A Million Valentines – a story for childrenPosted by Suzanne, on February 14th, 2011

Dear friends, I have had so many requests for this story, that I decided to post it here.  Enjoy this Valentine’s Day, and any other day love leads.

A Million Valentines

a story, thoughts on Giving and Receiving, and story activity to do with children.

This is from one of our Story Newsletters – sign up for free email newsletter on http://junipertreepuppets.com

Giving and Receiving in Story

Many traditional stories have moments of giving and receiving.  The wise kind man in the forest gives the magic cooking pot.  It is given to the character whose soul is ready to receive it’s abundance.  With inner preparedness, the daughter receives the pot that makes good sweet porridge.

Whether it is a key that opens the magic door, or the flower that heals, the exchange of giving a gift and receiving it with gratitude is a vital turning point in story.  In the storyteller’s quality of voice and in a puppet character’s gesture, this is a profound moment.  Secrets of life are bestowed.  Secrets of life become the soul gift of the receiver.

The open hand of the giver is met by the open hand of the receiver.  The two become a whole.  In a way it is a joining, a meeting of souls, surrounded by intention and thankfulness.  Remember there is a heart meridian in our open palms.  Two hearts meeting in this wonderful mystical yet simple giving.

When we think of giving a valentine we see an echo of this.  When the old man in our Feb. story prepares his gift, his ‘valentine,’ we want to make ‘care and intention’ visible and audible in our storytelling and gesture.  When the gift is received let there be an abundance of joyful appreciation by the receivers.  When we penetrate these story qualities we give our children meaningful pictures that support their sense of place in the world.

February Story

‘A Million Valentines’

It was Valentine’s Day in the little village.  Papa Giorgio woke up early as usual.  The sun had not risen yet, and he made a cup of tea and sat in his favorite chair by the big window.  He could see near and far, and here he watched the winter sun rise.  The morning pink first lit up the snow on the mountain, and slowly spread it’s warmth over the open valley to his own yard!  It was so quiet and still.  Nothing moved outside, except the occasional hungry bird looking for something to eat. Then the sun’s gold peeked over the mountain.  Day had arrived!

Papa Giorgio suddenly sat up and thought, ‘winter is so long and cold, white and grey, what we need this late in winter is more golden like the sun.  I know just what to do!’

He went to his cupboard and moved boxes and bins, looking for something. He thought he remembered having net bags that he used to fill with thistle seed to hang outside this time of year.  The birds loved to eat thistle seed!  ‘Oh yes’, laughed Papa Giorgio, ‘these seeds bring magic.  They bring gold wherever they are!’  Paga Giorgio looked further in his closet and sure enough he found the net bags and the thistle seeds he had almost forgotten about.

He smiled, and wondered why he had not been feeding the birds for such a long time.  ‘I must be getting old and tired, but today I will feed the birds, each seed will be a Valentine gift from me to them!  I will fill these little net bags with seeds, millions of tiny thistle seeds, and hang them outside my window. Then I will sit and watch Gold come to visit!’

He filled each bag with tender, loving care.  The tiny black seeds glistened in the sunlight.  He hung 10 bags full of seeds in the trees outside his window.  Even before he got back to his chair, the birds were flying in.  They tucked their small bird feet into the netting and peck, peck, pecked at the thistle seed.  How hungry they must have been this late winter!  Here and there on all the net bags he saw flashes of gold.  Gold here, gold there, flying, pecking gold.  The gold finches had found the thistle seed Valentines!  As he watched, hundreds of golden birds flew in to eat the thistle seeds, they sang and flapped their wings to Papa Giorgio in thankfulness.

Papa Giorgio watched the birds for a long time, the gold of their feathers made him think of the coming daffodils and the yellow crocuses of spring.  Winter would soon fade away as Lady Spring found her way to the village.  How wonderful to see all the golden birds, like little sun children.  As Papa Giorgio watched, he started to get sleepy, and his eyes gently closed…..

When he woke up, the sun was setting!  All the net bags were empty!  ‘Oh my, those hundreds of hungry birds certainly enjoyed their Valentine’s day meal!’

Papa Giorgio went outside to take the empty bags down….and much to his surprise he saw, on the ground, golden feathers in the shape of a heart!  The golden finches had left him a Valentine too!

The End

Story Activity

Thistle Seed Bird Feeders

I remember when I was growing up, our yard always had bird feeders for different kinds of birds, each with specialized feed.  We put out thistle seed net bags in late winter, and watched as they drew in the gold finches and siskins, which also have gold in their coloring.

Imagine harvesting thistle in Africa, to feed all these birds.  I always liked to think of these millions of tiny, tiny black seeds becoming the bird’s valentines when we put them out on Feb. 14th!

Check your hardware, grocery, or wild bird shop to find the  thistle seed and net bags perfect for little bird feet to grab hold of as they peck out the delicious winter seed.

They attract many many birds very quickly, a true joy for children to watch.  We loved using binoculars to see the golden  birds, early harbingers of spring sun!

Happy Valentine Bird Day!   And don’t forget to give them fresh water!

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