Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Yule Legend of the Silver Pine Cone

**Note this is one of my DT creations for this weeks challenge #8 DISTRESS over at the Gingerloft Challenge.  *** I have made 2 separate posts for my creations as they are both fall into entries for some challenge blogs and both posts are rather long (especially this one) ***  If you would like to see my DT post, please click here.

Going back a few weekends when the kids and I ventured out to the farm for a weekend holiday we went collecting pinecones from down at the dam.  At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with them ... I just knew I would think of something crafty to use them with.

It was that night around the dinner table that Poppy told us about the Yule Legend of The Silver Pine Cone and after hearing the story I knew right away that a story that beautiful and with such meaning had to find a place in my home.   I google-ed the story and found the close to original version and decided I was going to make it into an old vintage scroll wall decoration. 

I love how this turned out and I love that when visitors come and visit throughout this festive season they all stop and read it and it shows us all the true meaning of Christmas and how alive it still is in our home.

There are many shorter versions of this legend available on the net but I really did like the full version so I used that.  Here is the story for you. (might want to grab that coffee as it's a little long *sorry*)

The Yule Legend of the
Silver Pine Cone

The troll sat quietly, as he always did, looking out over the room in wooden silence.  Below him the embers of the fire were fading giving the room a gentle warm aura that would soon be made to crackle back to life as the light from the hidden sun brought morning to the remote home and woke the mother who was always the first one up.
Although made of wood, the troll did not fear the fire even when it crackled at its merriest below him; in fact it gave him a sense of peace knowing that the family with whom he lived could control such a vicious force.   And so he sat quietly watching and in all the months that had passed since he had been brought into the house by the father, no one had seen him move except the family dog.  On that occasion he had risen to retrieve a taste of creamy butter left for the families ‘imaginary’ house troll. The ever alert dog had sniffed suspiciously and started to growl only to be ‘shushed’ by a groggy voice from within the family sleeping area.  Obediently the animal had relaxed and returned to its corner near the fire where it took up its caretaker pose only to fall fast asleep within moments.    Little did the family suspect that the  figure sitting on their mantle was indeed their ‘real’ guardian troll and, of course, no one thought to question what happened to the butter, cream  or bits of ‘sweets’ left out from time to time for him.

       Earlier this past month the little Troll, who if he stood up would stand just under a foot tall, was given a new chair upon which he could sit.  It was made of small sticks and twigs bent and shaped into a rustic rocker roughly proportioned to fit his squared off knees and hips.  His slightly forward curved back just barely reached the back of the chair and although coarsely made with the bark still on in most places it felt like the noblest of all thrones.   The family had placed the chair under a trellis like arch also of long woven sticks interlaced with mistletoe to give it a festive look.  With a ceremony full of smiles and giggles they had placed him on the mantle on the corner opposite the main door.  From his vantage point he could gaze across the room to the left into the sleeping room whenever the heavy door was open.  He could not, however, see much of the kitchen area except for the door that when propped open, hung against the outer wall.  The little troll did not mind the lack of visualization as long as the wonderful aromas from that room were allowed to waft into the living area.

        If anyone had noticed he seemed to sit a little taller that day as the family took turns rubbing his furry hair for luck and occasionally ‘beeping’ his bulbous nose.  The mother had even called him her ‘handsome’ third child.  The Troll could not have picked a nicer home.  It was not, of course, perfect but it was a happy home full of love and laughter but tonight things had changed.  He remembered that just after they had presented him with his wonderful new chair the father had been injured in an accident.  The father had been on his way home with a load of cut logs when something had spooked the horse and the wagon had overturned.  The woodman’s back had been severely strained and two ribs were also broken.  The doctor, after doing all he could, explained that it would take several weeks for the father to heal completely.  This was a crushing blow because with the onset of winter the chances for work grew.  The need for fire wood, Yule logs and for trees to decorate for the season would provide opportunity for earnings that would get the family through the entire winter and into spring.  If the father did not work now, he would be behind for the entire year and already things were wearing out and needing replacement at an alarming rate.  Even his axe had been broken in the accident. 
They had fought the inevitable as hard as they could, saving what mother earned and making what they had stretch but now as Yule approached the  harshness of their situation began to set in.  As he sat absorbed in the peace of the home, the little Troll listened to the muffled words of the parents.  They were out of money and they had nothing with which to buy the things they wanted to celebrate with.  Oh, they would not starve, nor would they freeze and papa could always make something for each child.  They also fully expected the Julenissen to make his rounds and this made each of the children almost giddy with anticipation but it was going to be sparse.  Gone was the money to do things for their neighbours.  Gone was the money the father needed for a new coat.  Gone was the money to fit the boy in new clothes because he had shot up several centimetres in the last few months, even his shoes were getting tight.  As they counselled into the late night the mother had insisted that she was fine and that she would use up things, repair them or if they had to they would do without until things got better.  But the troll knew differently.  He knew that she needed a new dress because she had whispered her deepest longing to him just the other day.

        Days passed.  The father grew healthier but the time for him to earn money was gone and after tonight it was Yule eve.  Still, the family did their best to make it fun.  Father made little gifts for each child and some to give away to friends and neighbours.   Mother made a batch of the poor man’s cookies and dad killed and readied the tom turkey for Yule dinner.  The children took great care to decorate the trees outside with things the various small animals that lived nearby would enjoy.  Nothing was said out loud to dampen the spirit of the day.  That night the little troll thought long and hard after the house fell silent except for the gentle sounds from the sleeping room and the occasional popping snaps of the wooden house as it was buffeted by the cold Norwegian winter.  He could not sew nor could he buy things but he could use some Troll magic.

        The next morning the family awoke to find a note penned neatly with charcoal sitting on the mother’s rocking chair.  The note read simply; “Gather a basket full of pine cones as big as you can find.  Leave them on the table and tomorrow give them all away secretly.”  It was signed; “Your Guardian Troll.” Of course the family eyed him suspiciously but he did not move nor blink.  After all he was made of wood.

        As soon as chores were done, the children were each given a basket and off they ran to the woods.  Within a half hour they returned and each had their basket full of pine cones a couple were more than five inches long but  most were three or four inches.  They carefully placed the twenty-one cones into their mother’s bread basket and placed it full but not overflowing on the table in the main room.  All day long they speculated about what had happened and what they should do for the troll who had given them these unusual instructions.  Was the troll hungry?  Should they get more pine cones?  Why hadn’t the dog barked?   Should they put out milk or cream?

        It took a long time for the children to settle down and several times the children had to be called back to bed but even after the children were asleep the parents fidgeted and whispered until well after midnight.  The next morning the children were up at the first rustle of dawn.  They gasped and squealed as they gazed at the pine cones each of which had been turned into pure silver.  When the parents had finally been dragged into the room cries of “We’re rich!” echoed about the room.  Each cone was perfect in its detail and each was heavy and beautifully polished.  ‘Thank yous’ were shouted to the air and toward the little troll as he sat in mute witness to the spectacle.
“But daddy, what about the letter?” It was the little boy speaking. The room became thick with silence.  “Whom can we give them too?”  Asked the mother.  “We don’t have that many neighbours.” “Unless we go to the village.”  Said the father softly.  The mother frowned.  “But that is over a half-day’s journey just to get to town. If we stop by our neighbours, it will be almost dark when we get to town and it will be almost Yule day morning before we get home.”  “I know but we must do as we were instructed.  I will get the coats and hitch the sleigh.  You get the food and children ready.  We must dress in our finest clothes!”  With a sigh the mother nodded.  The home was a flurry of activity for the next several minutes as everyone made ready for the unexpected trip.  Food was carefully put in two baskets.  Warm blankets were carried out to the sleigh and within the hour the family was almost ready to go.  The mother handed the father the baskets of food and he joined the children in the wagon.  The Troll watched sadly as the mother took two of the pine cones and placed them in her sewing basket before taking the rest outside.  “They’re for the Julenissen.” she whispered to the Troll.  He smiled broadly as the door shut solidly behind her.
 The first few ‘cones’ went to their neighbours.  Father planned a circuitous route to hit each of the nine neighbours within a six-kilometre radius.  The children were given the task of sneaking the ‘presents’ up to the house.  It was exciting as they used tire or runner ruts to get close then used footsteps from animals and people to get to a door or porch where they left the gift as quietly as they could.  Each time they returned giggling.  It was almost magical; they reported that even the dogs and sheep were quiet.  By late afternoon they were on their way almost to town. 

        Mother counted the cones sadly.  “I wish we had brought more.”  The children agreed.  They had to pick between friends and they did not want to do it.  “Maybe we can break the cones and give each family some of the parts.” suggested the father. Mother shook her head.  “We will just have to pick the most deserving.” she said finally. Father sighed.  “Let’s wait until it is dark and then we probably won’t get caught.  It won’t be long.”

        The family huddled close putting on every blanket they had after finding a sheltered place out of the weather.  Father wanted to nap but the kids began to ask questions about the Guardian Troll and Troll magic.   Did father think the wooden troll was their Guardian Troll?  Did the Troll make the Pine Cones by hand or did it magically create them?  Why doesn’t every family have a Guardian Troll?    Why don’t people believe in Trolls?  Mother and Father did their best to answer.  Father did not think the wooden poppet was a real troll.  Mother believed that the troll used magic to create the pine cones.  Families did not have Guardian Trolls because they stopped believing in the magic of life.  And that is why people do not believe in Trolls too.

The final question was a bit tougher.  “Do you think that if we gathered a few more pine cones we would have enough to go around?”  Father did not know but mother thought it would not hurt to try so Father guided the horse back into the woods where they children gathered as many pine cones small and large as they could find.  Soon they had enough for every family in the small village.  They put them in the bag and started toward the village as the last of the suns feeble efforts vanished.  Father lit a match as the children opened the bag.  Inside were the remaining silver pine cones among the gathered new ones, all of which were still brown and beautiful.  Mother sighed and the children sniffed back tears.  “We will need to be very careful who we choose.” said father closing the bag.  “We will choose the poorest and most needy.”

        In a few minutes the family had a plan and were moving quietly into the village which was dark as families began their own celebration of the Yule.   Carefully he dumped the pine cones onto the floor of the sleigh.  Each person was to pick up three or so and carry them to the homes selected then meet back at the sleigh as fast as possible.  As the pine cones hit the sleigh there was the familiar sound of metal on metal but not a whisper of dry cone on cone.  Father lit a second match and gasped.  Every cone was made of silver. 

With a whisper and a chuckle the family began to distribute the cones in secret just as the Troll had instructed.  Again the report was magical.  The mother had almost been caught by one of her friends who came out but even though she looked right at her she did not seem to see her.  The son too had been missed when he was caught on the porch by the family carrying in the Spruce tree for the Yule.  They had been so intent on getting it through the door that they did not even notice him less than two meters away.  In less time then they believed possible they were on their way home.  Once they were out of town they began to sing their favourite songs.
Upon their arrival home they could see a figure moving by the front door.  As they pulled up, they recognized the Julenissen.  “Are there any good children here?” he asked politely.  “Yes we are good children.” responded the two in unison.  “But this time we have something for you.”  The two rushed into the house and grabbed the two silver pine cones from where their mother had placed them.  Smiling broadly the two handed the silver pine cones to the gnome like visitor who looked very much like a miniature Father Christmas.  The ‘elf’ was speechless for several seconds.  “We felt that since we had been given so much that you should have something for someone you know especially deserving of the kind of good fortune we have been blessed with.” said the mother softly as the father came around the sleigh.  With the reigns still in hand the Father told the old visitor what had happened. 

With a gentle tear in his eye the Julenissen opened the door of the house and walked in.  After a moment he walked to the little wooden troll.  “Stand my friend.” said the gentle figure.  To everyone’s surprise the wooden troll stood and leaped off the mantle and stood before the ancient legend of Norse history.  The old one reached out his hand and rubbed the troll’s hair.  “Because of what you and this family did, I will bless the pine cone now and forever.  It will be a symbol of good fortune and luck from now on and forever.  It can be real silver or simply coloured silver and if a person or family keeps it on their hearth or somewhere that shows respect it will contribute to the well being and luck of that home as long as they have it.” 
With those words the Julenissen smiled broadly and winked at the little Troll.  “And now I think this fine fellow needs a big bowl of porridge.”   The Julenissen then rubbed the Troll’s head again and turned to the children.  Handing them each a fine toy, he winked.  “Thank you.” he said softly.  He then glanced up at the hearth and sitting in the middle of it, on an ornate stand, was a beautiful silver pine cone.  Sitting next to it was the little wooden troll.   With a bow the Jolly Old Elf opened the door and disappeared into the dark starting on his rounds to visit all the good boys and girls of the countryside

        From that day on the family never lacked for what they needed and they always kept their silver pine cone in a prominent place.  But perhaps more importantly from that day on every time they looked at the beautiful silver pine cone on their mantle they remembered the joy they felt in adding to the happiness of others during the Yule Season.  

So every time you see a Silver Pine Cone remember:
“There is no greater joy in the Yule Season then the joy found
in giving a little bit of happiness to those you love and care for.”


Scroll rolled up with a button to hold it in place and one silver pine cone to hang with the scroll.
Silver pine cone garland over my desk
(Don't mind the mess lol)
 Another garland hanging over the TV cabinet

Scroll Rolled up.

I love how beautiful this looks hanging up and I love how easy it is to roll away and place in the cupboard for another year.  I also have a bowl of silver spray painted pinecones in a bowl on the breakfast bar and all visitors to the house are given one as they leave.  It was so simple to put together that I had to make two of these and am giving one to Poppy as a Christmas gift for him, seeing as he is the one that told us all the story.

The paper is plain white A4 card stock that I teabag stained (love this technique) the image Gingerlofts Tree With Border I printed and allowed to semi dry before heat embossing it with silver to give an aged effect.  The wooden scroll thingy it is attached to at the top and bottom (sorry do not know the technical name) is two (one at the top and one at bottom) old chopsticks and the pinecone(s) are the ones we collected at the dam that weekend that I baked in the oven to remove any little nasties and then spray painted with silver, added a ribbon to be able to hang and a red ribbon bow.

Craft Your Passion – Anything goes (Mondays)
Incy Wincy Designs – IWD#71 Decoration or ornament (Mondays)
Simon Says Stamp and Show – A holiday greeting (Mondays)
The Shabby Tea Room - #39 Tis the season (Mondays)
The Creative Card Crew – Anything goes – (Tuesdays)
Flourishes Timeless Tuesdays – FTTC96 3D Holiday Gifts (Tuesdays)
Project Tuesday – Pennant Banner & DT Call – This is a Christmas banner, it is hanging on the wall as you enter our house and it’s theme continues through the house with more silver pine cone banners. (Tuesday)
Top Tip Tuesday - #13 Use Ribbon – I have used ribbon to hang the pine cone(s) along with ribbon to hang the scroll. (Tuesday)
Tuesday Taggers – Deck The Halls – I am decking the halls and the house with Christmas decorations. (Tuesday)
 Belli Challenge - #106 Christmas Embellishments / Papers – There is red ribbon and the scroll actually encourages the silver silver pine cones hanging and scattered all around the house. (Wednesday)
 Digistamps 4 Joy - #8 Anything but a card – It is an wall decoration. (Wednesday)
Penny’s Papper Crafty Challenge – #44 Merry Christmas – It is a Christmas Decoration (Wednesday)
 Your Next Stamp – YNS #31 Its a CAS Christmas – It is clean and simple and Christmassy (Wednesday)
Charisma Cardz - #49 A Christmas Gift – I made two of these and am giving one to Poppy for a gift as he told us the story and the silver pines are also a gift to all visitors that visit the house throughout the Festive season. (Thursday)
Delightful Challenges – Embossing Challenge -  I have heat embossed the image in silver (Wednesdays)
 Dutch Dare – DDCC #92 – Christmas Card /Tag or Ornament – This is a Christmas decoration (Thursdays)
Shelly’s Images – TTT 12/9/10 Celebrate – This is celebrating Christmas. (Thursdays)
 Blog-A-Doodle – Christmas NO cards – This is a Christmas decoration (Thursdays)
Just Cute Bears – #41 Anything but a card – It’s a Christmas wall decoration (Sundays Monthly)

Fair winds and following seas.
The Navy Wife

24 Treasured comments:

Nikki said...

Beautiful Scroll and so long too you've done a fab job :)

Thanks for Sharing at Incy Wincy this Week
Hugs Nikki and the rest of the DT

Shell Shearer Swinscoe said...

Just gorgeous hunnie, hope yo have a fab christmas!!
Thank you for sharing with us at Craft Your Passion this week, good luck! Hugs shell xx

Robin Parker said...

Love the rolled up scroll and the red ribbon and pine cone legend. Thanks for sharing on the Belli challenge.

Stephanie said...

Stunning scroll. Thanks for joining us at Craft Your Passion.

Pattie said...

Wow - very nice! Thanks for joining us in the Tea Room this week!

Debbie said...

You are on a roll .. thanks for sharing this unique and lovely project with us in the Tea Room :)

Meggymay said...

Great projects, thankyou for joining us at Tuesday Taggers this week

Unknown said...

What a stunning project. I love how it looks rolled up. And what a great story! Thanks for another entry in our challenge this week at Shelly's Images.

Courtney said...

Wow!! I love this!! Thank you for sharing with us at Penny's. Good Luck and Merry Christmas!


Terry said...

Hiya ..thank you for joining the DT from Simon Says Stamp and Show with your amazing creation wow....what a beautifull scroll....and the imaga on the inside wowwwzersss.....Thank you and hope to see you for our next challenge. Hugs Terry xxxx


Fabulous project,thankyou for joining us at Delightful Challenges,
Hugs Dianne xx

Unknown said...

WOW I LOVE IT. This is brill scroll I might have to nick the idea for next year,thanks playing along with TT this week

Min said...

What a beautiful project! Just Gorgeous!
Thanks for playin' along with us at Shelly's Images this week!
Hugs & Happy Days!

Denise Pustelniak said...

Beautiful! Mine is the silver spider but of course it's a dif. story but it's not as clever as yours.

Donna said...

Great project and something to keep forever! Thanks for joining us for the embossing challenge at Delightful Challenges!

racinggrandma61 said...

What a busy, busy lady you have been. Wonderful job.

TYSVM for joining us at Stamp-n-doodle cards, and be sure to come back and join us again.

Laralee DT

Anette said...

How very original!! thanks for joining us at DDCC.

Anita said...

Very pretty. Thanks for joining us at Just Cute Bears and Friends Challenge.

sammi said...

Fabulous idea!! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing your project with us at Shelly's Images.

Leah l'Orange said...

what a great read! love the story, and what a nice thing to turn into a crafty project! glad you shared this with us at Charisma! :D

Agnieszka M said...

Wow, great project!
Thanks for joining us at CCC this time, and good luck!

Jen Leeflang said...

What a great project and such a lovely meaning
Thanks for joining us on the DS4J Challenge
Christmas Blessings to you and yours

Joan Ervin said...

What a wonderful story and your project is fabulous!!! Thanks for joining us in the Belli challenge!!!

Jilly said...

The rolled up scroll and the red ribbon and pine cone legend is amazing, I also plan to gift some thing like this type to my sister on this birthday. May be she likes this unique work.
r4 card

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