By Kat Dyer
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mommy and daddy, her big brother Corwin and her beautiful cat named Starweaver. One day in April Meagan came home and found her mother and Nana making baskets. "What are you doing?", asked Meagan. "Well, soon it will be Beltaine", said her mother Elizabeth, "it's also known as May Day. A long time ago people would celebrate May Day by making baskets and filling them with flowers. Then they would take the baskets to the houses of friends, leave them on the porch, ring the bell and run and hide. Then the friends would have to guess who left them the baskets." Elizabeth's mother Nana nodded, "That's right, I used to get the most beautiful baskets from your late grandfather. I mentioned it to your mother and she thought that it would be a very fitting way to help celebrate Beltaine. Of course, I still can't keep all your holidays straight."
"Oh!" said Meagan excitedly, "I know! Beltaine is a fertile...fertul...fertility ritual!" "That's right," said Elizabeth, "and what else happens at Beltaine?" Meagan thought for a minute. "Hmmm. Oh! It's when the Goddess takes over the year again from the God and She starts dating the young God!" Elizabeth and Nana laughed. "Exactly right, my love," said her father Michael from the doorway. He was carrying a large basket full of beautiful flowers from the garden. "Were these what you wanted?" he asked Elizabeth. "Perfect!" she said smiling, "As soon as we finish up these baskets we can start filling them. Meagan, what else do you think we could put in them?" Meagan thought very hard. "I know!" she said, "We can put crystal and ribbons on the baskets and maybe some candy!"
Once Corwin got home everyone worked hard to finish making and decorating the baskets. They wrapped ribbons around the handles. They put soft grass and straw in the bottoms of the baskets. They put flowers and crystals and small presents in the baskets. Meagan made a basket for her best friend Cindy. Elizabeth made one for Cindy's mom Anna with herbs in it because Anna was an herbalist. They made a basket for Michael's parents, Gramma Lee and Granpa Scott. Gramma Lee and Granpa Scott were Christian and they wouldn't like hearing about the family celebrating Beltaine but they wouldn't mind having May Day baskets. "Is there anyone missing?" asked Corwin, "Look, there's one basket left over" They checked all the baskets but no one could think of anyone they had forgotten. Meagan remembered the old woman whose house she walked by everyday from school. "Mommy?" she asked, "Could we make one for that lady who lives on the corner?" Elizabeth hugged Meagan while Corwin looked surprised. "Oh Meagan," she said "I think that is a lovely idea! Mrs. Hanson has been all alone since her children moved away. Would you like to make it yourself?" Meagan nodded and got busy making a basket for the old woman who lived on the corner. She hadn't know the woman's name before. She hummed while she worked and hoped that Mrs. Hanson would like her surprise.
Soon it was May Day. Beltaine was on a Saturday this year and so they would be having Circle at their house that night. Meagan helped take the baskets around to her friends. But she saved Mrs. Hanson's basket for last. She crept up to the door, keeping low so that Mrs. Hanson wouldn't see her from the windows. She set the basket beside the door so that it wouldn't be knocked over when Mrs. Hanson opened the door. Meagan rang the doorbell and ran quickly to hide behind the bushes to wait. Mrs. Hanson opened the door. "Yes?" she said, "Who's there?" She looked puzzled and almost closed the door when she spied the basket on her porch. "Oh my!" she gasped, "A May Day basket!" Mrs. Hanson took the basket and sat down with it on the porch's rocker. She started crying. Meagan ran up to her. "I'm sorry!" she said, "I didn't mean to make you cry!" She was scared that she had hurt Mrs. Hanson's feelings. "You made this for me?" asked Mrs. Hanson, looking astonished. Meagan nodded, "My mommy was helping me make them for my friends and I thought that you would like one too. Mommy said that people used to do this all the time." Mrs. Hanson dried her eyes, "Your mommy is right. But I haven't had a May Day basket in a very long time. My children used to make them at school for me. I'm not upset with you dear, it's just that seeing this basket brought back many happy memories for me. I miss my children and grandchildren. They all live very far away and I don't get to see them very often."
Meagan gently put her hand on top of Mrs. Hanson's hand. "Would it make you feel better if I came to visit you once in awhile?" she asked. "Oh," said Mrs. Hanson, "you don't have to do that child, but if you decide you want to, I'll try to have some cookies ready for you when you come. So long as it's alright with your parents. If you really want to come by sometimes have them give me a call and let me know that it's okay for you to come." "Okay," said Meagan, "I'd better get back home now but I'll have mommy or daddy call you". Meagan waved to her new friend as she ran back home. She told her parents about what Mrs. Hanson had said. They called Cindy's mom Anna and talked to her for a while. Then they called Mrs. Hanson and talked to _her_ for a while. They told Corwin and Meagan that they were allowed to go visit Mrs.Hanson anytime they wanted on the way home from school so long as they didn't stay more than 15 minutes. Then they said that they could also visit her at other times so long as they told one of the grownups in the house where they were going and called when they got there. Just like they had to do whenever they went to visit friends. Meagan found out that Cindy had been given permission to visit Mrs. Hanson too. She was excited about sharing cookies with her new friend and her best friend.
Soon it was time to decorate the altar for Beltaine. Meagan was excited. They had made a May Pole with ribbons to dance around. There was also a fire pit dug in the Circle area. "What's that for?" she asked the High Priest Jeremy. "Back in the old days people used to run the cattle between two fires on Beltaine to make them fertile and help the herd increase. They would also jump over the Beltaine fire for luck. We don't have any cattle to make fertile but some of us will jump the fire for luck tonight. You're still too small to jump by yourself but we can pass you over the fire by putting you in a chair carry just like we will for Gwennie. You know that she's pregnant and we don't want to take the chance of her falling in the fire." Meagan nodded. She was very excited. So was Corwin. He was still too young to jump completely by himself but Michael said that he could jump just holding arms with Michael and one of the other men. Meagan smiled to herself as she put a flower circlet on her head and got ready for Circle to begin.
After Circle was over Meagan was very tired. She had had a busy day. Meagan kissed her parents and brother good night and looked for Starweaver. "Mommy! I can't find Starweaver" she said. Meagan's parents smiled at each other. "Don't worry dear," said Michael, "Beltaine is a time of fertility and Star must be helping out. You'll understand when you're older." Meagan stomped up the stairs. "I hate it when they say that" she thought. But she still smiled when she thought about what fun she had had dancing around the May Pole. She climbed into bed and snuggled down. It had been a good day.
(Click here to see the page that I got the story "Meagan's Beltane" from.