There is a story told by all fairies. It is a legend as old as the first Christmas. For it is a story about the first Christmas. You see there was a time when fairies could be found throughout the world. This was a time back before man began to destroy the world at the rate we do now. Now there are but a few places where fairies can still be found. Rare it is to see a fairy, but if you are one of the few lucky enough to see a fairy and even luckier still to make friends with them a whole new world opens to you. Fairies will come and sit around your camp fire and tell you stories of love and hope and of magical things, and sometimes terrible things, scary things. The story that follows is the story of Christmas that the fairies tell.
A long time ago there was a fairy by the name of Jeri and he lived in the rafters of a stable with his wife Tia and his two children Ori and Flo. Like all fairies they had the power to become invisible. But, fairies don't really become invisible. Their power lies in their ability to cloud the minds of men. Jeri and his family lived a happy life in the world of men.
In the time when fairies and men shared the world, fairies helped tend the crops and orchards of men where they too gathered food. Fairies only took what they needed, so men never noticed the small loss of their crops. It has been said that the fairies help Mother Nature, tending all the flowers and plants, helping them grow. This is where that belief comes from. Jeri and his family tended many plants throughout the area. This provided them with more than enough food throughout the year.
It was in the time when the seasons change that the city of the men, where Jeri lived, began to fill with men and their families. Jeri like all fairies took no notice of the politics of men. He only noticed that there were many more men in the city than was normal. Jeri's wife Tia was the human equivalent of a midwife among the fairy folk and with the coming of spring she was always busy. You see most fairy children are born in the early spring.
It was late one cold windy evening when they came, a human and his wife. Jeri could hear the man outside say, "You can stay here if you want." Jeri recognized the voice as the man that owned the stable.
"I can't stay here," he heard another man say. Jeri flew over to the front of the stable where he could look through a crack between the boards. He saw a couple standing together, the man looking nervously at his young very pregnant wife.
"You're not going to find any other place to stay in town tonight. If it weren't for your wife's condition I wouldn't even let you stay here. So take it or leave it."
The young woman reached out and took hold of her husband's arm. "Please Joseph, this will be ok," she said.
The man cast a glance at the grey clouds overhead. "Ok," he said handing the owner of the stable a couple of coins.
Tia flew over next to Jeri. What's up?" she asked.
"Looks like we are going to have guests for the night," he replied.
Tia and Jeri watched the couple as they put their small donkey in the stall next to the stall where they would stay. The man quickly cleaned out the stall and filled it with fresh straw then threw out a blanket over the straw in one corner of the stall next to the wall. Piling up their meager belonging in the corner he helped his wife to sit down her back resting against their belongings.
"Mary there has got to be some place better than this," the man said.
"Joseph this is fine. We can find something else in the morning," she replied.
"Mary will you be ok here? I need to go out and find a midwife nearby just in case." The man let the sentence hang in the air ominously.
"I'll be fine Joseph, just hurry back."
Joseph covered his wife with a blanket and then left in search of the location of a nearby midwife. Mary pushed the blanket down after Joseph left and pulled one of their bags to her and began to go through it. In those days fairies were a little more easily entertained. Jeri and his family watched the humans below with keen interest.
Mary was just pulling out some clothes when the first contraction hit her. She dropped the clothes as she bent forward grabbing at her stomach. "Oh God, not now," she whimpered as the contraction released her.
Tia looked down at the woman with the practice eye of a midwife. Even as she had brought many a fairy into the world, she had seen many humans come into the world as well. She knew the young woman below was in trouble. There is a bond that mothers everywhere share. Tia answered the call the only way she knew how. She started down to help the young woman give birth to her first child. "What are you doing?" Jeri asked.
"Jeri that young woman is about to give birth right now. I'm not going to sit by and do nothing. You can stay up here and watch or you can come and help. Either way I'm going down there," Tia replied.
When Mary opened her eyes after praying for help she saw what had to be the smallest angel in the world. "Are you an angel?" she asked.
"Hardly, my name is Tia and I'm a fairy."
"What's a fairy?" Mary asked as the next contraction hit her. This time she was left gasping for air.
When Mary's eyes began to refocus the tiny angel was still there. "Look, Mary, I can help you but you will have to do what I say right now," the tiny voice said. "Your child is coming right now. It will not wait for your husband to return with the nearest midwife. I want you to lie back and take slow deep breaths. Jeri get down here now, I'm going to need your help. Flo come sing to her. Ori get me some water, lots of water."
Jeri landed next to his wife. "What do you want me to do?" he asked.
"The child is too heavy for me alone. So when it starts to come out I want you to help me lift it and guide it as it comes out. I got to warn you Jeri, we are going to get messy.
The next contraction left Mary gasping for air again. "Mary you are doing just fine," Tia told her. "I know it will be hard to do but when the contractions come I want you to resist the urge to push until I tell you to, ok?"
Mary just nodded her head. She listened to Flo's sweet beautiful voice singing in her ear. The contractions grew closer together until at last she heard Tia tell her to push. "Push, push now Mary."
Jeri and Tia guided the child out onto a shirt Jeri found in one of the human's bags. Tia was so amazed at the ease and speed of the birth. She wrapped the child in the shirt and began to tie off the umbilical cord. "Jeri cut the cord between the two strings," Tia told her husband as she began to clean the baby. This child came out ready for life. Tia didn't even need to give him a good swat on the bottom to get him started breathing.
It took a while but Jeri finally cut through the umbilical cord. "Got it," he announced to his wife.
Mary's eyes were kind of glazed over as she watched the tiny angel now covered in blood walk toward her. "It's almost over," she said. "There is going to be a few more contractions as your body rids itself of the afterbirth.
"How is my son?" Mary asked weakly.
Tia looked at her strangely. Most women had to be told whether it was a boy or girl after the birth, their main concentration being on the act of giving birth. "Your son is doing just fine," she said.
When it was all over Jeri and his wife were covered in blood. Once mother and child were sleeping peacefully together, they went out and bathed in a nearby watering trough. As they sat together on one of the rafters the new born child opened his eyes and looked directly at them and waive his little hand. Tia instinctively waived back. The child's eyes lit up and a big smile appeared on his face as he giggled a little before waiving again. Tia was amazed. The child could actually see them.
When Joseph finally returned with a midwife in tow he found that his wife had already given birth. The midwife herself was amazed and made a big show of fussing with the child before wrapping it in swaddling clothes and laying him in the stall's manger.
After the midwife left Joseph sat next to his wife. Tears poured from his eyes. "I should have never left you alone," he said softly.
Mary reached up and took his hand and squeezed it. "Joseph it's alright, I wasn't alone. I had little angels to help me," she said.
This was a night that would forever change Jeri and his family. He watched as shepherds that kept the temple's flocks came and bowed down before the child and told Mary of the host of angels that came and told them of her child's birth. Even the animals in the stable stood in awe of this new born baby boy. There was just something about this child that made him very special.
Half the week went by before Joseph was able to find them a place to stay. Just before they were about to leave Mary handed Jesus to Joseph and went back into the stable for one last look around. She simply stood in the middle of the stable with her hand out palm up waiting for something. Several moments past before Tia appeared hovering just above her hand landing ever so gently. "I just wanted to say thank you," Mary said.
"You are most welcome," Tia said. "I must tell you, before you came along, I have never assisted a human entering the world. I am more than pleased that I was able to help you give birth to a most amazing child."
"I shall remember you forever."
Tia smiled brightly. "Yes, I suppose you will. Maybe I'll stop by and check on you and Jesus from time to time."
"You will always be welcome in my home," Mary said.
Tia never questioned her husband's decision to follow this young family. It was a long strange journey that took them to Egypt and back again. It was a quirk of fate that took her husband from her when a wall gave way and he pushed Joseph to safety but was not able to save himself.
She followed Jesus wherever he went as a child growing up. Tia sat in the temple with Jesus as a child as he confounded the wise men there. She waited for Jesus for 40 days as he went into the desert to be alone. If Jesus always seemed to have food it was because she brought it to him. As he suffered on the Mount of Olives she stayed awake while all the others went to sleep.
It was the saddest day of her life when she sat upon the cross member of a cross and looked into the same eyes as she saw when he was a baby. Horribly beaten, nailed to the wood, his eyes were still filled with love. Her tears were rivers down her face.
Among the fairies it is said that it was Tia not Mary Magdalene who first saw Jesus after his resurrection and again when he showed himself to his mother Mary and to his brothers and sisters.
And so, this is the legend of Jesus' birth among the fairy folk. How I heard it is another story altogether.