On the morning after the Longest Night, Redtail Hawk spots a brilliant fire down below.
Why, it is the newly-returned Sun, flaming on the ground like a camp fire!
"Something is very wrong here," says Paper Crane as she wings by.
The cow and calves and the pig agree: the Sun is trapped on the earth! She can't fly!
Roused from his slumber by the animal cries and by the unexpected warmth nearby, Brown Bear lumbers out for a look. "Hm! The Sun flames well, but why can't she rise?"
Snow Moon snickers and sneers from his hiding place. He's trapped the new Sun, and is looking forward to eating her for lunch!
Brown Bear seeks help in the forest.
"Ho, ho, ho, what's all this?" calls Father Christmas, hearing someone shuffling and snuffling behind him.
"Sun is trapped on the ground," says Brown Bear. "Much as I like the warmth, no good will result if we leave things as they are."
"Ha, ha, ha!" crows the Snow Moon. "They'll never free her in time!"
"Here now," says Father Christmas, speaking softly to the little Sun. "I have a gift for you. This Star will help you fly."
"Oh! I feel better already," gasps the Sun.
Redtail Hawk is amazed! "Why, the Sun is growing larger!"
She rises, and you can still see that flower of fire blazing at her center!
The Star rises with the Sun. The Moon does too! But above them all, the Sun ignites into her full glory!
"Here, Paper Crane," says Father Christmas, "Here's the Star's shadow to brighten the town."
Father Christmas jumps on top of the Snow Moon.
"Oh well," grins the Snow Moon, before they speed away together. "Maybe next year."
Stepping out into the snowy morning, Anne knows that all is well.
Note: My amazing friends at Journey School provided me with Redtail Hawk and crafted the Christmas Tree at the center of the story.
And special thanks to Gwynne for story assistance and inspiration, and for her Sun-Star-Moon Rise photo art.