So, why and how would you turn a long, cold, dark night into a party? The first idea that the ancient ones had was to light lamps and candles all over the place, believing that the light would attract the Sun with his warm and glorious light to return. Like attracts like, right? O.K. then they decided that they should give him a present or an offering of some kind. You like presents, don't you? They thought that by doing this they would make him very happy and he would want to come back.
Well, it's kind of hard to give someone who is so far away a present. The ancient ones had to figure out someway to do this without actually trying to physically reach the Sun. They thought about it for awhile and decided that the best way would be to have a big celebration and appear to be having lots of fun. Thus, the Sun would want to join them, so he could have some fun, too!
This was what they did. They decorated their living spaces both inside and out, they cooked special foods and made enough to share with everyone, they dressed up in their finest clothes, they danced, sang, chanted prayers, and offered blessings to the Sun, giving great thanks for all he did for them. They thanked him for his warmth, they especially thanked him for calling up the plants and helping them grow for their many uses. Plants were food, medicine, material for bedding, clothing, and just plain nice to look at sometimes. Plants helped the animals in the forest as well. But without the Sun, there would be no plants or animals and the people would die! So, they earnestly took part in their special celebration of thanks and hope for the Sun's return.
Here is an excerpt from a story that I wrote and published for Amazon Kindle. I hope you enjoy it!
Umar and the Giant
Umar the giant troll strolled through the Balsam Wood. Umar loved the fragrance of the evergreen trees. They smelled sweet and reminded him of Yule. The wheel of the year had turned once more and the great celebration was drawing near. Umar thought suddenly that he would like to have one of these beautiful, deep green trees for the troll’s Yule celebration. The entire troll community could decorate the tree just like the country dwellers of the village did. They could hang pretty ornaments on it. Perhaps the birds would perch on the branches and sing a lovely song. When it grew dark the faeries might come and their multicolored lights would glow through the tree. If there was snow, the soft light would be enchanting!
Umar stood there gazing up at one very large tree and continued to daydream about how beautiful it would look. A thought struck him then and he became very discouraged. He was a giant among the trolls. Umar was about two to three times the average troll height and breadth. He was very important in the community and the trolls respected him. He would be a hero if he could figure out how to bring this tree back to the community and dress it up for their Yule party. There was only one problem. The tree was very, very tall. The tree was also very big around. Umar was big, but not that big. What was he going to do? By now he had convinced himself that he had to have this very tree. It must have stood 4 feet tall and almost that wide! Umar was seven inches tall with a strong, muscular build, but he would be no match for this tree. He thought and he thought and he thought. One thing Umar did not do was give up easily. He continued to concentrate very hard and tried to form a plan in his mind. Maybe, just maybe, he could talk the beavers into gnawing the tree down. The rest of the trolls could tie several ropes to the branches. Then they could all drag the tree home! What a great idea, thought Umar!
He ran off toward the beaver pond at the edge of the wood near the clearing. When he arrived, he saw the beavers swimming. Umar stood there and counted the beavers as they swam past him. There were 10 beavers working very hard. Each one had a good sized log that they were pushing through the water and joining together to form a little dam across the brook. Umar watched, fascinated, as one beaver pushed the log into the dam and another slathered mud around it with his broad, flat tail giving it a few smart slaps for good measure each time.
Umar started jumping up and down shouting out to the beavers to get their attention. One large beaver swam over to see what the ruckus was all about. Umar addressed the beaver respectfully, “Good day, Mr. Beaver. I was wondering if you might help me with a very important project.”
“What do you want, Buddy!” The beaver answered rather curtly and seemed a bit bothered by Umar’s appearance and request.
“It will soon be Yule, sir, and I have a special plan to help decorate the troll village up on the knoll above the wood. I was wondering if you might consider helping me. You see, I need a tree cut down and since this is a beaver specialty, I thought maybe you and your team would like to join me to make this year’s troll, Yule celebration one of the most special ever!” Umar was quite the salesman and gave his all to the pitch.
The beaver studied Umar for a long moment, but then answered, “Nope, we’ve got plenty of work to do here. We have to dam up the brook for an ice skating rink and build a lodge for the Winter Games. You should know that! All of the gnomes, elves, faeries, TROLLS (he said with emphasis), and other assorted creatures of the forest will attend The Games on Imbolc. As you might recall, competition is fierce and we have to make sure we’re fully prepared. We’ve got no time for side ventures right now. Come back and see me in the spring and we’ll talk then.”
Umar was devastated! He paused for a moment and tried to think of someway to change the beaver’s mind. He had forgotten all about The Winter Games. The trolls have a tobogganing team that competes with other neighboring troll villages and last year they won first place! He was sure that no one would want him to interrupt the Winter Game preparations. Now what was he going to do. He thanked Mr. Beaver for taking the time to talk with him about the project and apologized for the interruption. He then politely backed away, bowing as he went. The beaver gave Umar a curious look, shook his whiskery head and swam away from the bank to join the others.
Meanwhile, poor Umar slowly walked back up the hill toward the tree. He was so frustrated he almost felt like crying. He walked around and around the tree trying to think of some way to get it cut down and carried up the hill. Suddenly, Umar heard very loud, rhythmical stomping and the earth around him shook with every stomp. He was very startled by all of this and began to grow frightened. He hopped to opposite side of the tree to hide and peeped through the thick, green branches.
To be continued...
If you would like to read the rest of the story you can find it here: