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Once upon a long, long time ago, nothing was going right.  The sun didn't shine much, the crops didn't grow well, the people were cold, hungry and unhappy.
Robbie MacBeal was eight years old, and it seemed like all his life, the world had been a very gray place.  He lived in a small cottage with a thatched roof with his Mom and Dad, two sisters and a baby brother.  Every day his Dad went out and tried to find some work so they could buy some food, but he could only get a few odd jobs here and there.  Robbie and his family went to bed hungry often.  In fact, it seemed as though he had never had quite enough to eat.  But Robbie was born with a cheerful disposition and, no matter what, he was always sure tomorrow would be a better day.
The night before Easter day, he decided to get up very early and go down to the lake.  It was a long walk and he wasn't supposed to go by himself, but he wanted to try to catch some fish for Easter dinner.  His Dad said the lake was like everything else.  All the fish had been caught long ago.  Just like all the potatoes had been dug up and most of the wild game was gone.  But Robbie wanted to try anyway.  He kept picturing himself striding up to the house with a string of fish and seeing how happy his family would be.  He hardly slept that night, because he was afraid he would sleep too late to get up before his parents were awake.  He crept downstairs when it was still cold and dark, got his fishing pole and started out.  It was pretty scarey trying to keep to the path in the dark and jumping everytime he heard something scurrying around, but by the time he got to the lake, the day was beginning to lighten. 
He dug up a few worms, put one on his hook and looked for a good spot to fish in.  Just as he got to the bank, he saw it...a big rabbit sitting behind a bush!  Wow!, he thought, a rabbit would really make a fine dinner.  He put down the pole and crept up behind the rabbit trying to be as quiet as he possibly could.  But, just as he jumped for it, the rabbit quickly hopped away.  Robbie was close to tears, when he spotted something under the bush.  He pulled back the branches, and there, right in front of him, was a nest of eggs.  Lots of eggs!  Big, big eggs!  He couldn't believe his luck, because these eggs would make a wonderful meal and this time, no one would leave the table hungry!
He took off his jacket and very carefully placed each egg one by one in it.  There were 19 eggs and each one of them was 3 times as big as a chicken egg. He wrapped them up and tied the sleeves together to hold them.  It took him a long time to get home, because he had to walk very, very carefully.  He didn't want to even crack a single one of them.
Finally he was home.  His Mom was out front waiting and she was worried and mad.  She said his Dad had been out looking for him for an hour!  Robbie didn't say a word.  He gently placed the jacket on the ground and untied it.  The look on his Mom's face was everything he dreamed it would be!  She was so surprised, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  They took the eggs in the house together and when Robbie's sisters gathered around to look at them, he told them the wonderful story of the rabbit who had left them all such a great present on Easter morning.  When his Dad came home, he told him the story and the whole family told the whole town when they went to church to thank God for all his blessings.  Stories traveled fast in those days what with one person telling another and then the minstrels who strolled all over country telling it everywhere they went.  But it wasn't only the story of the rabbit who gave them eggs.  It was the story of how that Easter day was the last of all the bad times they had lived through.  The sun came out that day, the weather was warm, the crops started growing, the cows and sheep had grass to eat and the bird's started singing.  
All because of a rabbit.  Or was it?
Back at the lake, one big goose was very puzzled and unhappy.  She had left her nest full of eggs to go get a drink and a little something to eat, but when she came back, they were all gone!  "Oh well", she thought.  "I guess I'll have to start all over."  With that, the Easter Goose rearranged her nest, snuggled down in it, tucked her head in her wing and sighed.
                                      By Nancy Townsend




The Magical Touch of a Unicorn

Once upon a time a little Unicorn was trotting around the woods investigating his world when he suddenly foung himself all tangled up in a big vine. The more he tried to get loose, the tighter the vine got around his horn. The little Unicorn didn't want to call his Mom, 'cause he wasn't supposed to be out there by himself and he didn't want to get scolded. He was getting very worried as it got darker and darker and he was beginning to get cold and hungry. Just as he thought he better give up and try to call his Mom, a beautiful big white bird flew down and landed beside the little Unicorn.

"What's wrong, Honey?", the bird asked.

"I'm all tangled up, I'm cold and hungry, and my Mom's going to be mad at me!", sobbed the Unicorn.

"Oh, well, I have my own problems, right now.", the bird muttered dejectedly.

"Hey, just because I don't know how to get out of this mess doesn't mean I don't have Unicorn powers. Actually they are getting stronger every day. Just the other day I made two bears stop fighting and all I did was look at them and think about peace and love." The little Unicorn sounded like he was still amazed by that feat even though it is a simple thing for most Unicorns to do.

"Maybe I can help you with your problem." he offered.

"I doubt it, but, well, the thing is, I feel like a nobody! Look at me. I'm a white bird. Just plain old white. Everybody looks at me..no that's not it..they look through me. What's to look at? There are all those beautiful birds with bright colors and plumes and everything, and nobody even knows I'm a swan. They think maybe I'm a goose or a duck, if they bother thinking at all." A very self pitying tear rolled down the swan's cheek as the more he thought about it, the sadder he got.

"Hmmmmmm...I've never solved a problem like that, but if you would help me out of this fix, I'll try to think of something to do." the little Unicorn offered.

"Okay, I've heard that it is good luck to help a Unicorn. See, everybody knows what you are!" the Swan said as he started untangling the vine with his strong bill.

Finally, the little Unicorn was completely free. He frolicked around a bit as it felt so good to be able to move! Then he sat down beside the swan and pondered his problem.

"After a few minutes, he exclaimed excitedly, "I've got it!  We'll make a sign saying SWAN and tie it around your neck with the vine. That way everybody will know what you are!"

"I'm sorry, but I don't think that would work. In the first place it would come off or get so wet nobody could read it as soon as I went in the water. You do know I swim a lot. I was headed for that lake when I saw you.", the Swan answered kindly, but sadly.

"Oh. Something special..something special..let me see.", the Unicorn thought and thought. Suddenly he said, "Come with me down to the lake!" and off he went.

When they got to the lake, he told the swan to wait a minute and went off by himself for a little while. When he came back, he told the swan to look in the water. The swan did, but suddenly levitated about 10 feet in the air!

"What did you do to me?!", he yelled.

"Well, you wanted to be something special so now you're a flying unicorn!", the little Unicorn said proudly.

"I think that is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. It isn't going to make me special. Everyone is just going to make fun of me for trying to look like something I'm not!"

"Maybe you're right, but I think I've got the right idea. How about this....(he did some strong thinking for a second)..look now!"

The swan approached the water anxiously, a bit fearful of what he would see. He jumped a bit at the sight, but looked again.

"I'm not sure. It looks a bit funny. I mean a big black knob on my nose?? It's different, but I'm not sure I like it.", the swan said as he kept looking at himself from different angles.

"It isn't just a black knob.", the little Unicorn answered, "It is a magic Knob. From now on, whenever anyone sees you floating by with that Knob, they will feel nothing but peace and love and see nothing at all but pure beauty. From now on, swans will be the most lovely and cherished birds of all, because everyone will want to be as peaceful and serene and graceful as they are.

"Wow! Really?? I like that a lot. Thanks little one, thanks a lot! Now let's get you home. I bet your mother's plenty worried about you. I know you live way down the lake that way, 'cause I've seen you and your mom and dad lots of times. I'll swim..I swim much faster than I walk and you follow along on the shore."
When the swan entered the water, he was transformed. He held his head up high with his graceful long neck arched and sailed along without making a ripple. And the little Unicorn was right.

Everyone loved watching the swan forever after that. But what the little Unicorn knew, being very wise as all unicorns are, was that what the swan thought of himself was much more important than any magical powers a unicorn could give him.

The end.

                               by Nancy Townsend


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"If we have as much sense as geese we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong"