The Miracle of the Forgotten Pines
stood out in stark contrast to the vital wooded area that surrounded
them, two twisted and gnarled remnants of what were once tall and
beautiful Norwegian Pines. Two trees that had grown up side by side
now rose barren and weather worn toward the bleak December sky like
bony fingers forming a great dead “V” against the living forest around
it. No one living, except, perhaps, the Trolls and other ancients,
knew when the trees had perished in a wondrous storm that had once upon
a time flashed through this quiet isolated area of Norway’s vast
forested lands. Seedlings at that era now scraped the sky and the few
remaining ‘Elder’ Trees could recall the two seedlings that had grown
up less than a meter apart. Their intertwined branches had served to
support each other through weather and trauma so that except for an
unnatural bend in the tree on the right (while looking at them toward
the South) that chinked over about a half meter than back up toward the
sky, the trees grew straight and true. The left tree was thinner and
sparser than its brother but the combination of the two with their
contrasting greens, yellows and browns formed a handsome and memorable
site for the beings that passed along the simple animal path a few
meters North of them. The twin trees provided rich cones and solid
branches for the creatures of the area. Nests, from time to time,
adorned their boughs and during the winter the frosty snow and ice
decorated them in a sparkling raiment of crystals and light. So
favored were this pair of trees that even the Aurora’s of the skies
left their colors on their sturdy forms.
bolt that struck without warning that stormy night sheered exactly
between the two trees sundering the branches that held them close. So
great was the power that trunk and limb exploded as both trees died in
an instant. The surging electricity fused sap and vaporized vital
liquids as it sought the refuge of the ground below. In an flash all
had vanished but a few meters of each tree that stood smoldering
against the remaining forest. The blasts impact vibrated the trees
deep into their roots loosening soil and rock and pushing the trees
apart until both seemed to lean in desperation from the blast. In mere
micro seconds only two butchered and charred trunks remained looking
like a great bleak ‘V’ driven into the ground point first.
and weather completed the final shaping and devastation of the trees
wearing away the remaining branch stubs and most of the bark. Even the
most of the charred surface wore away in the face of the ever changing
seasons. Around them the grasses and flowers sprouted, lived and died
as the cycle of life continued its constantly evolving spiral.
Surprisingly, however, no trees sprang up to replace the decimated
while animals and other creatures viewed the site as a monument to the
power of the gods and nature. Even Trolls came to pay homage to what
once was but gradually over the decades the visitors thinned until only
a warren of hares lived beneath the tree and an old owl could be found
perched on the highest thin arm of the left trunk. The monument became
a forgotten remnant of the past suitable now for chopping into perhaps
several ‘perfect’ Yule logs.
forest creatures were only slightly startled at the deep sound of
crunching snow that echoed through the air that icy Yule’s eve.
Whatever was approaching made no effort to conceal its advance and to
the relief of all the smells and lack of other noises declared that it
was not human so after some natural concerns the animals returned to
the evening’s pursuits.
like around the world, the children of all beings were at rest while
parents scrambled to welcome in the solstice that marked the
traditional turning of Nature’s tide to life and light. Most, in their
celebrations, would recall a child who tradition says was born this
night centuries before. In the animal kingdom even the most voracious
of predators refrained from unnecessary violence during this short
respite and for a moment there was truly peace on earth.
‘word’ spread quickly that a lone Troll accompanied by a medium sized
Fox were moving toward the two old trees. The unusual fact that anyone
was out on this of all nights brought the inquisitive out to peak while
others watched from perch and burrow as the two passed them by. A few
hardier critters followed their natural curiosity and trailed after the
pair eager to see what was in the bundle the old Troll was carrying.
Even a few older ‘children’, aroused by their parent’s initial
distress, worked up the nerve to pursue these mysterious visitors.
Old Troll did indeed walk directly to the site where the two barren
trunks glistened in the sporadic moonlight that managed to break
through the clouds which foretold the immanent arrival of a large
“Hello Old Ones.” he said with a stiff bow toward the cold dead trunks. “I have brought you a gift.”
‘chatter’ of surprise rippled through the animals as they gathered in a
circle around the ‘forgotten’ trees. Beneath them the family of hares
spilled out as they became aware of the unique circumstances growing
around them. Everyone wondered what kind of ‘gift’ a Troll would
bring to a pair of dead trees.
Troll looked up from his bundle and for the first time seemed to notice
the congregation of animals that now surrounded him. His gentle
chuckle startled some of the younger creatures who had never heard a
“You could have warned me.” he said looking down at the fox.
The Fox simply grinned and stuck his tongue out briefly touching the tip of his white snout before pulling it back quickly.
Troll shook his head and began to unwrap the bundle. “I suppose you
are all curious.” he said softening his voice conspiratorially. “It is
a gift to these old trees. They have been forgotten and it is my hope
that this will bring them a little peace and restore some of their
Inside the bundle was a meter long large chunk of rough, splinter laden wood.
A ripple of disappointment rumbled through the critters great and small that now were watching each move intently.
a smile, the Troll picked up the wood and turned it to face the
‘audience’. At first the surface seemed to be coated with red and
white colors that blended together in a blur but as the motion stopped
the paint focused into a fully bearded face that looked out at the
animals. The head was surrounded by a fluffy white beard and full
curls of long white hair that might have been the bottom of a red
pointed cap that extended to the slightly pointed top of the chunk of
wood. The nose was two simple lines painted in a wedge shape while the
eyes were simple black dots that somehow seemed to look out at the
lookers. At the bottom to the left of the beard a circle of red and
yellow circles with some green dots thrown in.
“It’s a Nissan.” said the Troll with a sheepish grin. “And that is a flower.”
animals nodded their understanding and as they looked it became clearer
what the picture was. It seemed that the painting almost had a magical
quality that began to bring feelings of recognition and trust to the
animals. The watched silently as the Troll used a length of homespun
rugged rope to tie the picture bedecked wood between the two trunks so
the face looked toward the North. No one wondered how the Troll
somehow reached up and tied the art piece on a branch a meter higher
than he could reach.
he stepped back a gentle gust set the artwork in motion letting it
swing gently between the tree trunks. As it swung lazily in place a
moonbeam seemed to break through the clouds and the face lit up like
magic. The animals woofed, hooted, squeaked and growled in
appreciation of the unusual sight. Even the Troll and the Fox took a
step or two back to get a better view.
noise gradually subsided as the snow began to drift down in sparkling
wisps that fell in lazy spirals toward the ground. Somehow a small
hole remained in the clouds allowing the moon’s light to illuminate the
trunks and the picture that hung between.
“Cones.” said an old hare softly. “Get cones!”
of the smaller hares seemed to scatter into the forest. In minutes
they began to return carrying or dragging a variety of pine cones
dropped by nearby trees.
Troll smiled and from his pocket pulled a half meter remnant of the old
rope he had used to hang the painting. With a deftness that belied his
appearance he untwined the piece to create over a score of strands with
which he tied a selection of the best pine cones to the tree using
various cracks and stubs that remained on the twisted form.
other animals grasped the idea and several of them scattered to their
hidden warrens, holes, nests and caches. An almost palpable excitement
began to permeate the air as one by one someone returned with a
‘cherished’ treasure they wanted to place on the trees.
old badger appeared half carrying half dragging an old black metal
lantern the glass surprisingly intact. A black bear brought a second
lantern whose filigree of thick coppery vines also held an unbroken
glass shell as well. These were hung from the rope on either side of
the artwork. Again no one wondered how the meter and a half tall Troll
reached the rope that hung over two and a half meters above the
hawk flew up with a long piece of golden ribbon in his beak. With
almost miraculous accuracy the ribbon swirled down and catching on the
top wrapped itself down the trunk of the right tree. A bright green
length of yarn brought by a family of racoons was quickly wrapped
around the other trunk to the delight of all.
the Troll backed up after putting up the yarn three squirrels ran up
their cheeks puffed full. When they arrived at the Troll’s feet the
disgorged a handful of smooth shiny rocks that seemed to glisten even
in the dim light. With a smile the old Troll directed the squirrels to
place the stones along the dried cracks and small edges up and down the
furry little critters seemed to come alive as they scampered around the
ancient wood experiencing a joy brought on by the giving and sharing of
the squirrels, joined by a pair of chipmunks, finished the trees began
to glisten a little brighter in the midst of the snow crystals which
also caught the limited yet phantasmal light that seemed to gravitate
toward the trunks.
Troll once again stepped back giving everyone a chance to view the
decorated trunks and soon an almost perfect circle of animals
surrounded the Yuletide bedecked trees. For several minutes the only
sound was the gentle breathing of a scores of animals encircling the
ancient landmark. The silent falling snow glistened and sparkled
reflecting in the eyes of the watchers as many, for the first time,
beheld the majesty these great trees once had. Even the predators
were still as they lay beside their usual quarry.
at the animalistic veneration of the great trees the old Troll looked
skyward and made a simple sweeping motion with his long arms turning in
a slow circle as he did. To the great surprise of all but a few the
clouds parted revealing a starry sky painted by the wondrous lights of
the North. Streaks of blue, green and red rolled and flowed across the
magical opening in the clouds. In their own ways each animal oood and
awed at the natural pyrotechnics that played above them. Even the Fox
barked and yipped joyously at the production his companion and friend
other than the Fox, noticed the Troll wave his hand once again only
this time the sweeping motion drew downward toward the trees. From
some angles it appeared that the colors or the aurora followed the
motion like a gentle brush stroke until the colors touched then flowed
over the trees into the chunks of crystal that peppered the noble
remnants. As the crystals absorbed the light they began to shine like
hundreds of miniature candles.
animals were taken aback by the spectacular miracle as the trees aura
expanded until the light encompassed the throng. Above them the hole
closed and the snow began to swirl thick and freely around the trees
until the animals could not see anything save the resplendence of the
lights reflected within the swirl.
a collective gasp escaped all but a few voices as it appeared as if the
lights were rising higher and higher into the sky. The aura seemed to
increase as did the snow’s swirl until it expanded to the outer edge of
the circle of creatures. Many of the critters were so startled by this
rapid change that they instinctively ducked or cowered on the ground.
Only a handful of stalwarts were still watching when the snowy
pandemonium abruptly stopped and rose rapidly into the sky to disappear
into the clouds. As their ability to focus engaged they could not
believe their eyes for standing before them in all their decorated
glory were the two trees just as they had appeared so many years
before. Ribbons, yarns and lights covered the branches as did scores
of silver pine cones. Hanging half way up on two of the intertwined
branches was the hand painted picture the Troll had placed between the
silence that ensued was broken only by the gentle puff of the
snowflakes as they fell to the earth. The Troll looked over and
winked at the Fox who grinned back broadly before turning his full
attention to the pair of great pines bedecked in the full glory of the
old Badger suddenly snorted and clicked out the fact that he had to go
get his family to see this miracle. Other animals thought of friends
and loved ones they wanted to share this with and within moments the
aura of light that shown out from the tree was all but empty.
“Will the ancients stay that way?” Asked the Fox softly as he moved closer to his friend.
depends on how long they remember that sometimes something or someone
that is considered ugly or barren can become beautiful and wondrous if
groups like this work together as we did this night.” replied the old
Troll with a wise grin.
The two stood in silence for several minutes basking in the light of one another’s company.
“You did a good thing here.” said the Fox as the Troll turned to leave.
“I had help from above.” said the Troll looking toward the overcast sky. “And with that one can never fail.”
several moments the Fox raised his eyes heavenward his heart and mind
bursting with curiosity and gratitude. Unexpectedly his eyes and ears
both shot up as his own understanding became clear. With a happy bark
he hurried off after his friend who was already almost out of sight.
Behind them the trees glowed bright and clear as they welcomed in the
beginning of the blessed Yule day.
Blessed Yule to all of you!
~ Lady Majyk Whispering-Owl ~