The Dance of the Four Seasons
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"The Dance of the Four Seasons"

The Dance of the Four Seasons

By: Ninkira

January was at an end and a fierce storm raged over a small town on the most far off and distant land in the world. Holondrum. The worst in decades.

"It's the first time it doesn't snow straight down." Commented an elderly man as he looked outside through the glass of his window. "The snow flakes fly in all directions."

"I believe it's a hurricane, grampa." Said a young boy. "When I came back home the walls shook as if they were going to cave in."

That terrible storm raged all through the night and later the next day. But when the storm stopped an eerie silence filled the air. A thick layer of snow, that in some places reached over 12", lay everywhere. That day was like a festive to the town's children and soon snowballs flew in all directions between the cheers of joy. Ladies walked slowly, in fear of falling, the narrow house streets were very slippery.

When night came the clouds disappeared and, routinely, the stars appeared. This was to be the fiercest storm to ever hit this little town in a hundred years. But in the interior if the houses, the temperatures were warm; thanks to the chimney fires.

Outside, in the cold night, cuddled in the deepest branches of the trees, the birds were snuggling against each other, fighting the cold and trying to get warm.

"Pip, pip!" Said a sparrow "The Spirit of Winter has turned into a stepfather that will end with our lives!"

"If this is what the humans call a 'New Year', I prefer the old one." Said another. "It's not worth the change!"

A crow intervened,  "And to think that a few days ago, children were singing and playing, crazy with happiness.!"

"I too was happy, thinking that warmer days would come soon. But nothing happened."

"When will the Spirits of Spring come?" Asked a small pheasant that shivered frantically.

"The two Spirits will come when the storks bring them, though there is no sure day. Here, in the towns, the humans barely know."

"You're wrong because the humans have calendars!" Yelled a bird, very knowingly.

"The year starts with Spring, it's how the Goddesses ordered it to be."

"Why don't we go to the meadows to wait for Spring to come?" Asked a younger sparrow.

"Go if you wish." Said an older bird. "I prefer to live here, in my old back yard. A human family had the idea of hanging a wooden birdhouse for my family and me. The humans not only gave us a home, in winter they feed us bread and even cereal."

With the exception of the older bird, the other birds decided to fly to the meadows and wait for the Spirits of Spring to come. But the temperatures were colder in the meadows, and the mountain winds were even icier than in the town.

A woodsman, that had a bundle of lumber under his arm, decided to rest under the tree where the birds seek refuge.

"It's so cold." The woodsman complained. "When will Spring come?"-

"Later.! Later.!" Answered the echo of the snow covered mountains.

That voice, was it the echo or of the giant that was sitting on the peak of the mountain? It was of the giant, an aged man with long, flowing hair and beard.

"Who is that?" Asked the young sparrows.

A large and wise raven, roosting on a high branch, answered.  "It's the Spirit of Winter, father of the Spirits of Spring. He waits for the return of his children, though I think this year they'll be delayed."

Day after day, it seemed that winter would never cease. Until the first pure ray of sun emerged. The Spirit of Winter continued to sit on his frozen throne, looking south. Later, little by little, the birds began to sing once again.

"Spring! Spring has finally arrived!" They would say.

Leaves on the trees began to melt the ice on their branches and gleamed in the sunlight. The snow melted and streams carried the water away. The temperatures rose delightfully. Everything was alive again.

From the south the first storks appeared with a girl and a boy riding on their backs. They dismounted from their mounts on a beautiful meadow and they moved on over the first flowers. The children held hands as they walked toward the mountains, leaving trails of flowers where they stepped. Suddenly, a dense fog appeared that, when it vanished, left the sky blue and clear. Then it seemed that the Spirit of Winter had disappeared and in its place in the mountainous temple were his children, the Spirits of Spring!

The rivers grew big and wide, the fields were green and the people came out, happy and cheerful. Soon, everything blossomed and life was once again pleasant. As the days passed on, the sun's rays began to be felt more strongly. Temperatures rose and the grains were ripe and healthy.

The children of Spring had grown a lot since they came, turning into a man and a woman.  They were resting on the hills, without a care, looking down south. In the forest, reigned a deep silence. Something was happening to the sky.

Suddenly, thick clouds appeared and thunder announced the start of the storm. Fierce winds howled, followed by the heavy rain. The clouds became black and the storm raged on. It lasted more than an hour, lighting and thunder ceased and the rain calmed down. Soon, the sun came out and gleamed the leaves; the drops on them shined like pearls.

On their mountainous throne, the Spirits of Spring were drying their hair with the heat of the sun. Nature seemed new. Then came the splendor of Summer, warm and bright.

Soon, the farmers appeared to cut the grains; the branches of some trees leaned over with the weight of their fruits. Under the shade of an apple tree, rested the Spirit of Summer with his lovely companion.

"Remember when we arrived here a few months ago?" She asked. "The storks that brought us here are now worried for their chicks."

"Soon our reign will end, my dear wife." For a while everything prospered under the warm influence of the high temperatures.

"It won't be long until we leave." Said the Spirit of Summer one day. "The storks will show us the way."

Slowly, the leaves turned yellow. Then came the steady rains, and an unexpected hurricane shrouded the Spirit matrimony, taking them away on the winds. Followed closely by their storks.

That's how the Spirit of Autumn came, a beautiful but aged woman with a crown of grapes. With her apparition in the forest it was covered with a carpet of golden leaves that grew in size as time passed.

Then the first fogs came like transparent tunics. The flowers began to dry and the grass turned arid. Many animals of the forest hurried to be prepared for the coming of winter at the same time that many prepared their nests and dens in wait for the New Year that will soon come.

In the forest, the Spirit of Autumn knew her short reign was over, she followed the same path her children went and made way for her husband, the Spirit if Winter to arrive.

"Behold!" Shouted the Spirit of Winter. "The most powerful king has arrived! I will make snow cover this land once again!" The first snowflakes glided down on a calm and peaceful night, with the people unaware of the powers of the Spirits.

This is the dance of the seasons. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; four majesties that balance life, one after the other, everlasting, ever powerful.