The 21st annual Winter Stories festival delighted children of all ages with stories, music, sing-alongs, and an incredible spread of cookies, candy, and hot chocolate. Over a hundred people braved the 66 degree heat wave (one of the most unseasonally warm days this year) to eat, drink, and be merry together, in what has become a marvelous holiday tradition.
The cold stories featured Dawna Neil telling “The Little Snow Child” from Russia about a childless elderly couple whose wish for a child is granted with a child of snow who disappears when the weather warms up but returns every winter to share the joy of the cold season. Brian Sturm shared another Russian tale “Why Snow is White” describing how, in the beginning, the world was colorless and four fairy sisters (the Seasons) decided to paint it with rainbow colors; however, they couldn’t agree on the colors, so each took 1/4 of the year and was able to paint whatever she choose. Winter, the eldest , had to help her sisters with their colors, using up all of her paints, so when it was finally her turn and snow began falling, she had only white with which to paint it.
The cuddly stories showcased Hannah Easley telling “The Three Spinners,” a German variant of Rumpelstiltskin in which a girl must spin flax or die until she is helped by three old women, one with a huge foot (from pushing the treadle), one with a huge lip (from licking the flax), and one with an enormous thumb (from twisting the flax). When the prince realizes his beautiful wife might look like them if he forces her to spin, he forbids her to spin for the rest of her life, and the woman and the three sisters share a conspiratorial wink. Cameron Kania share a Dutch Colonies tale about the “Baker’s Dozen” and how a magical old woman turned a stingy baker into a generous one and established the tradition of bakers giving thirteen cookies instead of twelve when a dozen are ordered.
We also had a wonderful group of musicians who entertained the audience with traditional holiday songs and led a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells for the entire audience.