The Easter Gift
One day in late winter the beautiful goddess Eostre ( Os - tra) walked about in the glistening silver light of the full moon. Patches of cold fluffy snow clung to the path where Eostre gently trod, but with every step she took, tiny, colorful flowers began to spring up in the places where her feet touched the ground. Eostre, you see, is the goddess of spring. Spring is the time when new life begins and the earth becomes warm and green after the long, cold winter. She always began her special walks in March during the last vestiges of winter.
Eostre loved to see the effects that her nightly ramblings had on the creatures of the earth. The bright moon fooled the birds into thinking it was daytime. They would arouse from their nests and sing to the beautiful goddess. Eostre invited the birds to sit on her hand and they loved to feel her warm, sweet breath upon them as she praised their songs to her. Eostre watched the March hares hopping around the little glen in the moonlight. She called them softly to her and cast the spring spell of fertility upon them. The bunnies began to hop around madly. The boy bunnies chased the girl bunnies and they tumbled about in the moonlight together. They would now play together day and night for a little while into the warming days of spring. Then they would build nests and tiny, baby bunnies would be born. Eostre loved all the earth’s creatures, but the bunnies were her favorites!
Suddenly, as Eostre approached the edge of the little forest two funny little trolls tumbled out of the trees and landed at her feet. They had stricken looks on their round cheeked, little faces and tears in their big, brown eyes.
“Whatever is the matter?” sighed the goddess, as the gentle breeze of her breathe tickled the rainbow hair of the round-bellied little trolls.
“Oh, beautiful Goddess of Spring can you help us, please?” cried the distraught little trolls.
The trolls then began to tell Eostre a very sad story as they gently tugged on her sparkling gold skirt in an effort to pull her onto a forest path. You see, trolls are very playful creatures and usually very jovial. They love to jump and tumble. They play games with the chipmunks, mice and other forest creatures. Earlier, they had been taunting a fussy squirrel who had been scolding them for being too raucous. The squirrel began to throw acorns, walnuts, and big, beautiful, red chestnuts at the trolls to make them go away. This only incited the riotous behavior, though, because red is one of the troll’s favorite colors and nuts are a favorite treat! The game got out of control and nuts were flying everywhere when a small white dove flew by and was knocked in the head by a flying nut. She fell to the ground breaking a wing and had been lying on the forest floor in an icy patch of snow-covered moss for hours. The fairies had rushed to the rescue and covered the dove with a magical cloak to help keep her warm. The trolls had been melting snow over their cook fire and dropping a bit of the water ever so gently into the tiny bird’s beak for hours. The creature was weakening, though, and the trolls were fearful that she would die. When they saw Eostre walking toward them they were very relieved, because they believed the beautiful goddess would be able to help.
Eostre knelt carefully down beside the poor little dove and very gently scooped her up into her soft hands. The little dove seemed to relax and let out a soft, “Coo.”
“That’s right, little one, just be very still now while I figure out what to do with you.”
Eostre studied the little bird and noted that the wing was irreparably damaged. The creature felt cool and she knew the bird’s life was really at stake. Eostre considered what to do and thought of the sweet March hares she had just been watching. Bunnies have nice warm fur and don’t fly around, so they didn’t have to worry about broken wings! Soft, melodious sounds began to fall from Eostre’s lips and as they reached the dove a warm, glowing light surrounded the little bird in the goddesses’ lovely hands. The trolls looked on with quiet amazement as the transformation took place. The white feathers turned into soft white fur, the beak became a small pink nose and the tiny birdie feet became 4 small paws. The little dove turned into a soft, furry bunny right before their eyes!
“Now, said Eostre, you will hop about the forest for the rest of your life as a sweet bunny rabbit. The only thing that you will keep from your former life is your ability to lay eggs. Every year during the spring celebration of the Earth you will lay beautiful, colored eggs in my honor. The children of the village will build nests in their caps and bonnets on the night before Ostara and set them outside near the doorstep of their homes. With the assistance of all of the trolls of the forest (here she gave the little trolls a pointed look and they bowed down), you will fill each bonnet and cap with the eggs. These will be token gifts of Spring to the children and their families from me. The trolls will provide you with a safe burrow to live in and feed you plenty of carrots and herbs.” You will be known as The Easter Bunny.
Eostre, having finished her enchantment and proclamation, set the bunny down on the now soft green moss. The small, white rabbit wriggled her tiny nose, kicked up her little heels and went hop, hop, hopping down the forest trail with the trolls in close pursuit. Eostre knew that her actions had not only saved the little creature’s life, but the task of caring for her would hopefully keep the trolls out of some of their incessant mischief. The new day was dawning as Eostre rambled on through the glen in the warm rays of the sun leaving new green grass and lovely scented Spring flowers in her wake.