So, instead of waiting to reveal the tale of the Storm Moon, I have decided to post it early in case anyone else wants to use it. I am doing this with some serious faith in the blogging/reading community. Please understand that this story is mine, and it took time to write.
If you use this, please leave a comment on this post telling me how it worked. I would strongly prefer that you only repost a portion of the tale, and link back here so that your readers can get the full version.
If you repost without credit or claim this as your own tale, I will probably get incredibly pissed off, send some strong words, and perhaps do some retribution work – though the first two are not too severe, retribution work is nothing to take lightly. Again, I am trusting you to be respectful of me as an artist and a fellow Pagan.
A note on Age Range: Though my children are 4 and 6, I believe this tale is good for any and all ages, even adults!
There once were two young children, a brother and sister, named Bran and Bryn. They lived at the edge of a forest with their mother and father, and two cats. Every winter, the snow fell and covered their garden and the floor of the forest. Their mother would keep them inside near the hearth, warm and cuddled in their soft blankets. When the Sun whispered to their mother that Spring would soon arrive, she would unwrap the children and shoo them outside to play in the melting snow.
One night, the night of the Full Moon, Bran and Bryn peeked out their window. The white ground glittered silver in the moonlight. The children looked at each other, smiles on their faces. Bran grabbed their cloaks from the cupboard – light blue for himself, and violet for his sister – and they snuck out the front door of their house. They were careful not to make a sound, save for their feet crunching the snow, until they reached the edge of the forest.
“We’ll be able to find our way back by our footsteps in the snow.” Bran said, grabbing his sister’s hand. They both looked at their house, the windows glowing with the light from the fire, dark smoke escaping the chimney into the sky. “We won’t be gone very long, Bryn. I promise.”
“Alright, brother.” Bryn nodded. They walked, hand in hand, into the trees, soon losing sight of the comforting warmth of home, their mother’s soft humming, their father’s knife against a piece of wood, the glowing of their hearthfire. Their path was lined with many different types of trees – Bran and Bryn named some of them:
“Rowan – the ones with the bright red berries; cherry Laurel – the ones with the blue-black berries; and Cedar – smell that? Momma said the Cedar tree is the Ancestor Tree.” They giggled as they skipped along in the snow, passed the trees, to a clearing.
At the center of the clearing was a deep well that froze every winter – they had to collect their water for the season before the first freeze, or else spend an entire day traveling to the river to the south. Beside the well there sat a hunched figure in a grey cloak. Bran and Bryn approached the figure with caution.
“Excuse me, are you lost?” Bryn asked, reaching out to touch the figures shoulder. It shook, sending bits of snow all over the place.
“I am right where I need to be, but my sisters are nowhere to be seen.” The person under the cloak was a woman! Bran and Bryn looked at each other, knowing how it felt to be separated from your sibling. “If you help me find them, I will give you a gift.” The woman held out a pale hand and uncurled her fingers – a single purple primrose bloom sat in the center of her palm.
“We will help you find your sisters, ma’am, but may we know your name in case they question?” Bran said. The woman under the cloak stirred and lifted the hood away from her head. Golden hair, the color of the flames, glimmered in the moonlight.
“I am Brigid of the Well. My sisters are Diana, the free-spirited huntress, she is accompanied by a Stag; Arianrhod, my wise sister, carries a Silver Wheel and is accompanied by an Owl; and finally, Selene, who is riding a white horse and carries a torch. They often get lost on nights such as this, when the Moon is high above and full in Her glory.” She held her other hand out and produced a clear crystal. “Should you need any assistance, take this and I will be with you.” She handed the crystal to Bryn, who placed it in her cloak pocket.
Bran and Bryn could not stop staring at the woman – she was bright as flame, and she gave off a warmth that melted the snow down to the brown earth beneath.
“We will find your sister, Lady Brigid.” Bryn said, leading Bran away. They continued down the path, away from the well, through the thick trees. Their father had taken them hunting many times in the forest, and had taught them the different animal paths, their tracks, and special landmarks to help them remember where they were going.
As their path twisted and turned, they lost the light of the Moon behind dark storm clouds. Bran shivered.
“It will surely begin to snow, sister. Should we not turn back?”
“We promised Lady Brigid that we would find her sisters. We should at least try.” Bryn looked around the forest, but could not see any sign of the sisters. “Do you think they are very far away?”
“For all we know, sister, they do not exist. That woman could have been a hag in disguise!”
“Doubtful, brother. She was too bright and warm to be a hag.” Bryn smiled at Bran, though he could not see her face in the darkness. Just then, the snap of twig startled them. They searched the trees on either side of the path and saw a strange shadow looming between two trees. From the darkness of the shadow drifted a soft voice.
“Who are you? What do you seek?”
“We seek Diana, sister of Brigid of the Well. She sent us to find her and her other sisters.” Bryn whispered. She huddled close to her brother. The shadow moved, and a young maiden stepped away from the trees.
“You are in luck, for I am Diana.” She had brown hair streaked with silver, a quiver on her back, and a bow in one hand, the other rested on the neck of a Stag. “I do not know where my other sisters are, but I will help you find them. Should we get lost, take this arrow. It will lead you to me, no matter where you are.” She handed the arrow to Bran, who placed it in one of his belt loops.
Bran and Bryn continued down the path, and Diana followed. She sent her Stag away into the trees, to help alert them of any dangers. The clouds overhead darkened, casting the forest in an eerie and foreboding darkness the farther they walked.
As they rounded a corner in the path, they came across a large white owl in the middle of the path. It stood taller than the children, and had a silver wheel on a chain around its neck. Bran and Bryn shrieked and jumped back, and in the time it took them to blink, the owl was gone and a woman stood before them. She smiled at them, and then greeted Diana with a warm laugh.
“I am Arianrhod, and I see that Brigid has sent you brave children to find us. I am grateful for your service. Selene is still lost, and she is with child this night, soon to give birth. We must hurry to find her, before the heavy snow falls and hides her forever.” Arianrhod turned away from the children and began walking down the path. They followed her, running to catch up, Bran to her left and Bryn to her right.
“My Lady Arianrhod, how did you chase that giant owl away so quickly?” Bran asked. The woman laughed and ruffled his hair.
“Dear one, I did not chase it away. I am the Owl. You see,” she stopped and kneeled on the ground in front of Bran, “I was given the gift to change into the Owl whenever I need to. It makes travel much easier.” She removed an Owl shaped stone from her dress pocket – it glowed even though the light was so thin in the forest. She placed it around Bran’s neck. “Take this stone, and know that the wisdom of the Owl is always with you – it will help you find answers when no answers seem possible.”
The group continued on down the path in quiet. Soon, small flakes of snow began to fall from the sky. Diana and Arianrhod seemed not to notice, but Bran and Bryn felt the weight of the snow building on their shoulders. They shook the piles of snow onto the ground and looked around. They could barely see what was in front of them at this point, the snowfall had turned from light to medium in a matter of minutes. Just as they thought they would not find the last sister before she was buried in the snow, there was a break in the storm and they saw a white horse.
“Excuse me, are you the Lady Selene?” Bryn called. The woman turned away from her horse, and Bryn was surprised by her face. Selene was not a woman, not like her mother was at least – she was much younger, with a round face and blue eyes like the river. She held her belly, which was round like the Full Moon being hidden by the snow clouds. “If you are, your sister Brigid sent us to find you.”
“I am Selene, dear girl. Come here and help me.” She lifted her hand from her belly and beckoned Bryn over. “Here, take this torch. It will help you find your way in the darkness.” Bryn took the torch and held Selene’s hand as they walked back to the group.
“I fear this storm will stop us before we reach Brigid.” Diana looked at the sky.
“We must hurry, then, sisters. These brave children need to be home with their mother and father before the snow covers the world.” Arianrhod took Bran by the hand and began walking back toward the clearing with the well. Selene followed, her hand wrapped around Bryn’s.
The wind howled down the path, chasing the group like a pack of wolves – it hit them, with wet snow and biting chill. White covered their vision, and Bran let go of Arianrhod’s hand; Bryn lost Selene in the flurry, but found her brother huddled next to a Cedar tree. She sat down next to him wrapped her cloak around his body. They both held the clear crystal Brigid had given them, and tried to remember her bright hair and how she seemed to melt the snow around her, but they could not keep their eyes open. The cold snow looked like a warm blanket, and they were so tired from their adventure that they both fell asleep.
In their dreams, they saw Brigid appear, her flaming hair melting the snow, her warm smile wrapping around them like their mother had wrapped their blankets around them. She lifted both of the children from the ground and carried them to their home.
Brigid laid Bran and Bryn on the worn carpet in front of the fire, and kissed their foreheads, taking away the frost that had begun to take root in their bones.
“Thank you, my brave children. You have received many gifts this night, keep them close at all times for we are never too far.” She stood and placed the purple primrose flower between them, on the stone of the hearth. She removed her grey cloak and covered the children with it like a blanket. “Sleep well, children.” Bryn opened her eyes at that moment, and saw through the haze of sleep, that the fiery haired woman walked out into the snow without any covering. The door closed, and so did Bryn’s eyes. She dreamt of Spring, and how she and her brother would plant purple primrose around the well once the ground had thawed.