Living Arts Weekly: Gratitude and Thanksgiving

November 24, 2019

Some of our readers are choosing to no longer celebrate Thanksgiving.  It certainly has a contentious history and is steeped with cultural appropriation.  If you have decided to ignore the holiday, I wish you a nice, restful long weekend with your family, and I hope you have a chance to connect in appreciation for goodness.

For those who choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, Suzanne Down has offered us a lovely story for the children this week, focused on the theme of gratitude and sharing. You’ll find it below.

All of us here at LifeWays North America express our gratitude to you, our community.  We are so blessed by your work, your play, and the ways in which you show up for your families and your communities every day. Thanks for being part of our LifeWays family.

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor

Creative Exploration

After every harvest on every farm, animals big and small come along to enjoy their own ‘leftovers’ harvest.  Thanksgiving is a time of sharing and being grateful for the bounties in our lives.  Except for the greedy cat, who I am sure still had a fine meal from the farmer, this was a warm-hearted celebration!

Country Mouse’s Thanksgiving

by Suzanne Down

 There is a peaceful farm by a beautiful pond.  The farmer there is very kind, and leaves food on the ground for little Mouse after harvest time.  Mouse lives in the farmer’s root cellar, under the yellow shelf where the onions are kept.

After the farmer’s harvest is over, it is Mouse’s harvest time too. Mouse goes out into the fields and gathers corn, broken carrots, outer leaves of cabbages, small potatoes, so many good things to eat are left there for Mouse to take home to store for winter!

There is so much food that grows on the farm, the farmer does not need or want it all for himself.  In the orchard there are many apples, pears and plums that are still on the ground.  Mouse is very busy scampering from the farm fields and orchard to and from his wee cozy house in the root cellar.  It does not take long for his home to become full of food for winter.

This year there is more than Mouse needs, and he decides to invite his meadow and forest friends for a Country Thanksgiving Soup!   For Mouse is indeed grateful to the farmer for providing so much food to eat.  He knows how hungry the other animals will be by mid-winter.

Sparrow flies far and near and gives out the invitations.

Frog says, ‘Have it on my flat stone in the pond.  There is a log bridge to it.  We will see the harvest moon clearly from there!’

Robin and Sparrow sing, ‘We will bring sunflowers for all’.  Frog adds, ‘Wild onions grow by the pond.’

Barn Cat hears them planning, and thinks ‘Yum yum,’ what a tasty meal it would be for him.  He decides to sneak up on them!

Evening came and the friends set up their Thanksgiving on the flat rock in the pond. Sunset colors shimmered on the water.  Frog helped Mouse pull the Thanksgiving soup on a little cart very carefully over the log bridge.  It was a bit slippery.

What fun they had eating the delicious soup, singing and dancing!

Cat was hiding in the reeds by the log, and started to creep over the log.  It was getting darker and he went very slowly.  Closer and closer he got.  ‘Mmmmm… mouse and bird will be the best Thanksgiving dinner for me!  Now that they have eaten their soup they will be all the tastier.’

Frog decided to have a little swim and turned around just in time to see Cat closing in on them!  SPLASH, he jumped in the water, spraying water all over Cat, who hated water and stopped to shake and shake his fur.  Sparrow and Robin SQUAWKED, and started to dive and peck, dive and peck on Cat’s head.  They were so quick that Cat could not stop them.  Cat got so off balance he fell off the slippery log into the pond!

‘MEOW, MEOW, MEOW,’ Cat called, and scrambled as best he could to the shore, and ran lickety split back to the barn.  He went right to the hay bales to lick his fur and recover from all the fright.

Back on the flat stone Frog, Mouse, Robin, and Sparrow said, ‘Oh my, that was a close call!’  But nothing was going to ruin their Thanksgiving Party.  They sat on the edge of the stone and watched as Mother Moon rose in the sky.  ‘Look,’ said Mouse.  ‘Moon has a friend tonight, and they saw the moon’s reflection in the water.

‘Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon up in the sky’

They sang and sang and all agreed to have a Thanksgiving Party each and every year.

‘Thank you good Farmer, for sharing your wonderful harvest with us!  Hip hip hurray!,’ the friends all called out!

[Suzanne Down is a gifted storyteller, teacher and puppet master.  She has a wonderful website full of resources at Juniper Tree Puppets.  Suzanne is launching a course for the Holy Nights that looks to be fantastic:  “Women’s Writes of Passage – An Online Course for the Holy Nights Inspired by Steiner’s 12 Professions and the Soul Powers They Represent.”  There is no writing experience required — all of your writing is private unless you choose to share it.  On sale until December 1st!]