he little rabbit yawned wide as he looked out from his burrow at the morning Sun on the grass. His brothers and sisters crowded behind him, impatient for him to go outside.
h, do get out of the way, Fluff," said one of his sisters, pushing against him. "You always just sit around and look at everything. We're hungry."
s Fluff hopped out into the spring sunshine, his brothers and sisters rushed past him and began to scamper about, eating the tender new grass. Fluff nibbled a few leaves, but he was more interested in the strange bright colors he saw among the grass stems over by the edge of the meadow. No one saw him hop away to find out what grass grew in such wonderful colors near the trees.
hat strange grass is this?" Fluff said as he smelled the brightly colored plants. "And why doesn't my family eat it?"
t isn't grass, little rabbit, but flowers." The soft, gentle voice startled Fluff, and he jumped back, then looked to see who was speaking.
beautiful young woman stood smiling at him. Around her head was a crown made of flowers. Her eyes were the deep blue of the sky just after the sun went down, her hair a rich brown like the leaves left on the oak trees. Fluff could see her bare toes under the edge of her long white gown. In one hand she carried a basket woven out of willow limbs.
ho are you?" he asked, "You aren't a rabbit."
he lady laughed, and the laughter made Fluff feel safe and warm. "No, Fluff, I am not a rabbit. I am the Spring Maiden. At this time of year I walk through the forests and meadows, calling to the flowers and plants and trees to drink in the rich sunshine and grow faster. The birds and animals hear me also and begin to plan their nests and soft burrows for the babies who will soon be born." The lady smiled af\gain. "Do you like my flowers?" She pointed at the bright plants peeping through the grass.
o these are flowers," Fluff said as he smelled them. "They are very beautiful, but not as beautiful as you are, Spring Maiden."
he rabbit jumped back as a small boy timidly peeked out from behind the Spring Maiden. A bright light shone around the boy, so bright that Fluff blinked his eyes.
he Spring Maiden put her hand on the boy's shoulder. "This is the little Sun King," she told Fluff. "I am teaching him about the plants and animals, and the turning seasons of the year, so he will be a wise ruler of the Earth and all its inhabitants."
an we take Fluff with us, Lady?" the boy asked, looking up at the Spring Maiden.
es," she answered with a smile. "Fluff will help humans remember the importance of this season."
hy do we have to remind humans?" the Sun King asked as he knelt down to pet Fluff. "They should remember."
he grownups get too busy with other things," answered the Spring Maiden, "So we leave special gifts for the children. When the grownups see the gifts, they remember that the Goddess loves all Her creatures and creations and cares for them."
luff left the meadow with the Spring Maiden and the Sun King, hopping along through the new grass and spring flowers. Everywhere they went in the forests and meadows and along the streams, they blessed all the animals and plants and the Earth herself. At last they came to the first houses Fluff had ever seen. There were children playing around the houses.
he Spring Maiden reached into her willow basket and took out a bright red egg. "This egg is a symbol of hope and new life," she said as she placed it into the Sun King's hand. "Animals and plants always know that the Goddess cares for them, that She always makes spring follow winter and good times follow the bad times. Humans forget and need to be reminded."
remember," the Sun King said softly. "No life ever really ends. It is always reborn, just as I was."
he Spring Maiden took the Sun King's hand and, with Fluff hopping beside them, went out to greet the children. They gave each child a red egg and a spring flower from the Lady's basket. The children all petted Fluff and called him a messenger from the Goddess. As they walked away, Fluff heard the children calling to their parents.
other! Father! Look what the beautiful Lady and a shining boy gave us! And we got to pet the Goddess' special rabbit messenger!"
s it Spring Equinox already?" The father looked toward the forest where the Lady stood with Fluff at her feet. He took off his hat and bowed his head for a moment. "Thank you, Spring Maiden," he called. "Bless this house and all those who live here. We remember the ancient symbol of renewing life and hope."
he Spring Maiden smiled, and all the colors of the plants and trees and even the little house seemed brighter to Fluff. The Sun King waved to the children, and the Sun shone warmer and everything seemed to grow a little more.
ll day the Spring Maiden and the Sun King went about the world, leaving the red eggs and spring flowers. They blessed everything and everyone, and Fluff went with them. As the Sun began to set, and the sky darken with the coming night, Fluff realized he was very tired and sleepy.
ear little rabbit, you have been so wonderful to help us," the Lady said, as she knelt to rub Fluff's ears. I will take you back to your meadow now, if you wish."
would rather stay with you, and with the Sun King," Fluff answered. "But I am only a rabbit and really not important, I know. Even though the children all called me a messenger of the Goddess."
ut you are special, Fluff" said the Sun King as he gathered the rabbit into his arms. "Dont' you know that everything in this world is important to me and to my Mother? And you are very special because you have so much yet to do. I will keep you with me always, Fluff." Fluff snuggled down in the Sun King's arms and yawned. "Some people don't believe in the Goddess or in me anymore. But even though their minds say it is all superstition and nonsense, their hearts and souls will remember the truth. And every spring when they see you, they will remember to celebrate the joy of renewing life and the ancient truth that my Mother and I will always love and care for them."
ear Fluff, come and live with us in the Sacred Grove." The Spring Maiden smiled when Fluff nodded that he would.
he Goddess gave a special blessing to the rabbit, so that he could remain the friend and companion of Her son, the Sun King. Fluff and the Sun King are born together, grow up together, die at the same time, and are reborn together.
luff still lives in the Sacred Grove, and each spring he goes through the world with the Spring Maiden and the Sun King, reminding the people and animals and plants that there is always hope and new life. They carry their gifts of the special colored eggs and spring flowers to all the children. The children still love Fluff and call him the messenger of the Goddess.