Festivals & Holidays Stories — 13 October 2011
The Lantern

There was once a boy called George, who had been outside in the garden all through the Summer running after the butterflies, jumping like a grasshopper, singing like a bird and trying to catch the sunlight. One day when he was lying on his back in the meadow gazing up into the sun filled sky, he said: “Dear Brother Sun, soon the Autumn winds will blow and the wail and Jack Frost will come and make us all freeze and the nights will be long and cold.”

Brother Sun pushed the clouds aside and said: “Yes, it will be dark and cold. In the deep midwinter, warmth and light live deep within, hidden from sight. In the time of dark and cold, you will tend the Light Within.”

“But,” said George, “How will I tend this Light when it is dark everywhere around me?”

“I will give you a spark of my last Autumn rays, once you have made a little house for it, for this spark must be guarded well. It will light the way for you to tend the Light Within throughout the time of dark and cold.”

And then, Brother Sun once again hid behind a cloud.

George went home and wondered how best he could make a little house for the spark of the sun. He took a thick piece of paper and painted a beautiful blue and yellow watercolor upon it. When it was dry, he cut windows into it his painting. Then he placed colored tissue paper on the back of his watercolor — and — he formed it into a lantern. He took a candle and put it into the middle of his lantern. And as it was growing dark, he went outside with it.

George held the lantern up above him and said: “Brother Sun, I have made a little home for one of your golden sparks. Please may I have one? I will guard it well.”

Then Brother Sun looked out from behind a cloud and said: “You have made a beautiful home. I shall give you one of my golden sparks.”

And suddenly George saw how the windows of his lantern were lit up, and as he looked into the lantern he saw a spark happily dancing on top of the candle. Oh, how happy the light was in his lovely lantern. It shone and shone so brightly.

“Thank you, Brother Sun,” George called out, “thank you.” And he took his lantern and carried it carefully home, singing:

“The sunlight fast is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling.
Its beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.”

From Autumn, Wynstones Press, originally by M Meyerkort. Revised by L. Sutter, Used with Permission

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