Little Bekkhild was terrified by the birds in the air, the furry animals that scurried about, and of course by the bugs that crawled upon the ground, or flew with tiny wings. Little Bekkhild did, however, love flowers. She loved big flowers, little flowers, and especially the ones that bloomed into pretty colors like red, blue, orange, or yellow. Often she would venture out to look at these beautiful blossoms that surrounded her home, but as soon as she saw a bee, or an animal, she would run home to the safety of her house.
Her parents took her down to the meadow often to see the flowers in bloom there, but unless they held her hand to protect her from the insects and animals, she would cry, and want to go home. One day her mother and father brought her to the pond at the edge of the meadow, and laid out a large blanket for them to sit upon. After a while her mother and father fell asleep in the warm sunshine. Bekkhild had been told to stay away from the water, but she had seen beautiful white flowers floating in the pond among the green leaves, and she hoped to get a closer look at them . Her mother had told her that they were called pond lilies, and they were so pretty that she wanted to pick one.
Bekkhild cautiously walked down to the edge of the pond, keeping her eyes wide open for any creatures that might attack her. She turned around from time to time to make sure that her mother and father were still there to protect her. With her parents safely in sight, and the lovely flower within reach, she leaned over to snatch up the beautiful bloom. Just as she was about to get hold of the flower a large pure white swan swam around the corner right in front of her ! Bekkhild was so scared she did not even scream as she fell backwards onto the ground . As tears welled up in the little girls eyes the swan stopped and turned its neck as if it were examining her. Bekkhild was about to get up, and run back to her parents, when the swan began to sparkle. To Bekkhild's astonishment the swan turned into a beautiful woman, who was wearing a dress as white as the feathers on the swan. Her hair was as golden blonde as hers, and the woman had a pleasant ,friendly smile.
The swan - woman reached out with her hand, and wiped away the little girls tears, before asking : " Why are you afraid of me princess ? " Bekkhild stuttered as she replied : " I..I...I am scared of aminals! " The swan - woman laughed, and corrected her. " You mean a-n-i-m-a-l-s, don' t you little princess ? " Bekkhild stood up, and put her hands on her hips. " That is what I said ! Aminals ! " she said with a frown. " What are you ? " asked Bekkhild . " I am a Valkyrie, little princess. My name is Swanhild, and I ride with Odin ! " The Valkyrie said boldly. " My name is Bekkhild ! " The little girl blurted out. The Valkyrie laughed a little when she replied : " Well, that is a pretty name for a little princess. "
The Valkyrie reached down, and held the little girl's hand. " You should not be afraid of the animals that walk or fly. Nor should you fear insects that crawl, or take to the sky on tiny wings. They are all a part of nature's beauty, and are a gift from the Gods. " Swanhild said in a soothing tone. " Come with me, and I will show you, little princess." she added.
They walked holding hands for only a moment before they spotted a rabbit feeding in the grass. Bekkhild quickly retreated behind Swanhild's leg for protection ! The Valkyrie, however, gently pulled her to her side, and then knelt down to pick up some fresh green grass. She handed it to Bekkhild, and motioned for her to give it to the rabbit. Bekkhild trembled as the rabbit slowly crept over to the leafy meal she held out to the furry little creature. The Valkyrie held her hand even tighter, to give the little girl strength, as the rabbit began to feed on the grass. As the rabbit chewed the munching motion made its little nose wriggle back and forth. Bekkhild giggled, and without even realizing it she had stopped shaking, and was no longer afraid. When the rabbit finished its meal it slowly hopped away back into the grass. Bekkhild jumped up and down, and laughed as it went to feed in another part of the meadow.
Next the Valkyrie held out her finger up into the air, and a beautiful yellow bird flew over and landed on it. The bird was so pretty that Bekkhild just stood there staring up at the tiny bird for a moment. It had a pretty yellow head, a yellow breast, and the feathers on its back were black and yellow. As the bird sat nervously on her finger the Valkyrie told Bekkhild in a whisper : " This little bird is known as the Yellow Hammer. It comes here from the Germanic lands in the summer, and then it returns south to warmer lands in the winter." Bekkhild was flushed with joy ! She had never seen anything so beautiful ! " It is so pretty : " she said in a low whisper so as not to scare away the little bird. The Valkyrie placed her finger over her lips and said : " Shhh . Listen little princess ! " The Yellow Hammer suddenly started to chirp a lovely little song. A moment later, from off in the distance, another Yellow Hammer sang the same tune. The tiny bird then took to its wings, and flew off in the direction of the other bird.
" You see little princess you do not have to fear nature' s creatures. They will not harm you if you do not try to harm them. " Swanhild said with a smile. " Yes, they are pretty, but it was a nasty bug that bit me ! " Bekkhild replied in a whining tone.
" Not all insects are harmful little princess. " The Valkyrie said in response. The woman in white held out her hand and a beautiful butterfly fluttered onto her palm. It had a black body, and beautiful orange wings, with black spots on them. It flapped its wings a few times, and then held them upright as if it were showing Bekkhild exactly how beautiful it was. " I know that butterflies are pretty, but most bugs are ugly. " Bekkhild complained. The Valkyrie allowed the butterfly to fly away, and then took Bekkhild over to an old oak tree. On one of the lower limb's leaves there was a small multi - legged creature that was chewing on the edge of the leaf. " This is what a butterfly looks like before it becomes a butterfly princess. " Swanhild said as she showed the insect to her. Bekkhild looked at the bug in disbelief. " But... but...., that is ugly ! " replied the little girl. " How can that turn into a pretty butterfly? " she asked. The Valkyrie broke off the branch, with the insect on it, and told Bekkhild : " Well princess, this little insect is called a caterpillar, and it eats a lot to give itself enough energy to turn itself into a butterfly. When it is ready it builds itself a little house, called a cocoon, and it lives in there while it changes. When it is ready, it comes out, dries its wings, and then flies away. " Bekkhild put her hands to her mouth, and smiled from ear to ear as she said in amazement : " Oh my ! "
The Valkyrie then walked Bekkhild back over to the edge of the pond. As they reached the water's edge Swanhild reached down, and picked a beautiful large white lily from among the pads growing there, and handed it to Bekkhild. " I have to go now princess my sisters are waiting for me. " Swanhild pointed to three swans swimming a short way off in the pond as she spoke. Bekkhild looked sad as she said : " Can I ask you a question ? " Swanhild nodded her approval. " Why do you call me princess ? My name is Bekkhild . " As the Valkyrie began to sparkle, and turn back into a swan, she told Bekkhild : " Because one day you will be Princess Bekkhild ! "
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.