Sunday, October 22, 2023

Enchanted Forest

The enchanted Forest:Origins of Halloween A short story By Ruthie L. Manier. Long ago, nestled within an ancient forest, a community of humble farmers known as the harvesters celebrated the bountiful autumn season. They toiled under the watchful eye of the harvest God, grateful for the gifts from the earth. Every year as the days grew shorter and the nights colder, they eagerly waited for the mystical event of the harvest celebration. Elyse was a strong-spirited, curious and adventurous young woman who had become widowed only after two years of marriage. She didn’t let that horrible day stop her though. She was a harvester through and through and wanted her crops to be the tastiest in all the land, in the name of her late husband Willard. She would make him proud if it was the last thing she did. Elyse prayed he would make an appearance on harvest night. Stories had been passed down for generations that on that enchanting night that the dead could mix with the living. One evening Elyse with her curious sprit had an overwhelming urge to take a walk into a part of the forest she had never journeyed into before. It was calling her name. Elyse. As she ventured deeper into the the vastly covered woods, she knew it was getting late and should turn back before she was bathed in darkness, but her feet seemed to have a mind of their own and kept trudging forward. As she moved down the small path, she noticed fireflies had gathered lighting her path. A while later the gentle fireflies moved ahead of her and encircled an ancient stone circle. As her heartbeat wildly she cautiously ventured toward the ancient stone. Her feet grew heavier with every step. Trembling she realized this ancient stone structure was what had beencalling to her. Elyse thought about fleeing, this place might be hollow grounds. Danger flashed through her mind. Yet, her heart told her she was supposed to be here. So, she took the final steps when out of nowhere a ghostly figure appeared on top of the stone. Scared for her life Elyse jumped backwards ready to turn and run as adrenaline pumped through her veins, but before she could the spirit woman spoke. “Elyse, I have been calling you for days. What took you so long? “The sweet familiar voice asked with haste. Startled Elyse realized this was the voice of her long-deceased grandmother. Her spine stiffened as she gazed into the spirit woman’s eyes. “Grandma Lilly?” She squeaked out of a suddenly dry mouth. “Yes, it is I. And I am pleased you have not forgotten me.” She answered with pride feeling her soul. “I could never forget you. I have missed you every day since you passed to the heavenly realm.” Elyse exclaimed with tear filled eyes. “I have missed you as well and have been watching over you every day since my demise. Child know you are never alone. I felt your heartbreak when Willard died, and it crushed me to see you in such pain. Willard watches over you as well. He asked me to tell you that he loves you and wants you to move on. He is sorry he had to leave you widowed at such a young age and will not be truly at rest until you are happy once again.” Lilly confided in her only granddaughter. Elyse sucked in a breath. She did not realize she was holding her beloved back. “Please tell him that I am moving forward as best as I can. It’s hard with the loneliness that keeps seeping back in. But now that I know I must move on for him to be happy it will be easier to deal with. Tell him I will always love him even if I should find a new husband in the future.” She said with tears of enlightenment singing in her eyes. “I will. Remember you can always talk to us. We are keeping an eye out on you and can hear you as well, my child. Your parents send their love too. Now, I don’t have much time left, so, I must tell you what I was sent forth to share.” “Okay grandmother, but before I forget, please tell my parents I love and miss them too.” “They already know; however, I shall give them your message.” “Thank you, grandmother.” “You are most welcome. In the heavenly realms, I have been bestowed a knew title as ‘Guardian of the Seasons’ and as you know the yearly harvest is almost here…there is much that needs to be done before it’s arrival.” “Yes, the crops need to be harvested.” “Yes, but there is much more.” “There is? What?” “A grand celebration to welcome your ancestors.” “What do you mean?” “It is the one night a year when the dead are able to mix with the spiritual world.” “I’ve been told that my entire life. Are you telling me the stories are really true? There not just an old fable to spook the children into helping with the harvest?” “I tell you it is the truth. On this enchanted night the veil between the spiritual realm and the living world thins, allowing the spirits to venture among the living. The harvesters with their deep connections to the earth were chosen to honor and appease these spirits. You must go forth and tell all the villagers to erect a grand celebration the likes they have never seen before. Their ancestors want to be welcomed properly with delicious food, heartwarming conversations, fun, and games.” “I didn’t realize, of course, I am proud to oblige.” “Good. I knew I could count on you. It was so nice to see you my dear, but my power is waning, and I must return home.” “It was such a surprise to see you, Grandma Lilly. I love you and now that I know you can hear me i promise to talk to you more often.” “I love you too, and we all wait for the day you will join us. Time moves quickly in heaven but for you that will be many years from now. You are young and still have a long life to enjoy. Now go with haste. The fireflies will light your way home.” Lilly said as she slowly vanished from sight. Elyse stood in her tracks, while watching the Guardian of the Seasons, her sweet grandma Lilly disappear. New hope filled her soul, as she thought about what had transpired between the two of them. Closure felt good. And the love of her life, Willard deserved to be happy. In the days to come she would be more optimistic about her future. Inspired Elyse returned to her village with newfound knowledge and a mission. She rallied her fellow harvesters to embrace the special night and celebrate the spirits’ visitation. Together they adorned their homes with flickering candle lights and carved intricate designs on gourds, creating lanterns to guide the spirits on their journey. As the night fell on the harvesters the air was filled with music and laughter. The children were adorned in whimsical costumes emulating spirits they hoped to encounter. The harvesters shared stories, food and drink, while giving thanks for the plentiful harvest they were sharing and honoring their ancestors who had passed before them. Elyse’s village became a beacon of light, love, and unity on Halloween night, a tradition that would be carried on for generations to come. The Harvesters learned that Halloween was not just a time of playful scares and sweet treats, but a profound connection to the spirit world and a celebration of life's cycles. "The Enchanted Harvest: Origins of Halloween" is a tale of discovery, community, and the enduring magic that exists within the changing seasons. It reminds us that Halloween is not simply a spooky holiday, but a cherished time to honor our past, embrace the present, and welcome the mysteries of the night. Long story short: Happy Halloween! Be safe, Give good treats, welcome the changing seasons, be grateful for the harvest and Celebrate your Dead! If you do not follow these simple rules...they might return and haunt you for the rest of you days! Boo!

1 comment:

Julie Lence said...

Nice story, Ruthie. Thank you for sharing.