Michaelmas Story

Once upon a time there was a boy who lived up in heaven. He was quite strong. He and his many playmates liked to play games on the soft puffy white clouds. They would jump and turn somersaults and make a wild rumpus. It was great fun.

But at the end of the day, they would all go quietly into the Golden House and sit at great white tables where the Master would bring them Star Bread in a golden bowl, and an angel would pour them Star Wine from a great silver pitcher. And the heavenly food made it so that they never grew tired.

After the heavenly banquet, when all the other angels were watching the pink and gold sunset and singing their hallelujahs, the boy liked best to go into the garden that surrounded the golden house. Because in the garden at twilight he could watch while the most wonderful flowers opened in all colors, with wonderful fragrances like you would never smell on earth except maybe sometimes when you smell a rose. As soon as the stars came out the flowers began to bloom. He didn’t know why, but he could hardly get enough of watching them open, and enjoying their scent.

One evening he met the Master Gardener there. The boy asked him about the flowers, and the Gardener told him that the flowers came from the thoughts and words and deeds that flowered in the hearts of the people on earth. “When they go to sleep at night”, he said, “one of my great angels, Archangel Michael, rides his great white steed down through the sky and harvests the seeds of all the thoughts and words and deeds from people’s hearts as they sleep. He brings the seeds back to heaven, and the I plant them in my heavenly garden. They grow and bloom at night when the stars come out; sometimes in their dreams the people on earth can see their thoughts and words and deeds blooming in the heavenly garden.

The boy asked the Gardener if he could help him tend the flowers—the Gardener looked pleased. “Oh yes,” he said. “Sometimes weeds grow here. You can help pull the weeds. I’ll show you where to put them to be burned. For even though weeds disturb the beauty of the garden, their ashes nourish the flowers.”

So every evening after that the boy helped the Gardener tend the garden, watering and caring for the blossoms and seeing to it that the weeds didn’t take hold. When the boy asked how the weeds got there the Gardener told him that once long ago an enemy had sown them in order to try to destroy the garden.

One evening as the boy and the Gardener were just finishing their work, the great angel Michael came riding up on his white steed. He wore golden armor that shone like the sun. He dismounted and approached the Gardener, bowing deeply and offering a large golden bowl. It was full of especially beautiful golden seeds. When the Master asked him how the harvesting had gone, Michael looked at once both joyful and serious. “It has been difficult,” he said. “On earth the dragon lurks ever around the souls of humans. People are doing their best to keep the gardens of their hearts full of the flowers of love and kindness and hope, so that I can bring the seeds up to heaven. But the crafty and fiery dragon scatters weed seeds wherever he can, seeds of hatred and anger and fear. So I must do fierce battle with him. For if the soul weeds take over the hearts of men, it will be difficult for your garden to bloom.”

Now when the boy heard about the Archangel’s battle with the dragon, a great wish arose in his heart to do battle on earth against the dragon with Michael, so that the garden in heaven would blossom always. So he asked the Archangel if he could go down to earth to help him fight the dragon. Michael looked closely at the boy for a long time. He liked what he saw: strength and courage and a willingness to work and to learn. He looked at the Master, who nodded.

So the boy prepared himself for the journey to earth. And as he was leaving, and visiting the garden one last time, the Master held out to him a handful of seeds. “Carry them always near your heart. Plant them on the earth and tend them faithfully. And use your strength and courage to fight the dragon’s weeds of hatred and fear.

So the boy, carrying the golden seeds near his heart, journeyed to the earth with Michael. There a man and a woman were already waiting to take care of him till he grew to be a man. Sometimes he missed the beautiful garden in heaven. But he never forgot to take care of the golden seeds. And his good thoughts blossomed in his heart. He worked hard to plant golden seeds on the earth whenever he did a courageous deed. He learned how to weed out hatred and anger, and how to plant and care for the golden seeds of loving kindness.

At night, while he slept, Michael came riding down from heaven to harvest the golden seeds from the blossoms of his heart. Michael took them up to the Master who planted them in the heavenly garden. And in his dreams, the boy would visit the garden under the stars.

And after a courageous life of learning and hard work, he woke one day to find Michael there, shining golden on his white steed. He had come to take him home again. And when they arrived, the Master said, “Well done, my good and faithful helper.” He showed him with joy around the heavenly garden. What wonderful flowers were planted there. How beautiful it all looked in the starlight. And what a wonderful fragrance.

-Author unknown