For the Lantern Walk we made our lantern at home out of a jar, tissue paper, autumn leaves and a bit of copper wire. Along the candlelit path at the Rhododendron Garden the children encountered roaming singers and pipers as well several gracious givers of small gifts.
There one was a girl called Naiya who had who had been outside in the garden all through the Summer running after the butterflies, jumping like a grasshopper, singing like a bird, and trying to catch the sunlight. One day when she was lying on her back in the meadow gazing up into the sun-filled sky, she said, “Dear Brother Sun, soon the Autumn winds will blow and wail, and Jack Frost will come and make us all freeze, and the nights will be long and cold.”
Brother Sun pushed the clouds aside and said, “Yes, it will be dark and cold. In the deep midwinter, warmth and light live deep within, hidden from sight. In the time of dark and cold, you will tend the Light Within.”
“But,” said Naiya, “How will I tend this Light when it’s dark everywhere around me?” “I will give you a spark of my last Autumn rays once you have made a little house for it, for this spark must be guarded well. It will light the way for you to tend the Light Within throughout the time of dark and cold.”
And then Brother Sun once hid again behind a cloud. Naiya went home and wondered how best she could make a little house for the spark of the sun. She took some tissue paper and some beautiful Autumn leaves and with glue pressed them onto the outside of a glass jar. Then she bound the top with a handle and formed it into a lantern. She took a candle and put it into the middle of her lantern. And, as it was growing dark, she went outside with it.
Naiya held the lantern up above her and said, “Brother Sun, I have made a little home for one of your golden sparks. Please may I have one? I will guard it well.”
Then Brother Sun looked out from behind a cloud and said, “You have made a beautiful home. I shall give you one of my golden sparks.”
And suddenly, Naiya saw how the sides of her lantern were lit up, and as she looked into the lantern, she saw a spark happily dancing on top of the candle. Oh, how happy the light was in her lovely lantern! It shone and shone so brightly.
“Thank you, Brother Sun,” Naiya called out, “Thank you.” And she took her lantern and carried it carefully home singing:
The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling.
Its beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear Lantern, guard me with your light.
(from Autumn: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children)