I can't remember if the competition ended starting today or if it ends at midnight tonight. I have a story to post, and if it's too late, that's ok. Here it is anyway for your holefully enjoyment.
A Halloween to Remember
I woke up on October 31 feeling excited. I couldn't wait for the evening! I was 24 years old, but I still loved this day. I feel like screaming "Halloween apples!" as soon as I wake up on this day every year. I went into the kitchen to brew up some morning java. I was dying for a cup so I filled the coffeemaker with coffee and water and flicked the switch. The coffee began to make that lovely dripping sound it makes when it's going to taste great. I went to the fridge to check on the bags of apples I had purchased for the children. They were red delicious apples and I had bought 3 10 lb bags of them. They looked red and so delicious I almost ate one but then remembered they weren't for me to eat. The coffee finished brewing and I poured myself a cup. It had never tasted so good! After the coffee, I put on my fall jacket and went out to my truck. I jumped in and started it then drove away. I drove until I came to a shopping mall. There was one thing I needed to buy, Halloween music! No 31st of October is complete without some scary music for to frighten everybody. I parked my truck, walked into the mall and found the music store. I went to the sound effects section and found the CD I wanted. It was called Spooky Sounds for Halloween. I noticed one odd thing. The cover on the CDs is supposed to have a picture of a frightened child clutching a bag of candy, but instead this cover had a picture of a forest and some strange people. There were words but I couldn't quite see them because they were too small to read. I shrugged, figuring the cover of a different CD had accidentally been put on this one copy. I went to the checkout counter and forked over $13.99. The salesman and I laughed about the funny cover and said I probably had a collector's item. I jumped in my truck and drove home.
At home, I put the disc on the table by the front door where my CD player is. I then found a large piece of cardboard and wrote on it in black marker:
"Please yell if you would like a treat. I do not answer ringing doorbells. Only yellers will receive."
I signed my name and affixed the sign to my front door. I love making kids yell. They love yelling, so why not?
It was Sunday, so I didn't have to work that day. I hate working om Halloween because the preparations are so important to me. I don't know why, it's been like that ever since I was a wee lad on my father's farm. I went to my room and dressed in my costume. I wore a long silk robe, a sort of wizard's hat, and farmer's boots. I couldn't decide if I wanted the boots. I thought going barefoot might be better so I tried it without the boots and liked it better. The working boots just didn't go with the silk robe and the hat. I had no need to paint my face. I hate makeup anyway. I set up my little stone altar which is part of my costume. I am pretending to be a druid this year. Every year I find a costume and really try to play the part. I had been practicing some Welsch words to try to sound convincingly druidic. They were really just normal words, but to a 5 year old I was sure they would sound terrifying because the poor child wouldn't know I was just saying good evening or whatever.
I practiced my words a bit more, chanting them to sound like a druid performing magic or something. I moved my hands around saying words in Welsch and thought I sounded pretty scary. I smiled at myself in my bathroom mirror and knew tonight would rock!
At 5:00 I opened my doors to the night. I was so pumped up I couldn't remember my own name. I was going to have a glorious night of scaring little kids, apologizing to their parents for scaring them and giving out cold, delicious apples. I pranced around in my druid robe and chanted spells as I waited for the first victim...oops I mean child....sorry. Seriously, I never hurt them. I only scare them and then apologize.
At 5:10 I heard a young voice scream "HALLOWEEN APPLES!".
I ran a couple steps and opened the door wide, chanting a spell at the poor child. He cowered in fear and backed away. I grinned at him, held out an apple and said in English, "Fear not little laddie, I'm just a harmless guy who likes Halloween as much as you do."
The boy looked at me for a second, then said, "Well, Mister, you sure scared me. Thanks."
"No problem, laddie," I said.
I grinned at him and closed the door.
I went on in this way for an hour. At 6, I was ready to start scaring the night with my music. I picked up the CD, unwrapped it, and put it in the player. I was a little afraid but shrugged that off. The CD seemed to take a loooooong time to load, but finally the display came up and said there were 99 tracks and 74 minutes and 20 seconds on the disc. I was afraid again to press play, but I did it anyway.
The instant I did, I heard a horrible screaming sound, felt thunder shaking the house, and then I heard a terrifying voice begin to chant in what I was positive was Welsch.
The voice screamed out the words, and I had a horrible image of a man moving his hands about deliberately in a spell. I tried to press stop, but my hands were frozen in fear. The chant increased in volume until it bounced off the walls. Finally, it fell into utter silence. I waited, paralyzed in fear for the calamity I expected...
A soft voice said into the silence "hello, Mike."
I jumped. My name is Mike. How did the voice know that?
I whirled and saw the loveliest creature I had ever known. He was tall, slim, slightly built and very beautiful. His hair was short and white, and his eyes were a soft green. He extended a hand and I took it. "That was my voice on the CD," he said. "I was the one chanting in elvish, not Welsch, and you were afraid. You shouldn't be afraid of Elves, laddie."
I stared at his outstretched hand in disbelief and mumbled something unintelligible. "What was that?" he asked, grinning at me.
"Um," I mumbled. "Um, good day...um good evening I mean...sorry my manners aren't working...sorry..."
"'Tis nothing to fret about, Laddie," he said jovially. "I have this effect on all those I meet. They are afraid then they are confused, then they are polite and give me apples and candy, then they ask me all about magic and druidry and trees and ancestors and Nature and all manner of things and then they ask for more and more and more knowledge. People are so hungry for knowledge they ask and ask and ask and ask and it's like they are children again when they meet me. So, young lad, sit yourself down on that chair yonder and let's have ourselves a night of learning and fun."
I sat down and waited expectantly.
"I will answer your door next," he said. "I will sing some verses in Elvish and really make the children happy. Halloween isn't about fear only you know. There's fun and laughter and bards get to sing verses and make merry and all that. Do you have any milk in your fridge? I am parched after that chant. Please may I have a glass?"
"Oh yes," I stammered. "Sorry Sir. I plum forgot my manners again."
I staggered over to the kitchen, unsteady with emotions I could not name. I clutched the carton of milk and thought to pour it in a tall glass for the thirsty elf.
I handed him the glass and he smiled at me so charmingly I almost fell over. "Thank you," he said and gulped down the milk faster than I could have.
Suddenly, we heard "HALLOWEEN APPLES!" shouted from outside. He Jumped up, skipped to the door and flung it open. What followed is permanently etched into my mind.
The elf sang so sweetly and so perfectly on key I almost died and went to Heaven. I have never, ever, ever heard such awesome music in my life and never will again. He sang the song and danced and the girl standing there just listened and watched and I saw her crying. The girl's mom stood there mutely, having expected me to be scary as I was usually every year. I knew them, they were my neighbours from down the street and me dancing and singing was not what they had expected. "Mike," the mother finally spoke in a tremulous voice. "Mikey is that you?"
"No" said the elf. "'Tis not Mikey. That laddie is in the livingroom listening. I am his elven guest. Here is an apple for thee and thy daughter." He produced two apples from his pocket, and I stared at them. They were golden and sparkly and filled with light somehow. The elf handed one to the little girl who took it and held it and stared at it in awe.
"From now on," said the elf. "Whenever Mikey plays his new CD, I will appear and set the world right. I am from the other world. I am a good elf and won't bother anybody. The veils are very thin right now, so this will probably only work at this time of year, but if you like I can be called any time. I just might not be able to get here if the veils are so thick. I know this is confusing you, sorry, I do tend to ramble. I am not crazy, do not be afraid."
The mother was backing away, hands held up in defence. I came to life then, unfrozen from my chair. I couldn't let my neighbour leave in fear and disgust from my home. "Hello, Mrs. Smith," I called.
She looked in and saw me. "Mike," she said. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," I said. "Just as flustered as you are by this um, creature. I think we are going to have to re-think our oppinions about magic Mrs. Smith. That CD did something..."
"Mommy," spoke up her daughter Hope. "I know magic is real because this apple I have is so lovely. A regular apple couldn't be so shiny and soft and crispy at the same time. What would happen if I took a bite, Wizard?"
The elf smiled and said, "You would be nurrished by the juices and lifted into the far reaches of delight by the flavour. Your dear ancestors would speak to you and you would remember all your happy times you ever had."
The child timidly took a bite before her mother could get out the warning words that would stop her. Hope's eyes widened in surprise and joy as the apple touched her mouth. "It is Dusty!" she cried in wonder. Dusty was their dearly departed kitty cat. "He's happy in the other lands. He's enjoying catnip and petting and mouse-chasing. He loves me and thinks about me every day. He says to not be sad anymore and there are other cats in this life who want to play with me!"
Mrs. Smith, emboldened by her daughter's words took a bite of her golden apple. "Oh, Hope," she said. "It's your grandmother. She says she is so happy in the otherworld. She is singing and telling stories and remembering me and you and your daddy and your brother. She is telling me that it was her time to leave this world last year and she is not sad where she is. Oh, Hope, what is happening? My grown-up's mind doesn't understand."
"All things come in circles, Mom," said the little girl. "The druids love the circles and they love the people who are gone to the otherworld. They are not sad and they love trees and animals and worship dirt. This elf here has come to show us magic and spells and sing us songs and give us lovely apples every year. The CD Mister Mike bought will call him each Halloween so we can learn more about ourselves and about being with Nature."
"That is correct," said the elf. "Your daughter will make a fine bard some day if she chooses that path."
We sat around chatting until 11:00 PM. The elf would answer the door, and more people would come in until the house was full of children and parents and the elf and I. We talked and ate golden apples and sang and made merry until we thought we would die of happiness. Big teenagers who thought they were immortal, little kids with light in their eyes, mothers, fathers, grandparents, everybody, all learned something that night. All learned that magic was real, druids were good people who didn't practice blood sacrifice, and elves were awesome! The elf never told anybody directly to become a druid. He said the word choose so often I started knowing what he would say. "If you choose this path", or "the path you have chosen is equally valid" or "Nobody should ever be forced to choose any path". He was so kind and gentle I knew it would all last but a night. At 11:00 he bid everybody good night and told all that he would return next year if I played the magic CD. When everybody left, he said to me "Make copies of that disc in your computer if you wish. You can give this magical Halloween gift to others. It will call an elf on this night for everybody. There are lots of us elves so that won't be a problem. I must go now, as I have to go to another place that is in another time zone. It is earlier there, and somebody there is about to press play."
With that, he vanished.
I have played that CD every Halloween since that day 10 years ago. Every year, elves visit our humble world and tell us stories, give us ancestral apples and we always make merry and enjoy every last minute until the elves must leave. I tried the CD at other times, but it only worked once. That was the day my own Grandmother died and I needed help dealing with grief. An elf appeared and sat with me all the long night telling me my dear Grandmommy was safe and happy in the otherworld, thinking of me and always loving me every second. I am blessed and honoured to have the elves visit me. I consider it a gift from Earth herself. I am studying druidry now, but I still do not know if it is my path. I might study magic instead. I am learning to love everybody of every religion and that is what matters most to me. When I see a sad person, I smile at him or her and say that there is always hope and a kind person in this world to help when times are hard. The sad person usually agrees with this.
Well, good day to all, I have enjoyed telling this tall tale to you all.
Copyright October 24, 2004 by GreenDruid.
This story is a combination of things. I thought it would be neat to have a magical CD, and somebody...think it was Branbeith suggested a story from my Mental picture of a Druid poem. Here is that story and thank you for reading it.