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EASTER STORIES -- 1

Fires in the Hills

As their covered wagon creaked and bumped across the great flat Texas prairie, the Deutsch family had been seeing the Indians for days.

Hans sat by his father's side, held the rifle as his father drove the horses east, and kept his eyes on the distant horizon.

Hans could barely see them, but the Indians always seemed to be there, following the Deutsch familt. Hans was afraid. The Deutsches knew they would have no chance if the strong Indians attacked with their bows and fiery arrows. But the attack never came, and the Deutsch wagon arrived at Fredericksburg, Texas, the evening before Easter.

Fredericksburg was surrounded by low hills, and that first night, the Indians lit campfires on the rim of those hills. A woman from a neighboring cabin brought soup to warm the new arrivals.

"When will the Indians attack?" Hans asked her.

"What Indians?" the woman asked.

"You can see their fires," Hans said, his teeth chattering with fear.

"Indians?" the woman repeated, and she smiled. "No. Tomorrow is Easter. Those fires are made by the Easter rabbits. They're heating kettles of dye in order to color their eggs. Before the sun rises, they'll leave the eggs among the flowers throughout the hills."

Because he wanted to, Hans believed the story. But the fact is that every Easter Eve since then, "rabbit fires" have been seen in the hills surrounding the town of Fredericksburg.

The Horned Beast

It was Easter morning and rabbit had overslept. The sun was already up, but he had not yet hidden the eggs that everyone would be looking for, under the flowers on the hill. Rabbit was being paid two bushels of clover, and he had not even gone to the hens to collect the eggs.

"There goes my clover," Rabbit thought unhappily. He crawled along his little tunnel as quickly as possible, and in a moment popped his head out of his hole. On the grass beside him was the shadow of his long ears.

"My goodness," he gasped. "They've sent a hirned beast after me!"

Shaking with fear, Rabbit jumped out of his hole and began running. He ran and ran; around the bushes and trees, under fences, and through a stream. But everywhere he went the "horned beast" followed him.

At last, exhausted, Rabbit ducked into a hollow log where, naturally, the sun could not shine on him. There he could no longer see the "horns," and, believeing himself safe from the beast that was chasing him, Rabbit promised himself he would never again oversleep on Easter morning!

And he never has!

Lobo

In a city called the Vatican, there is a great cathedral named St. Peter's. It is a marvelous place where priests come from all over the world, in order to serve their God.

A very poor man who had nowhere else to live was taken in by one of the most important of these priests, and given a job as gardener. He worked very hard, but living among all those important men, he felt unworthy of this wonderful city. His name was Lobo.

Every day, Lobo left the Vatican with baskets of fruit and bags of bread for the poor. His heart broke to see how many starving people there were.

It was right before Easter, and all the priests were busy preparing for the great day, writing new hymns, composing sermons, and growing Easter lilies. Lobo wondered what he could possibly do to thank God for his good fortune.

Suddenly an idea came to him.

Lobo asked permission to use the kitchen. "I want to bake for the poor," he said. For three days he baked. When the priests saw the bread they were very impressed. "Why, it looks like someone with his arms folded, as in prayer," someone said. "But it needs salt."

So Lobo added salt. It was just the thing! And the bread Lobo baked---why, we call it a pretzel!

Twas The Day Before Easter
by Tammy Fuller

Twas the day before Easter and all through the woods,
The bunnies were busy packing their goods.
The eggs were all colored so pretty and bright,
All things were "go" for the big, special night.
The baskets were waiting, all decorated with care,
In hopes that the Bunny soon would be there.
My little brother Sam was asleep in his bed,
While visions of Easter eggs rolled round his head.
And I in my pajamas with the cat on my lap,
I had just settled down for a quick little nap.
When outside the window I heard a great noise,
I sprang from my chair and jumped over some toys.
As quick as a flash to the window I flew,
I pulled up the shade and, OH, what a view.
The moon on the meadow cast a bright golden glow
And the wind blew the flowers to and then fro.
Then all of a sudden from out of nowhere,
Came some lively bunnies, hopping here, hopping there!
Leading the group with ears long and funny
Was a plump, all-white rabbit...
That's right... the EASTER BUNNY!
The bunnies hopped past, one, two, three, four,
The rabbit called out and then there were more.
"Come, Peter!, Come,Flopsy!, Come, Benny!, Come, Joe!
Now hop along! Hop along! Hop along! GO!"
So up on each doorstep the bunnies did hop,
With baskets of eggs. (Let's hope they don't drop)!
Just at that moment, on the porch down below,
Came the stomping of feet 'Twas the rabbit I know!
As I stepped from my window I heard a loud sound.
Through the door came the rabbit with a leap and a bound.
He was furry and soft from his head to his feet.
To see him so close was really quite neat.
He was surrounded by eggs that had been carefully dyed.
Easter eggs galore he soon would hide.
His eyes were all twinkles, His nose was so pink,
And I can't be too sure but I think he did wink.
He had a kind face and a big fluffy tail
That bobbed up and down like a boat with a sail.
A twitch of his nose and a flick of his ear
Was his way of saying "You've nothing to fear."
He uttered no sound as he hopped all about,,
Hiding the eggs and leaving no doubt.,
That the Easter bunny had come like he does every year...
Bringing baskets of happiness to children so dear.

The End

Grandmother's Easter Flame

"I am sorry you can't go with us tonight, Grandmother," Katina said. "I know that you love the Easter Eve church service." Katina's grandmother smiled at Katina. She patted her granddaughter's hand. "Don't worry, dear," she said. "I will probably be feeling better next Easter. Next year, I can go to church with everyone else. Now hurry along, dear."

Katina kissed her grandmother and ran to join her parents. Together they walked through the dark streets of the little Greek village. They called out greetings to the other people going to church. Katina felt excitement chewing at her stomach. The sadness of Lent was almost over. It would soo be time for happiness and fun.

Katina and her family entered the dark church and found their way to their seats. They could not see much, but they could hear the whispers and shuffling of their neighbors. The church was certainly full on this Easter Saturday night! Katina enjoyed the beautiful church service. She wished that her grandmother was sharing it with her.

The priest cried out, "Christ is risen!" Katina knew then that it must be midnight. Easter Sunday had begun.

Katina held her breath as the priest lit the gigantic Paschal candle which was over three meters high. This was the sign for everyone to pick up smaller candles brought from home. One by one, people lit their candles using the flame of the Paschal candle, until all the candles in the church were it. Katina shivered with delight as her candle flickered and danced. Its flame had been shared by all the people in the church!

Soon the whole church was aglow with candlelight. Katina could see the smiling faces of her friends and neighbors. She could see the blossoms that decorated the church. The singing began and Katina hoped that if she sang loudly enough, her grandmother would hear the Easter hymn from her bedroom.

When the service was over, Katina and her family left the church. Bells were ringing. Fireworks lit up the sky. Katina's parents stopped to talk to their friends, but Katina wanted to hurry home. She was the only one who had not blown out her candle. Her hand was cropped around the flame.

Her parents smiled at her. They seemed to know what she was going to do. "Be careful on your way," was all they said.

Katina walked slowly through the streets. She did not want the flame to go out. The Easter flame lit Katina's way through the village. It made her feet safe and warm inside.

Soon, she was standing in the doorway of her grandmother's room. "Wake up, Grandmother," Katina called softly.

"I am awake, dear," Katina's grandmother said. "You look like as Easter angel standing there in the candlelight. Thank you so much for bringing my Easter flame."

Katina placed the candle in the holder beside her grandmother's bed. As she bent over to kiss her grandmother, katina could see her tears of joy. Easter was truly here!

Timothy Bunny and The Egg Mystery

Timothy Bunny sniffed. Something smelled good. He hopped quietly over to the window and peeked out. There, on the lawn, he saw his two sisters and two brothers. He heard Amanda say, "Oh, that's too funny."

He wanted to go out too, but his mother said he could not. Timothy had been bad the day before. He had gone out in the rain to play and had gotten too wet and cold. Now he had the sniffles. And it was just before Easter too. "Easter will not be any fun," moaned Timothy.

"Timothy! What are you doing?' said Mother Bunny. Quickly Timothy hopped back to his bed. "Timothy, you have made your own punishment. You must stay home this Easter. You cannot help us give out the Easter eggs to the good girls and boys. Now stay in bed, and if you are good, maybe you too will get a surprise."

Two big tears had welled up in Timothy's two brown eyes. However, at the mention of a surprise, Timothy brushed them away and snuggled down to read a book while he waited. His eyes grew heavier and heavier. Soon he was too sleepy to keep them open any longer. Timothy began to dream....

He opened his eyes and looked around. "Why, this is the new Easter egg factory." Happily he looked down. "I'm sitting on top of a rainbow of eggs." Seeing two pretty browns ones below him, he reached down to pick them up. Then it happened! All the eggs began to move, and Timothy with them. Quick as a wink, he was spinning through space. Faster and faster he turned with ears flapping and paws kicking the air. Down, down, down, he went, and then....bump!

Timothy opened his eyes. He was on the floor and his mother and his two sisters and his two brothers were standing over him laughing.

"Surprise, surprise!" they all laughed, as Mother Bunny handed Timothy a package.

Timothy opened his present. Inside sat two pretty blue eggs. "Eggs don't smell like that," he whispered to himself. He took a bite. He took another bite. Chocolate! Timothy's cheeks pulled into a smile. "Thank you, Mother, for my two yummy surprises," he said happily.

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