Once upon a time, on a frosty December night, a group of little Fairies huddled in their home deep under the roots of a giant oak tree. They were safe and warm. Outside, the wind blew cold and snow covered the ground. "I saw the Sun King today," the fairy named Rose said "He looked so old and tired as he walked off through the forest.”
"The great oak said he's dying" answered her sister, Daffodil.
"Dying? Oh, what will we do now?", little Zinnia started to cry, "If the Sun King dies, our plant friends will not grow. The Birds will not come and sing again. Everything will be winter forever!" Rose and Daffodil tried to comfort their sister, but they were all very sad. As they huddled together, there was a knock on the tiny door of the great oak tree.
"Hello, Fairies," called out a loud voice. "Why are you hiding instead of joining the Forest in our Solstice celebration?"
Rose opened the door and a little gnome pushed inside, shaking the glistening snowflakes off his coat and hat.
"We are too sad to celebrate," Daffodil said wiping her eyes, "The Sun King is dying, haven't you heard?"
"The Sun King is dead." Brother Gnome said, his round dark eyes sparkling with laughter. "Now hurry, or we'll be late for the celebration!"
"How can you be happy and laughing?" Rose frowned at the gnome. "If the Sun King IS dead, it will be winter always. We will never see the Sun again!"
"Oh, little child-fairies." The gnome reached for Rose’s hand and pulled her to her feet. "There is a secret to the Winter Solstice."
The three Fairies looked at him in surprise. "Secret?" they all said. "What secret?"
“Come and see. Come and see." Brother Gnome danced and jigged around the room. "Hurry, Hurry, don't be slow! To the Ancient Oak Grove together we shall go!" He danced out of the door and disappeared.
"What did Brother gnome mean?" Rose asked as she gathered up her cloak.
"I don't know, perhaps if we go, we will see what brother gnome was talking about." Answered Zinnia as she pulled on her hat.”
The fairies left their warm home and trudged off through the snow toward the ancient oak grove. It was a dark and freezing cold night. They flew through icy wind, until they came across their friend the fox.
"Where are you going, fairies?" Fox asked.
"To the ancient grove," they answered, shivering. ,
"Climb on my back, warm yourselves in my fur, I will take you there swiftly."
The fox knelt down so the Faeries could climb up. Then he raced off through the dark.
"Listen!" Zinnia said as they neared the grove of ancient trees. "Someone is singing happy songs. A LOT of someones."
The beautiful music carried over the cold, still, moonlit air. It was the most beautiful music the sisters had ever heard. The fox carried the little fairies right through a spiral of trees right to the center of the grove, then knelt down.
"Why, the whole of the forest must be here!" said the little fairies, as they slid to the snow covered ground.
"They are all smiling and happy," said Rose as she looked around at all the woodland creatures.
The little fairies moved closer until their eyes laid on what was in the very center of the grove.
"A Baby!" the fairies cried. " A new little Baby! Look how he glows!"
"He is the newborn Sun King," said the fox smiling.
"But Brother Gnome said the Sun King was dead," the fairies answered. "How can this little baby be the Sun King?"
"That is the great secret of the Winter Solstice. Every year the Sun King must come to the ancient grove during the darkest days of winter where he dies and receives new life again.”
The fairies laughed, they were so happy. The winter would come to an end after all!
The fairies sang to the Baby Sun King, songs of the coming spring, the sweet smelling flowers, the bumbling bees, and all the secrets of the forest during the long days of summer. And all the creatures within the grove sang with them.
Then Fox took them back to their snug home under the roots of the giant oak tree where they dreamed wonderful dreams, waiting for the warmth of spring and the fun they would have with the little Sun King.
We hope you enjoyed learning the secret of the Winter Solstice as much as our early childhood students do!
The Waldorf School of Baltimore's early childhood education (2.5 years through Kindergarten) offers a rich language program, where beautiful and complex stories from various cultures and countries are presented orally or accompanied by puppetry, feeds children’s imagination, builds vocabulary, and supports the development of literacy. Students learn to listen respectfully, concentrate, and craft their own mental images.
Would you like to learn more about the Waldorf School of Baltimore? Inquire today or join us for their next Waldorf 101, a 30-minute prospective parent zoom, held bimonthly. Links on homepage.