Hild poked the fire in the middle of the room. She needed to cook the wheat soup that her husband, Leofric, expected when he returned from the hunt. She hoped he would bring back a rabbit she could roast. It's skin would make a scarf to keep Wulfstan, her four month old son's, neck warm.
Today was a month since they celebrated the winter solstice with drums and flutes. The priests from the church suspected music of being evil. They were so sour, disparaging the old ways that her family believed in.
As the days had grown shorter, the villagers brought more and more trees into their homes and decorated them with berries to convince Balder, the God of Immortality and Frigg, the Goddess of Love, to change the course of the sun and to bring back the light. Then they could plant rye, wheat and barley. The apples and nuts would again be plentiful.
The door opened. She always breathed in quickly when she saw Leofric with his blond hair, blue eyes. How she had such a beautiful husband, she would never understand. Not only was he beautiful, he was a loving husband.
He took her in his arms. "It's time."
The two of them rushed around the small house, picking up the branches and sweeping the needles into a basket.
She put on her cloak and bundled the baby in furs.
She carried the baby. Leofric carried the basket to the river at the north end of the village.
The river, which had been frozen, now had a small stream flowing in the middle. Other villagers were there with baskets of needles. Oswin played his flute and Paega beat on his drum.
One by one the villagers threw their needles into the flowing water with a prayer that by returning the needles to nature, the crops would flourish in the spring that was sure to come.
Today Rick and I took our Christmas tree needles to the river and threw them into the water. We've returned them to nature as we have done before.
Rick challenged me to produce a Legend of the Needles blog.
He is doing a dueling blog at http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/