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~ Heathen Stories and New Myths ~

 

Ostara’s Bunny

For as long as Ostara’s rest in Asgard was defended by the Yule Father´s great spear, and the watchful eyes of Heimdal, so was this gift of service repaid with similar service. As the All Father’s Yuletide duties caused him to gift the good children of the world, it fell upon him to be sure that those children so gifted were remaining true in the waxing of the new year. As Ostara’s bunny was idle during his mistress’s slumber, he was not only free to serve, but in his boundless love for children, and winter spawned cabin fever, actually dying to do so.
So did Father Yule, great Odin himself, charge Ostara’s bunny; “Seek you out the good boys and girls on Sweet Frigga’s list, and see that they still keep the peace, mind their parents, work hard, and do not attempt to sell their siblings on the internet.” With a nod and a dash the sweet bunny sped across Asgard, blew right between startled Heimdal’s legs, past two incoming Valkyries (who were used to such antics and frequently spoiled the bunny with snacks when Ostara wasn’t looking), and skidded down the rainbow bridge onto Midgard. Time was short, for Ostara waked soon, and the world was broad, so he’d best be on the hop!

Down in Midgard, the pace of life was slower, and the upcoming holiday at Easter had the children at boarding school all bustling to go home; at least those with homes to go to. One little girl, named Ilsa, was an orphan, and although her Aunt and Uncle loved her, and saw to her needs, they were abroad through the Easter season, and so at school she would remain. While it was a touch boring alone at the school, some staff still remained with work to do, and so she was free to roam the whole dorm, and even lend a hand in the kitchens, for the cook was always ready for willing little hands, and had special little treats to reward them.

The rain was hammering all of North Scotland, so Ilsa had to spend the whole day indoors. The cook had gone home as they repainted the kitchen, so Ilsa did not even have work to amuse herself. Thus was Ilsa lying in the halls, singing to the echoes of her voice, and being bored to tears when Ostara’s bunny found her. His magic was strong, from Ostara herself, and he passed through the walls like a hand passes through smoke, his magic was set to keep him from all eyes, so he watched her unseen as she sang, and she sighed.

Although he was ageless, he was still young at heart, and he knew this sweet girl was alone far too long. For like this sweet child he alone often waited, for his sleeping mistress all winter he bided. Unlike her he was free across Asgard to roam, in trouble and out all the winter at home. Knowing he shouldn’t, but knowing he would, Ostara’s bunny let his magic unveil him and boldly he stood.

Ilsa just lay there in startled surprise, as a bunny just popped out before her wee eyes. The bunny hopped up and touched her wee nose, then dashed to the corner, spun and he froze. He waited for Ilsa to rise and to run, let her get close, then took off at the run. All through the halls, up the stairs did they race, her laughter and shrieks sang the song of the chase. He hopped and he bopped until she’d run herself out, then hopped on her lap when she collapsed on the floor. Laughing and stroking her floppy eared friend, Ilsa asked shyly if she’d see him again. With a flick of his tail and the wink of any eye, the bunny patted her nose then took off through the wall. Ilsa sat startled to see how he left, for the brick walls were solid, and really quite thick.

Ilsa decided her friend had been magic, and magical bunnies were not really common. She thought and she thought, then she thought of the season, and then she knew the bunny had hopped for a reason. Ostara’s bunny himself it had been, and quite an honour just to be seen. What a treat for Ostara’s own bunny to stay, through the whole afternoon, asking only to play. A gift for a gift was the way of all friends, so what kind of gift could she make and how send?
Ilsa asked of the cook, and the old woman laughed, for she took it as fancy, as the dream of a lonely wee girl or a story. Still did the cook tell the story as she knew it, of the gift of eggs for Ostara, called Easter. Ilsa begged and she pleaded, and the cook she soon melted, and pots were set forth for white eggs to be boiled. Boiled and dried, her eggs were prepared, but how now to wrap them? Ilsa fluttered and fretted, for the classrooms were closed, no wrap, no sparkles, no ribbons or glue, how was she to wrap them? What could she do? She wanted her gift to be beautifully wrapped, a way to say thanks to her floppy eared friend. To the cook now she came with her eyes all in tears, and the little old lady took heed of her fears.
“Now the wrap” said the cook “is to make them look bright”, “Well, that we can do, and do it up right.” With her dyes and her inks, did she teach the sweet tot, how to paint up her eggs, and to brighten them up. Happy at last, Ilsa was painting, each little egg was a wonder in making. Come the night she stowed her basked of eggs, brightly painted she left them where her bunny companion had popped in to see her.

Easter was come, and Ostara had wakened, her bunny was hopping quite joyful to see her. Her bunny beside her, she strode through the world, bringing spring to the northlands and joy in the season. When she crossed to old Scotland her bunny was distracted, she asked if there was something the matter. Explaining quite quickly about his indiscretion, he feared he would anger his newly waked mistress. Smiling instead, Ostara did laugh, and asked to be taken to see Ilsa herself. Ostara and bunny did come to the school, just for a visit, for they had much to do. Ostara’s bunny saw Ilsa’s beautiful Easter gift, he was struck not just speechless, but hoppless as well. Ostara laughed to see her friend’s distress, and as he looked at her and begged her help she already had a thought. “Your friend gives you thanks for her day of play, but you know we cannot tarry on this Easter day. We have a world to waken, a Spring to bring forth, but we cannot leave her lonely of course. - A gift and a game”, was Ostara’s answer.

Ostara’s Bunny thought the idea was just splendid, and began to hide eggs everywhere unattended. He hid them in corners, and under old socks, he hid them in stairwells in old coffee pots, he hid them so his friend could seek them all day, a gift for a gift and all day to play. Ostara just watched him, and seemed quite amused. “Darling, she said, let me make one small change, for young girls are different than both you and eye. Ostara drew a breath, and then softly sighed, and twinkling surrounded the eggs in their hides. Ostara’s bunny was curious, and hopped right on over, the egg was now chocolate, and sparkled all over. Knowing his mistress had got it quite right, he hopped off with a chuckle, into the dawns light. Around all the world they worked Ostara’s will, bringing the spring through the last winter chill.
When sweet Ilsa woke, she was amazed to discover, a glittering egg, in a sparkling wrapper. Knowing the gift was from her floppy eared friend, she opened it quickly and found a surprise. This egg was of chocolate! What a treat! As the light filled her room she discovered two more, then out to the halls where she met him before. Taking her basket, she filled it right up, with eggs made of chocolate, from hide and go seek!

Word of this wonder spread through the school, when the students returned and they thought it was cool. Now every Easter the children remember, and honour Ostara and bunny together. As once long ago did we all greet the spring, but now done with chocolate, the whole world together.

© John T Mainer  

This work by John T Mainer is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

The Freyr's Press of the Heathen Freehold Society of BC:
Kindertales and Kindertales 2 by John T Mainer et al.

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