The Giant of Midwinter's Eve

 There was once a giant who was feared by all the children that lived in his forest. Seeking to put their fears at bay, the giant reached into his vast stores of silver and gold to make them each a perfect toy. Into these toys he placed small magics that would make one whir, another twirl, still another dance about, and so on, each imbued with an enchantment to make little eyes sparkle. So unfearful were the children as they received their toys, that the giant began to make and give his gifts every Midwinter's Eve, as though his toys were a charm that could keep fear far way.

    But as the Midwinters passed, the giant found himself making smaller and smaller toys. The enchantments he could conjure grew more feeble. Until all that was left was a single songbird made of silver. For he had used up what had once seemed an endless treasure, and his magic, tied to silver and gold, was nothing more than a shred.

   Forlorn and weary, he sent out his only Midwinter's Eve gift through the opening of his cave into the trees, and shrunk into the cold and damp, knowing that without anything left to give the children they would come to fear him. Fear would lead to hate. And as their animosity would be more then he could bear, he would soon slip away and be no more. 

    The songbird landed on a branch and began to sing. But it wasn't the single strain of bird's call that made it's way back to the giant's ears; it was a whole host of voices singing and laughing together with glad tidings and merriment.

   Curiosity overcame him, and the giant made his way to the songbird.

    The children of the forest were dancing about, their eyes as lit with delight as the giant had ever seen. In their hands were all the silver and gold toys of Midwinter's Eves passed, and they were alive beyond enchantment.

    The giant watched the smiles on the children's faces as they played with their old toys — and their old toys played back. He watched the joyous revelries inspired by his songbird. The whole of the forest seemed more alive than it had ever been. And his eyes shown with happiness, even if he did not understand how it had come about.

    'You are our heart,' whispered the songbird as it landed on the giant's shoulder, as much alive beyond enchantment as the rest of the giant's toys. 'It matters nothing that you are poor, for rich or poor you are still yourself. And because you are yourself, your old toys have come alive as your gift to the children this Midwinter's Eve.'

    The giant smiled gently then. For though he was poor, it turned out that his heart had more to give. Such magic would always be there as long as he remained himself. And that was enough to free his heart from fear.


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