Editor’s note. Melvin woke me up and started with:
I’ve got a story to tell.
It is that time of year again. Flowers are blooming. Pollen is in the air. Life is clawing its way back from the cold hard ground. Beauty and promise abound. It is a wonderful time of year with one exception. Okay, two if you have allergies. The Easter Bunny.
Everyone sees a cute little bunny hopping around pooping out chocolate eggs and stale marshmallow animals. That is his reformed image. I know the real bunny. The one with big teeth and… oh. Wrong rabbit.
Let me take you back about sixteen hundred years ago. So Balder was a good kid. He liked a good party with the best of them. He had stumbled into a ceremony commemorating the return of Spring and the annual defilement of the sheep. Part of the celebratory process was to finish off the last of the prior years stock of ale and mead, so plenty of the good stuff was around. He had been through a few tankards of ale and got an idea for what to do with this little spot North of the Alps. He wanted to build this giant longhouse pub for the other teenage dieties, and got an idea to use mistletoe for his sign. I told him that was a bad idea, but he never listened.
Anyway, I might have had a tankard or two of ale when we realized that Ēostre had one of her hare farms over the hill. We walked out of the door, and Loki had been at the other end of the pub. He and Balder were teens themselves and still on good terms in those days, and since the next day was her feast holiday, we decided to give her a little gift. So the three of us staggered up over the hill and dale to the bunny ranch.
Ēostre was in her prime and had a lovely disposition. Well, most of the time. One spring of her youth, another of the gods gave her a pair of hares (not rabbits) as a courting gift. Everyone was a little surprised when shortly after she had hundreds of the little varmints. She took this to mean she was going to be a fertility goddess. As for the to be unnamed young deity who had been chasing our young goddess? Apparently she was a little too fertile for him and he took up the solitary life. But I digress…
Anyway, I’m following the two up to the crest of the hill that overlooked the little farm. There were so many of them, it looked like the tribbles had taken over.Loki, being himself, decided a little joke was in order. The hares were munching on piles of vegetables, so Loki turned them all into the color of whatever they were eating. Some of them must have been into the beets for the color they turned.
The other part of magic is that sometimes there are unintended consequences. Especially if you are a drunk trickster teenage deity. Somehow the spell ran through the henhouse and all of the rabbits started laying eggs. Not normal eggs. Colored eggs. And I guess from eating all of the sweet carrots and beets, the eggs were full of a sweet gooey substance. It tasted horrible, but the kids loved it.
Ēostre came to the farm, and when she saw the change in the hares, she took this as a sign from the elder gods to favor her people for that year. Believing the eggs to be a bountiful gift, she collected the eggs and took them to the nearby village. Guess what happens if you hop up a village of kids from the dark ages on sugar, and they have never had it. Next thing you know, all of the kids are wild eyed and on a sugar bender. They tear down the fences to get to the newfound sugar high and the hares escape into all directions.
The good news is within a few days after the festival, the hares returned to normal, but kept breeding like, well, rabbits. But a couple of days before the feast day each year, they turn different colors and start dropping eggs everywhere. Somewhere along the way, some of them must have gotten into South America and to cocoa beans, because now, some of them drop the eggs in a chocolate coating.
So remember this, when your favorite flowers disappear, or your garden is raided, it may be some of the special little varmints that poop out all of that candy you eat on Easter morning that are stocking up for next year. And if you are thinking about hunting them down, the hares have a long memory, and still blame me at least in part for them changing colors and laying eggs. I can tell you, its not chocolate covered pellets they leave in my yard.
Later scribe. I’m off to make fresh purple hossenfeffer.