Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Solstice Tree Story

The Solstice Tree Story from Clair- NAME member in Virginia

I sent you a photo of animals gathered around a Solstice Tree with roses on it.  Later, I realized that people don't know the story behind the scene, so I'm sharing it briefly here.  Selma Lagerlof, a Swedish author who died in 1940 and earned the Nobel prize for Literature in 1904, told this story, which my mother passed on to us when we were children:  A poor woodcutter's family lived in the woods.  It was Solstice (or Christmas), the time to give gifts to children.  But there was no money for gifts!--what were the parents to do?  Then the mother remembered something special from her childhood.  She told her children to dress warmly, for they were going to take a walk in the woods near midnight.  The kids put on their boots and scarves and best hats and coats and off they went.  Their mother told them to be quiet, very quiet, so as not to disturb the animals.  They walked through the snow a long way, when finally they saw a glade in front of them, and in it, a tall evergreen surrounded by all the animals of the woods, quietly waiting.  Suddenly--at midnight!--the woods lit up as with sunshine.  The snow melted and green grass showed, speckled with meadow flowers.  The tree was bright with roses and their sweet smell pervaded the air.  The animals gave out a great sigh, and were happy, for even as the light faded, the snow returned, and the roses fell from the evergreen, they had been given a promise--that Spring would come again--and so they returned to their burrows and caves and nests reassured, safe, and calm.  So did the children, who had been shown such a wonder.  And that is why it is said "Who were the first to cry Noel?  Animals all as it befell!"