All you that in the condemned hole do lie,
Prepare you for tomorrow you shall die;
Watch all and pray: the hour is drawing near
That you before the Almighty must appear;
Examine well yourselves in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent.
And when St. Sepulchre’s Bell in the morning tolls
The Lord above have mercy on your soul.
The festival of Harvests was at its peak in the tiny forest, midway through the celebrations you might not notice a stage set up inside the ever-aging trunk of an ancient Redwood, the stage roof an encyclopaedia of history, with rings telling of Famines and Wars and Great Winters, ones that have been and hints of ones to come. The main theme of the second day is Justice and a very solemn part of the day starts at High Noon.
This year’s play is the Call of Judgement. A most special event this year as the Owls are in attendance.
The Owls had swooped in on the eve of the New Moon, dark was the night and sharp were their wits. The tiny congregation, gasped in awe as the terrifying beasts swooped in, deafening thunder the sound their wings made as they snaked through the forest searching out the gathering. A special Oath is in place on such occasions, where all come in peace. This didn’t stop the young ones of the gathering cowering in fear behind the tiny lace aprons of their Grandmother’s skirts. The Owls circled the area above a Sycamore tree three times, causing a small breeze.
From their fearsome talons the Owls dropped tiny gifts, all landing perfectly onto the falling Spinning Jennies, tiny helicopters ever swirling on their slow waltz down to the ground, passing through clouds of fireflies causing a cacophany of lights; yellow, green and red flashes of lightning darting this way and that way. The gifts dropped precisely at the feet of whom they were intended.
The Owls swirled slower, one last time and swooped majestically down into their places. The Black owl landing on the branch of the White Birch and the White owl landing in the branches of the Black.
The Owls settled into position on the sturdy Branches of Justice as the Brownie helpers passed around seeds, nuts and grasses to all in attendance, all to be washed down with sweet honey and the juice of ripe red, green and blue berries. On solemn occasions such as this, everyone ate and drank from the same bowls and shared the same food and drink, all wore whatever they chose, everyone wears a mask and nobody feels ashamed.
When all had had their fill, everyone went to their places. All of a sudden, there was a new, bigger commotion from above.
The treetops shook and the whole Gathering fell silent wondering what wicked demon approached. Every single creature of the tiny forest obeyed the solemn Oath on such a night and only a servant of evil would dare to ever break it. All eyes raised skywards, as the dancing helicopters waltzed once more, swirling amidst glistening stardust, dazzling dewdrops falling from the moonless midnight sky, every colour of the rainbow, floating to the earth, this way and that way. Like snow from the heavens it covered them all. Everyone gaped in awe as the Great Grey Owl landed on her Throne.
The Great Grey Owl prepared to address her children, she turned her head this way and that way and looked at all of them. Big ones, little ones and tiny ones with an even look in her eyes, she took in a long slow breath and the whole of the forest, from the tiniest Tick to the mightiest Tree bowed their head in solemn silence to listen.
‘My children, the Great Sabbath is approaching as I am sure you are all aware by now. You have sensed my presence in the air in these recent times. Judgement Day is coming.’