this village together and new people will help Hamish rebuild the village and his life. This village will be able to show its best hospitality again as is our way.”

People were now starting the clean up around them. Stacking timbers, collecting the things that were spread around the village. Someone was herding the sheep that had been on the hill above the village. One of the women was getting ready to milk the village’s last living cow. The cow was not happy, She should have been milked hours ago. The cow had blood on her horns and none of it was hers. The cow had obviously fought in the battle. Aisling wondered if it was one of Brighid’s cows since it was red and white.

Aisling went to start help collecting the goods left around the village. Maybe they could collect enough to put one household back together for Hamish. Someone had said his grandparents and an aunt and uncle had been sent a messenger. Would they want to settle here?

She looked towards the fields that appeared to be untouched. The oats were just starting to grown and the fields were aglow with the green of new growth. Would Hamish’s family tend them? It was strange to see such a strong symbol of life when she knew if she turned around she would see the blacks and grays of destruction.

Aisling collected a set of wooden bowls, some linens from where they had been dumped. She found someone’s prized bronze pin of a wild boar. It had a broken clasp but she thought it could be mended again and worn with pride. As the day went on the village started to look more like it would have life again.

Men were up on the thatched roofs pulling down the old straw and the burnt parts so they could be re-thatched. They had found the village thatcher’s store of straw and reed in an outside shed.

Some women from the next village were washing out the cottages and mixing white wash. Soon the cottages wouldn’t show any burn marks.

Aisling was near the back of one of the cottages when she heard a soft cry. She looked around to see where the noise was coming from. There was a pile of old abandoned clothes she guessed wasn’t good enough to steal and gently went over to sort through when she heard it again. This time she could hear that it was a mew. And she dug through the pile. Nestled under someone’s old tunic was a tiny black kitten. Its eyes were barely open. Aisling looked around quickly to see if there were any more but this one was alone.

Aisling cradled the kitten to her chest, it crawled up to her shoulder and nestled into one of her long red braids. So there was still life in the village, she thought. The kitten purred into her ear as she gently stroked its back and she wondered how long it had been since it ate. She headed over to where the woman was taking care of the cow, she had tied it to the outside of the pig sty.

Aisling had grabbed a napkin and fashioned into the shape of a nipple. Maire took one look at the kitten and grabbed the napkin. “I see someone needs to be fed here at least,” and dipped the napkin in the bucket of milk and handed it back to Aisling. “Are you ready to be a mathair?”

Aisling nodded and looked at the kitten as it greedily sucked on the napkin, at least one good thing had happened this day. She looked at the kitten. The Chief Druid was right, it had felt good to help even when she wished it hadn’t been necessary, but there is always some good with the horrid. It just can be hard to find.

“I’m naming ‘Nuadh Bheath’. ‘New life’ seems a good name, Beo for short? Do you like that?” Aisling looked down at the purring sleepy kitten and smiled for the first time that day.

BunniHotep meets Baba Yaga

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was in her Temple dusting the altar because it was the Priestesses day off when she heard a strange booming noise. The noise was coming closer and closer and started to shake the Temple a small bit. BunniHoTep went running outside into the twilight to see the strangest sight.

There standing on 4 immense chicken legs was a small cabin. On the porch stood a gnarled old woman shading her eyes against the setting sun. She had come from the Northeast and was dressed for a much warmer climate.

She hailed BunniHoTep from her high perch in harsh sounding voice.. “You there! Can you help me?”

BunniHoTep looked dubiously at the woman and her cabin. She had a bad feeling about this but she decided she was probably safe if she stayed away from those big talons. “Yes, what do you need?”, said BunniHotep

“Have you seen a very large pestle? The woman asked.

“A pestle as in mortar and pestle?” Asked BunniHoTep. “ I haven’t seen anything like that around here. Where did you lose it?”

The house was turning this way and that as the woman stood on her porch leaning on a broom. “It somehow got away from me and I need it as a rudder for my flying mortar. My name is Baba Yaga and I’m the guardian spirit of the Waters of Life and Death and the nights this time of year are when I have the most work.” The old woman said. “This is harvest season and it’s my busiest time of year but I can’t fly without that blasted pestle.”

BunniHoTep said carefully, I don’t remember seeing a pestle but there is a new obelisk on the Avenue of the Gods. It came floating down the Nile the other day all by itself. Should we go look? By the way my name is BunniHoTep”

The woman stopped in thought, “Well, it does seem to have a mind of its own some days. I think it’s been hanging around the house too much.” The woman climbed down a ladder that had extended itself from the center of the floor of the cabin. “These old bones don’t get this far south in my travels usually.”

BunniHoTep looked at the woman. She was as wrinkled as the dried apples that came from the northern orchards and she was a lot fairer of face than most Egyptians. She also noticed that the cane the woman had produced was a very long thigh bone. BunniHoTep guided the woman to the Avenue of the Gods and sure enough the last and smallest new obelisk was the pestle. The pestle started to shake as Baba Yaga walked up to and she rapped it smartly when she walked up to it. “You know better than this! We need you at home right now.”

The pestle wrestled itself out of the ground and hopped along with the two goddesses as they walked back to the Temple.

“Where do you come from?” asked BunniHoTep curiously.

“I come from the deep forests of the north where it starts to get very cold this time of year. The souls will start to fly home soon and I need to be there to meet them. I want to thank you for helping me. Anytime you want a visit to the trees. Call for me and I will come but ask the cabin nicely and it will turn for you so the door will open. It gets very cranky when the hero types come and try to break in when all they need to do is ask nicely.” The woman climbed the ladder and the pestle followed her up and sheepishly went into the cabin. If a pestle could look sheepish it is certain this one did.

The house turned three times and walked away to the North. BunniHotep waved to the woman on the porch as long as she could see her. She hopped back into her Temple. That was surely one of the strangest encounters she had ever had she thought to herself. “I think its time for some tea and carrots.” And she hopped toward her awaiting tea.

The Littlest Druid learns about loss

Dedicated to Beth Van Dyke and Cameron Robb  and now Mary – journey well

Once upon a time the littlest Druid was sitting by the stream outside the village. It was the only place she could go where the water would drown out the sound of her sobbing.

She wanted to be brave and she wanted to look forward but at the moment her heart was broken. Her best friend was gone and she didn’t understand why it had to happen. She felt even more alone than she normally did.

When she had arrived at the Druid school two sun rotations before she had arrived at the same time as another student, Beith was the same age as Aisling but as different as night was from day. Where Aisling was red haired and freckled and with a fiery temperament to match Beith was cool and calm like the tree she was named for Birch. She was fair with dark hair and dark eyes but they might as well have been sisters. In fact, when they were allowed to pick a soul friend their first year, their anam cara. They had chosen each other. They were supposed to pick some one older who could advise them but they had chosen each other and their teacher and the Chief Druid had agreed to it.

No two spirits could have been closer. The two were together whenever their chores and studies had permitted and maybe if they had been allowed to do their assignments together Aisling wouldn’t have been so creative in the trouble she got into but that is for another time.

The spring before when Aisling and Beith were running together on the moors chasing the sheep, Beith had fallen suddenly and had had trouble getting up again. Aisling had to find the shepherds to carry Beith back to the village. Beith would never run with Aisling over the moors again.

For some awful reason she wouldn’t heal and there was nothing the Druid healers could do for her. They tried every herb they knew. They tried to sweat it out. They tried all the special rituals they knew but Beith got weaker and weaker and began to have trouble breathing.

They let Aisling visit all the time and never kept her out and they allowed her to be part of the rituals so she knew what was happening to the sister of her soul but nothing had worked. They finally sent a message to Beith’s parents to come and say goodbye. That was rather unusual because once someone joined the Druids, the Druids were their family but Aisling thought they had done it because Beith wasn’t a full Druid yet or they could have just been being kind but they had arrived a few nights ago.

Aisling was sitting alone with Beith when she opened her eyes the last time and smiled. “Don’t cry, I’ll be back,” she said and slipped away. Aisling had called for the healers but there was nothing they could do. Beith was off on her voyage to the Summerland and Aisling had lost the sister she had found.

So Aisling was sitting on the banks of the burn mixing her salty tears with the cold clear water when someone came and sat by her on the bank.

“Why are you crying?” said a soft voice.

“My friend is gone and I miss her.” Sobbed Aisling.

“Ah, the wee one who left for the Summerlands this morning,” The voice said.

Aisling looked up startled and saw a beautiful older woman with hair that looked soft like owl feathers sitting by her. She was dressed all in green and wasn’t much taller than Aisling was.

“How did you know?” asked Aisling.

“It’s my job to ken when souls need to leave on their journey. I saw you there. What did she tell you?” asked the woman.

“She said she’d be back and not to cry.” answered Aisling.

“And so you’re crying out where no one can see you or help you.”

“How would it help to be where people would pity me? We’re supposed to be happy when people die. They say they are happy now and not in pain. They tell us that they have been reborn in the Summerland and that they will come back soon. They would just tell me to be strong and happy.”

The woman sat for a moment and said. “I’m sure some would understand the hurt of losing your friend and anam cara. They’ve lost people too and loss hurts no matter how we tell ourselves it shouldn’t. Someday the pain stops and you just remember the love. Then it’s easier to be happy.”

Aisling looked up at the woman. “Do you think I should go back now?”

“I think maybe you should go hug Beith’s parents. They know she is on her journey now but it will still hurt them for her to be gone. They did name her for the first tree or beginning of the journey, you know. They will understand.”

“I guess,” Aisling whispered. She really didn’t want to go back.

“And when you’re parents named you, Aisling for dreams and visions, they knew what they were doing too. Be patient, wee one.”

The woman started to slip away and began to change into an old woman and disappear. Aisling heard the soft call of an owl in the twilight of the deep forest and it dawned on her that she had just had a chat with the ban sidhe and gave a shiver. Aisling got up and headed back to the village.

The leaf and Hecate

Once upon a time there was a tree on the side of a hill and on this tree there was a bud, the bud of a new spring green leaf. This leaf was soooo excited to be on the tree. As spring went on he slowly unfurled from his tight bud. Each day he was a little more open. He was going to be the best leaf that ever was! He was going to be greener and prettier and he was going to see everything there was to see from his tree.

Everyday he looked out on the Earth. He felt the sun on his surface. He liked the way that felt. All warm and wonderful, he could feel the warmth turning to sugar to feed the tree and it made him proud to be able to do that.

He liked being near the other leaves and the rustling sounds they made together when the wind came. It was a soft lovely noise.

He liked it when the rain came and got him and his friends all wet and how the rain slid down from one leaf to another before it hit the ground. The leaves liked to play a game to see how long they could hold a drop of water before they had to pass it on to the leaf below.

He liked all the weather although thunder and lighting was kind of scary with all its loud bangs and bright lights. He was a little afraid of being burnt.

He liked talking to the squirrel that lived in the tree. The squirrel was always so busy. Running up and down, gathering nuts from nearby trees and talking to other squirrels. He always had the latest news.

He liked talking to the raven with his deep hoarse voice that came by occasionally. He had wonderful stories of the places he went in winter. Those stories were scary. All the other leaves told him they would be gone by winter but he decided he didn’t want to leave the tree so he listened to those scary stories carefully. What would this winter be like?

He talked to the owl that flew silently in at night. The owl made him jump and shake a little because he never heard the owl coming. Once the owl dropped a feather when he took off quickly to hunt and it landed on him. It was so soft and warm. It made him feel special to be able to touch the owl.

But time was passing every day and the days got longer and then one day they started to get shorter and shorter and he felt a change inside himself. He noticed that he and the other leaves had started to change colour. This wasn’t good at all! He wanted to stay green on his tree forever and he tried to stop is but it just kept happening and he got redder and redder each day. The other leaves started talking about some one called Hecate and they were very excited. All they talked about was going to be with Hecate and would she choose one of them. “Choose them for what?” he thought. “I’m staying right here. I want to see winter even if it is scary. I want to see snow. I want to see things turn white. I want to see the animals go to sleep.”

The leaves around him started letting go. One by one they dropped away with an ecstatic “Whhhhhheeeeeeee!” and away they would spin in the fall breezes and gales but the leaf held on tight to his branch. He started to get lonely but he waited and waited. Soon everyone was gone. Maybe this was going to be lonelier than he thought but he knew it was the only way he was going to see winter. He could see the leaves on the ground under the tree. Most of them blew far, far away, farther than he could see. Was that where this Hecate was? Was that where they really went?

One day he had a big surprise. A woman appeared below his tree, a woman with deep lines in her face and long wavy hair the colour of clouds after the rain. She wore thick clothes in all the colours of all the trees in the woods. Her shawl alone had the deep green of the firs and the yellows of the cottonwood and the reds and oranges of maples, beeches and birches. She stood looking up at him with a kind look on her face. “Time to come down now.” She said quietly.

“Why should I leave my tree?” the leaf asked. “I want to see winter.” The leaf was going to stay right where he was, he thought stubbornly. “What does this woman know anyway?”

“You need to come down now, it’s time.” she said firmly.

“Time for what?” the leaf said sullenly. “I see no good reason to go. I want to see winter!”

“No leaf can see winter from their tree. It’s just not possible and it’s not the way things go. You need to come down here and be nourishment for the Earth. Leaves have just as big a job when they leave their trees. They fall to the Earth to make her strong and so trees will grow new leaves in the spring. If you see winter it must be from down here.” She said softly.

“Who are you?” asked the leaf. He wondered how this woman knew what happened to the other leaves and why she cared.

“Didn’t you hear the other leaves talking about me before they jumped? I’m Hecate and you really need to come down here to me.”

“Don’t wanna.” The leaf said. “I’m gonna stay right here. I want to see snow and see the animals go to sleep and I want to see it through to spring.”

“Well, you can’t.” And Hecate started to rise up through the air to him until her eyes were level with his branch and she could see him clearly. “I’ve never see such a stubborn, curious little leaf “

She looked at him carefully and she could see him shivering in the breeze. He could feel his anchors letting go. “No! NO NO!” he cried. “I won’t go!

“All leaves go sooner or later. This is later for you. It won’t be so bad. It’s just a new adventure.”

He let go of the branch and floated free. Hecate floated with him. He slowly spun through the air, whirling and turning. He could see he was going farther and farther from his old tree.

“Where, oh where was he going?!” But he saw that Hecate was going with him. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad if she went too. He liked her kind brown eyes. They were the same colour as some of the nuts the squirrels collected and he could see the whole wood reflected in them.

“Will you be there with me?” he asked her.

“Always.” She said. “I’m always in the winter wood. I watch over everything and all things and make sure they go at the right time and the right place and I make sure they aren’t alone on their new adventures.”

“Really??” The leaf asked.

“Really!” Hecate replied.

“Then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.” And the leaf floated away on the fall winds with Hecate next to him all the way.

Why #I stand with Ahmed

If you wonder why I’m so mad about the way Ahmed has been treated, there are two reasons.

The first is that I was a geek kid that people got weird around. They would complement me on my smarts and then act like they were a little frightened of me, particularly some of my parent’s friends. I didn’t act like a kid. I was fairly solemn and quiet and that weirds adults out. It never occurred to them that because I couldn’t see very well even with glasses that I might be trying to figure out exactly what was going on or that I knew they were weirded out and pulling their chain. Bad combination in a child.

One of the first things I ever got a whopping of a spanking for was taking apart an alarm clock. It glowed in the dark and was probably laced with radium because it was really bright and it was loud. I wanted to know quite literally, what made it tick, so I completely disassembled it and of course being about 4 years old, couldn’t quite get it back together. I managed one of dad’s screw drivers to take it apart but not enough to screw it back together. It’s always easier to take something part you shouldn’t than get it back together. Because I was both a night owl and a dawn riser at the time I had way too much time on my hands and it got me in trouble often, (We won’t talk about the incident with lipstick, nail scissors and my mother’s purse).

Anyway, I think both mom and dad got their licks in on that one. I think one of the reasons was they had already taken my brother to the ER once thinking he had swallowed the phonograph needle. I had removed it, again, to see how it worked. I could have told them that if they had bothered to ask me. Only got a swat for that but I think they were afraid he’d eat clock parts so that one was a bigger spanking. I think my dad’s spanking was for taking his tools without asking, but he had been showing me how to use them so…

Around that time things like Lincoln Logs and erector sets and finally when I was 6, I got the microscope and multitudes of science books were keeping me out of the household electrical devices.

So I understand the need for a kid to build or take things apart. If you’re curious and intelligent you want to exercise it and grownups can be incredibly stupid if they don’t know what you are doing and incredibly fun to mess with when they are being stupid but sometimes you just want to show what you can do and you scare them. Stupid, uncreative people are still the bane of my existence. There’s certain kind of stare they get when looking at you and it gets old really fast.

The second reason is that I was accused of making a terrorist threat several years ago when I worked at a company. A new member of my dept found out I was a witch at Hallows and harassed several people to go after me. They prayed over me at my desk. They went through my Disney cartoon a day calendar and removed all the witches from it. They would spout incorrect Bible verses and would get infuriated when I corrected them on the meaning, translation or if it was even in the Bible and not Shakespeare and they harassed anyone that tried to associate with me.

I did what any witch would do and put a protection spell on my workspace. It was tied to a tiny pentacle the size of dime on a post it under my monitor and not in plain sight. M, my chief harasser somehow found it mysteriously and reported it to our new manager who was a friend of hers from church. I was put on probation for that tiny pentacle in my desk because It allegedly terrified M. M outweighed me by about 100+ lbs and who was meaner than a snake was allegedly terrified of my tiny pentacle and there was not a damn thing at the time I could do about it. So about 6 months into my probation the company was bought by a company who had a very strong antidiscrimination policy and I figured I had nothing to lose in my misery so I went to the new HR and got an immediate response. They took me off probation, removed all mention from my file, moved M to another dept and made my manager go to sensitivity training and when she kept behaving badly, they took all of her employees away and gave her an tiny office in a closet and she left shortly after. So I know very well about being accused of being a terrorist because of your religion and it’s wrong and it hurts but you can fight and occasionally you can win.

I hope Ahmed wins big time and all those police officers and teacher have to eat their socks. You go Ahmed!

Note: if they were really so scared of his creation, how come no one called the bomb squad and they never evacuated his school if he was such a threat? No they just withheld his parents and harassed him because they could.

BunniHoTep and the Moon Watchers

Once upon a time during a full moon BunniHoTep decided she was going to spend a nice quiet evening down at her lotus pool. So she gathered a blanket and bid her priestesses good night and went to have a nice evening. As she got around the corner of the temple she heard noises in the direction of the pool. Who was spoiling her nice quiet evening?

She hopped hurriedly to her pool and found Heqet, the frog goddess, Ammit and one of her smaller priestesses lying on their backs having an argument. BunniHoTep was quite surprised about the whole thing. She knew Hequet almost never had a free full moon night. She was the goddess of childbirth and babies liked to arrive on full moons and what had lured Ammit out of her den on a full moon night? Ammit didn’t like being in seen in bright light normally and even more than that, what was her priestess doing out of bed? The moon was high in the sky and she should have been in bed long ago.

BunniHoTep laughed to herself as she listened to them argue. They were arguing about who was seen on the moon’s face. Hequet saw herself in the moon and Ammit saw a beautiful lady in the moon and BunniHoTep’s priestess saw her goddess in the moon because she knew Isis had placed BunniHoTep’s likeness in the moon. Everyone knew that!

BunniHoTep couldn’t stand it any longer and burst out laughing. The three sat up and looked at her. The Priestess lay back down in a hurry. She knew she shouldn’t be out of bed but it had been such a beautiful night and she liked Ammit so she had snuck out to enjoy the evening.

BunniHoTep looked at her priestess. “What are you doing out of bed?” and tried to look sternly at her priestess. Stern looks sit oddly on a happy rabbit’s face. “It was such a nice night and Ammit was here so I thought I’d enjoy the moon?” The priestess said trying to look innocent.

“All right, you can stay for a while longer as long as you are bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning.”

The priestess lay back down with a smile.

“But what was all this arguing about who was in the moon?” asked BunniHoTep. Ammit and Heqet looked at each other.

The frog headed goddess croaked out. “We were just having a nice discussion about who was painted on the moon.

”BunniHoTep laughed, “It wasn’t sounding all that friendly when I heard it and why do you have to have one painting on the moon’s face?”

Ammit spoke up, “How can there be more than one thing on the moon?” Ammit squinted up at the bright disc.

”“What if you’re all right?” said BunniHoTep.

“How can we all be right?” asked her priestess.

“Well,” said BunniHoTep, “What if you see what you need to see at the moment you are looking at the moon? People of all shapes and sizes see all kinds of things in the moon. Horus sees his right eye in the moon. Isis put me up there for some to see. Some people see Heqet on the moon and some people even see a crab in the moon and lots and lots of people see a man or woman in the moon. They all have stories and they are all right.”

“How can they all be right!” croaked Heqet. She was a little annoyed she might not be painted on the moon.

“The moon belongs to everyone. It guides people and I don’t think she cares what she looks like to anyone and people like to tell stories. I think she can be whatever she needs to be. A guide to a woman in labour. A comfort to a lonely person here on earth. The moon lets us know we aren’t alone and that everyone anywhere can enjoy her and tell stories. She shines on all of us alike.”

“Oh,” the three said, “That makes sense.” The three settled back down and BunniHoTep joined them around the pool. The four friends chatted and pointed out their favourite constellations and stories about the moon and the stars until they were all yawning and trudged off to bed.