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Discover The Magic of Halloween With This Meaningful Tale

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Are you looking for a wholesome Halloween story for young children? The Little Folk of the Flame Tree celebrates the magical aspects of this ancient pagan festival – with an Australian Springtime twist.

Click here for the written version of The Little Folk of the Flame Tree.

It’s the story of a young girl who loves everything about her outrageous Nanna Fae, especially her childhood stories of the little folk from her homeland on the other side of the world. Together they create their own All Hallow’s Eve tradition under the big old Flame Tree in Nan’s backyard, until one very special Halloween, when something really magical happens.

The Little Folk of the Flame Tree brings Springtime metaphors to this special time of year when the veil between ‘the seen and the unseen world’ is at its lowest, asking the question of both young and old….do you believe in Flame Faeries? 

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“According to Nanna Fae, All Hallow’s Eve was the real name for Halloween,

which was the best time of year to catch a glimpse of the little folk

as they made merry mischief here, there and everywhere…….”

As a child growing up in Australia, I had absolutely no connection to Halloween except through American TV shows. So bringing this very new, foreign and seemingly consumer-driven festival to my children in a meaningful way has been quite a challenge over the years.

I wanted to satisfy their need to be part of this scary and exciting time of year without joining in on the fake blood and ghoulish imagery that fills shops everywhere. I needed to discover the magic of Halloween with this meaningful tale.

In Celtic mythology, All Hallow’s Eve marked the time of year when the veil between the two worlds – life and death, human and spirit, or reality and magic – was at its lowest. Among many other things, it is said to be a time where spirits and elves and faeries walk freely amongst the living creating all kinds of merriment and mischief.

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So, wanting to find a quiet place where we might ‘catch a glimpse’ of a faery or gnome or sprite, our family began the tradition of heading into the bush upon dusk at Halloween. Over the years we’ve seen all kinds of little folk ‘dashing off to a Halloween party’ while sitting quietly and peacefully in the naturally ‘spirit-filled’ setting of the Australian bush.

And the story of The Little Folk of the Flame Tree has slowly grown from there.

One particularly challenging aspect of finding meaning in All Hallow’s Eve, is the irrefutable fact that this festival was born out of an Autumn landscape. Like all pagan festivals, it is inextricably linked to mother nature’s rhythms, and in this case that sense of death and darkness is marked by falling leaves and greying skies.

Technically speaking, it doesn’t make sense for a meaningful celebration of All Hallows Eve to occur amidst the new life of Spring, and many traditionalists choose to celebrate it during April in the southern hemisphere for this reason.

I completely understand this from an adult perspective, but I wanted to give my children something to help them understand the ‘trick or treating’ and witches and ghostly costumes appearing around them on October 31.

And I must admit, I enjoy the challenge posed by all the major seasonal festivals occurring amidst completely opposite imagery. Celebrating Christmas in Summer and Easter in Autumn, makes me really question ‘what is this festival about for me and my family’ and then create my own stories, or alter existing ones, to incorporate metaphors relevant to our natural surroundings Australia.

The Illawarra Flame Tree is one of the few native Australian trees that quite peculiarly drops its leaves in the middle of Spring, thus it made the perfect partner for celebrating a traditionally Autumnal festival like Halloween in Spring.

At around the same time that it’s leaves fall, the tree becomes ablaze with a dazzling red coat of tiny ‘faery-shaped’ flowers. This image lent itself beautifully to the wild red-headed character of Nanna Fae, who (like so many of us here) brings her faery stories and Celtic mythology to this ancient land we call Australia. 

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Nanna Fae’s unruly nature and utter disregard for table manners and all kinds of ‘uppity schnuppity hoo haa’ is meant to capture a wee bit of that fun (and maybe even a little naughtiness) that I think my own children are attracted to in the trick or treating end of the modern Halloween celebrations.

I also tried to gently and appropriately touch on the darker sides of All Hallows Eve, where we remember the dead and must protect ourselves as the living, by wearing ‘colourful masks’ and offering sweet cakes to the spirit world.

I think the story is suitable for all children, and especially those who like to believe. After I told my 7 and 9 year old boys this story one night before bed, my eldest sighed and said “I hope I get to see a faery this Halloween Mum”. I have no doubt he will.

So, I humbly offer to you and your children this mixed-up topsy-turvy story of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve in a wholesome and meaningful way in the southern hemisphere. Please drop your thoughts on celebrating Halloween in Australia down below (pardon the pun) and I hope you catch a glimpse of the Flame Faeries this year!

x Annie

PS A super big thank you to the wonderfully talented Jodie Hewett for the beautiful artwork for this cover.

Click here for the written version of The Little Folk of the Flame Tree.

 
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Annie Bryant is a storyteller & musician from Mullumbimby, Australia who loves to share her seasonally-inspired stories and songs for children at live performances and on The Seasonal Collection of Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn recordings. Listen to a sample of her recorded stories and songs below or click here to find out more.   
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