This is a kid's story I wrote years ago, when my children were young. It brings together world myths under a Gewessi theme and as Yule time is a time to tell tales then it seemed appropriate to dust it off and put it on my blog.
Magpie becomes sad
Once upon a time in the long ago, when all the animals and people were equal and could talk to each other, there was a magpie who was tired of the dislike of the other creatures in his part of the wood. Whenever he would approach they would shout "Thief", "Blackguard" and they would call him other names :- "Good-for-nothing!", "lowlife" & "mischief maker" all because magpies like pretty, shiny objects and take things from nests when their owners were not playing with them or looking after them.
Others would shout "Gossip", "blabbermouth!" and they would call him other names:- "Busybody", "snoop" and "telltale." All because Mr Magpie liked to talk and to talk about everything he'd seen and heard.
These names all made Mr Magpie sad and he would swoop back to his Wife with his eye not as bright as before.
As he came in his tail would droop and his Wife would say
"Have you been listening to the small minds again? Remember we are magpies and people have always disliked us." He would say to her
"But why does it have to be this way? Can a Leopard not change his spots? Is there no way to change?"
He would hop to his branch overlooking the sunset and his tail would droop, whilst his eye would not be as bright as before. He would sigh and say
"I wish I was as bright as the sunset and golden as the dawning day, for everyone loves those things."
One evening as Mr Magpie was sat watching the sunset with his dull eye and drooping tale Ostara the Queen of the Dawn walked past. She pulled her forelock (as you must always do to Mr Magpie when he's on his own) and said
"Evening Mr Magpie! How's Mrs Magpie and all the little Magpies?"
"Oh well enough" he said
"I'm glad to hear it," said She "but why the dull eye and the drooping tail?"
"Oh I'm fed up with all the people calling me names like thief, bad-egg, rogue, gossip, backbiter and everything!"
"Oh!" said Ostara and she fell silent while she thought for a bit.
In fact she thought for a long time. She went to the feasting hall of her clan and discussed it with Tor, Allvater, Briggi, Freeya and for a long time with Logi. However they all said
"But he is a magpie and that's what magpie's do! Most magpie's are happy with what they do and don't care that the rest of the people don't like them."
Except Logi, who felt rather sorry for the little magpie, he said
"But WHY??? Can a Leopard not change his spots? Is there no such thing as change? He is very unhappy - it's not fair for him to live without hope."
The rest of the clan discussed it generally
"Hmmm if he can change would he still be a magpie?" said Allvater
"But still he must be allowed to change." Briggi his wife said and on that they all agreed.
"What would he have to do to prove he'd changed?" asked Ostara.
"He would have to live an exemplary life true to our clan's 9 ideals:
Bravery, creativity and discipline.
Honesty, honour and hospitality and finally
Justice, knowledge and loyalty!"
On this they also agreed. They took an oath that if the magpie could change he would receive a reward.
Ostara went to see Mr Magpie watching the sunset, sadly with his tale drooping and his dull, black eye and she sang him this song...
"If you be true and want to be liked
then navigate nine, roads to rule your life,
At first there are three, thus for thyself:
Be Brave and be bold, no cart to the crowd,
Creative too, called the herald of hope
Discipline or duty, a foundation for faith.
Contained in your cauldron, they brew a great beer.
Our next are for others you may meet and greet:
Honesty is healthy, so talk of true things,
Of Honour keep hold - wealth is your word
Hospitality too, give to your guests.
Last is to live, life the great game:
Justice a jewel, in the golden ring of right.
Knowledge a key, the choice to choose well and
Last is for loyalty, tied fast between friends."
Mr Magpie's tail perked up then and his eye became bright with hope. So throughout his life Mr Magpie then lived according to the nine. Here are just some of the things that he did in his travels round the world to prove that he had changed…