I am so incredibly excited to have this opportunity to share a wonderful story with you that no one, other than myself, the writer, and her former students have been privy to until now. It was written by the very talented author, Christine Natale. Her name might be familiar to some of you. Christine is a former Waldorf teacher who mentored under the amazing Waldorf teacher Alan Howard (author of The Nativity Stories). Christine is also the author of the incredible St. Nicholas stories I featured in my blog in early December that many of you also read.
Christine and I have grown close over the past several months and I am honored to have read several of her other stories. I can't say she's a "diamond in the rough" because there is nothing rough about her or her incredible stories at all. She is more like a blindingly brilliant diamond which had been buried under the sand and weight of life the past 10 years. The western winds have since blown the said sand away to reveal her sparkle and priceless treasures shining brighter than ever. This is one incredibly gifted writer.
When I shared the St. Nicholas stories with my then 6 year olds, they were glued to my every word - mouths agape, eyes widened and bodies leaning forward as if feeding on Christine's enchanting words, suckling and nurturing their souls. Since then, I have had the honor of sharing several more of Christine's treasures with them and I instantly recognized her gift. Her stories are so needed by our children - homeschooled or not, waldorf inspired or not. Her stories speak to the souls of the children in images that will be familiar to their tender spirits, to these children who are so sensitive to that which we adults are no longer. Perhaps Christine has been given the gift that is bestowed on all of us when we are very young, yet her gift has not been diffused as she still has that ability to connect on a level that many of us can not. That, coupled with her writing talents allows her, like a child, to bring intuition and magic to her stories, while she manages to appeal to us adults, as well. I am thinking in particular of a Valentine's Day story she wrote that will hopefully be available in the future. I shared it with a bunch of mothers at a Younger Girls Club I was running and they were all gushing over it - asking where they could obtain a copy...
In any case, Christine gave me permission to share this lovely story of the Sun King, which fit beautifully into our Elements Block (Grade 1 and or 2). It also can be used as a Midsummer and/or Midwinter Story.
Christine is a member of several of the waldorf yahoo groups, including Kristie Burns' Earthschooling group so you can get a hold of her if you need to there. If you are not a member of Earthschooling, Christine is available at this email address if you have any questions, comments or story needs:
Christine has also a started a blog and it can be found here: http://threefoldwaldorf.blogspot.com/
She is also in the process of organizing her years of stories into books which will hopefully be available for purchase very soon! She sent me a copy of this story as an attachment with beautiful font and pictures, but I couldn't figure out how to link that to this blog. I went ahead and cut/pasted it, but the pictures are not included. If you would like a copy sent as an attachment directly to you, please contact Christine directly at her email listed above. Enjoy and please feel free to leave her lots of feedback. I hope to be able to share with you more of her stories in the next month or two! Until then, please enjoy this story...
The Return of the Sun King
by Christine Natale
Once upon a time, there was great sorrow among the fairy folk. Something had happened to the Fairy Queen, Titania. She had fallen asleep and would not wake up.
The winter had come, terribly cold and full of ice and snow. In the fairy wood, no fires were burning. The seed babies were safely tucked in their beds, deep under Mother Earth’s coverlet of leaves and moss. The gnomes and dwarves were working deep underground. The water sprites waited under their ice roof, which covered the crystal lake and bubbling brook.
Most of the fairy folk, those who tend the flower children in meadows and forests, were left to wander through the winter, seeking warmth and shelter. They sought these in the homes of mortals, hoping to rest beside the fires both in castle and in hovels. Where ever fairy stories were being told at night or where ever Christmas candles were burning, there they were allowed to rest awhile.
This winter, the Fairy Queen and her troupe had been wandering and wandering. The snow blew in great swirling clouds and Old King Winter laughed and crackled. Jack Frost had a jolly time pinching their noses and toes. Worst of all and sad to say, there were not enough resting places for the fairy troupe. Most of the stone castles were dark and deserted and had been so a long time. The houses, great or small, where real fairy stories were still being told were few and far between. And the Christmas Candles burned in but a few windows.
One very dark night, after Yuletide, but long before Spring was due, the Fairy Queen began to grow very sleepy, as mortals do when they begin to freeze. Not being a mortal, she could not die but she could not wake up either. All of the fairies tried to wake her up. They danced and fluttered around her and sang songs as loudly as they dared. At last, with the help of two white snow-hares they managed to bring the Queen back to the stone circle, which is their palace and dancing place. Without their Queen, the fairies were entirely without direction and purpose. Many also fell asleep and the ones who stayed awake were mournful and very miserable.
Lady Spring finally came back from her palace in the South. She chased old King Winter back to his ice palace in the frozen North. The ice melted and gentle rains fell. Seed babies began to awaken and the first flower children appeared. The fairies grew hopeful and hurried to bring Lady Spring to the bed of her sleeping sister. Lady Spring took Titania’s hands and breathed the promise of Spring over her. She sang her magic song of roses and butterflies, of newborn lambs and nightingales. Titania’s cheeks grew rosier and she seemed to breathe more fully than before. But alas! Her eyes would not open, nor would she speak!
Lady Spring grew sorrowful and this brought a tremendous Spring storm. She had to dry her eyes quickly so as not to bring on a flood. She took leave of Titania’s attendants, saying, “I must continue on to waken all of the seed babies. Guard your Queen well and wait for Summer.”
The fairies promised to do their best, but in truth, the seed babies and flower children were not taken care of as well as they should have been.
Day by day, the fairies could see the ascent of the Sun King on his fiery steed. He was still far away, just over the horizon. Little by little he came closer and the day began to grow longer than the night. Finally, it was Midsummer’s Eve and the Sun King reached the pinnacle of the sky. He was riding very high over the palace of the Fairy Queen. The fairies shouted and clamored, pranced and danced, trying to catch the Sun King’s attention. He was too high up to hear them, but he soon noticed that the Fairy Queen had not come to greet him on this, their meeting day.
The Sun King turned his steed toward the Earth and came as close as he could without harm. Of course, everything grew tremendously hot and the flower children took refuge under the broad leaved trees and bushes.
Still, Titania did not wake up. Here hands and feet were still icy, although her hair shone golden in the brilliant light. Then the Sun King took off his mantle of fire and climbed down from his sky horse. Without the fire mantle, he would not scorch anything or anyone. Still, he was almost too bright to look at! He came to the Fairy Queen’s couch and he bent down and kissed her. He took her hands in his and felt them grow warmer and warmer. She opened her eyes and drew a long breath. She arose with all of her sleeping companions.
What rejoicing there was! Such a shouting and singing! Each fairy nurse ran to find her poor neglected flower child.
Titania thanked the Sun King for bringing her back to life. She told him how dark and cold the winter had been. She wondered what to do the next time King Winter’s might was stronger than human love and light.
“Do not fear,” said the Sun King, “For the darkest winter has passed and Winter’s power will someday be totally overcome. Human beings will remember to light their fires again. The Christmas candles will burn brightly in many homes and around the hearths, real fairy stories will be told again. I myself will proclaim this from the skies. For the light of the world has come to birth in human hearts and this can never again be extinguished.”
Then the Sun King mounted his winged charger, put on his fire mantle and rode back to the summit of the sky. The fairy folk waved him on his journey with love and gratitude.
That Midsummer night, they held the most joyful festive there ever was in all of fairy land. And if the lights have not gone out, they are dancing still.
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