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Mistral’s Gift

 Mistral is the Weaving Spirit who lives in the Forest of Fiber. Sometimes she spins gossamer webs that span the sky and sea so she can travel afar and see how the humans are doing. One day Mistral was lying in a web of clouds, much like a hammock, and noticed down upon the sea one tiny sad human crying. She pulled on a line of cloud web and drifted down to where the young girl sat in a boat close to the shoreline.

 Mistral dropped into the boat with a soft thud and the young girl jerked her head around to see what happened. She could not believe her eyes! She stared at Mistral as Mistral dabbed her hair into place. Mistral looked very different from humans; a dainty web ran across her skin including her face. Her hair was piled way up high and looked like big variegated loops of thick wool. Metallic threads were peeking out all over the woolly stuff. In her hair small heddles, looms and spindles stuck out here and there, much like a woman would wear hair pins. Mistral’s eyes were large and lavender. Her dress was sky blue made of shiny soft silk with pockets all over. Scissors hung in one pocket and a ruler in another. There were several bobbins, beaters and shuttles sticking out of pockets here and there. One pocket had balls of yarn hanging out.

 Mistral looked at the young girl and said, "Hello Janna. I’m Mistral."

 "Where did you come from? How did you know my name?" Janna asked as she stared at Mistral.

 "I know all children’s names who are destined to be weavers, my dear," said Mistral with a mischievous smile.

 Janna did not feel afraid; just mystified. She did not catch that last statement about weaving and continued to stare at Mistral.

 Mistral smiled again and said, "Why are you so unhappy, child? You come here every day and cry your tears into the water."

 Janna seemed to forget that this mysterious lady just dropped into her boat out of thin air and looked sadly at the water and shrugged. "My parents are too busy for me. They both work and when they come home they are still too busy. They do adult stuff and leave me with baby-sitters. They give me lots of gifts but they never take time to hug or play with me."

Mistral felt pained for Janna. "Janna, I can’t help you with that problem but I will give you a gift that will bring you a lifetime of happiness."

Janna looked at Mistral, "Why would you give me a gift. Who are you?"

"I am Mistral, The Spirit of Weaving. I keep weaving full of life. Weaving fiber, weaving beads, weaving wire; I bring the gift of weaving to many and they teach weaving to others."

Janna rubbed her hands together and looked again at Mistral. "Will it really make me feel better?"

"Oh yes," said Mistral, "You will feel energy throughout your body when you weave." Then Mistral stretched out her hands and a small flat cardboard loom, a ball of yarn and a tapestry needle appeared. Then Mistral pulled a pair of scissors from one of her many pockets and said, "We will start your first lesson today by making a small amulet purse."

Mistral showed Janna how to begin and soon Janna was humming to herself and relaxing. Mistral answered her questions when she needed instruction, and when Janna had the amulet purse finished, Mistral showed her how to make a necklace strap of yarns.

 Mistral looked at Janna and said, "Now let me show you how to embellish your amulet purse with fiber. I learned these techniques from the Spirit of Stitchery a long time ago."

 The Spirit of Stitchery?" How many spirits of stuff are there? What’s her name?" Janna asked.

 "Cassandra, dear, and a lovely spirit she is," Mistral said as Janna began stitching.

"Mistral, what is a spirit?" Janna asked. At nine she had not yet been taught that there is no such thing as this and that.

Mistral’s eyes grew misty as she spoke. "Well, I’ll try and tell you what we are about, Janna. As the Spirit of Weaving, I am the spider’s web that is spun, the happiness weavers feel while weaving, their pride upon finishing the project they are working on. I am the silk from the silk worm, the flax that forms linen, I am in all the materials that are woven. I am the beads that are woven with thread. I am the sharing of techniques and love that weavers feel. I am simply a natural part of life and life giving.

 Mistral looked back at Janna, "Was that too much explanation?"

Janna had now finished embellishing with fiber, "Oh that was wonderful! Kind of magical words that make me want to cry because I feel happy."

 Mistral said, "Well, if you are going to cry, happy tears are always better than sad ones. The happy ones sweeten the world and make it brighter. Now you are ready to add beads as embellishment." Mistral raised her hands and beads of all sizes fell into the boat. "Your world is truly magical in a natural sense, my dear; many people are just too busy to see it."

 "Where did all these beads come from?" Janna played with the beads and her laughter bubbled over.

 Mistral smiled, "Never you mind where they come from. Let’s start your next lesson."

 So Janna finished embellishing her fiber purse with beads and then put the piece around her neck. Then something happened. Janna seemed bathed in brightness. She was overjoyed to have created something so lovely. "Oh thank you, Mistral! I’m so happy. This was like nothing I ever did before! Can I make more?"

 "Of course you can," said Mistral as she pulled out all kinds of yarns and gave them to Janna. "I must go now, my dear, I have my own weaving to do." Mistral pulled out a thread, made a big loop and begun to swing it around lasso style. She then threw it up towards the sky; a web began to form up through the clouds. Mistral gave Janna a hug and began to glide up the web.

Janna looked up at Mistral and said, "Will I ever see you again?"

 Mistral looked back down at her and said, "That’s all up to you, Janna. If you continue to believe in the Spirit of Weaving, then one day you will see me again, I promise." Mistral then glided back to her hammock in the sky. She looked down now and then on Janna and watched as she grew into a lovely young woman. Janna eventually became a designer of woven fibers for a textile firm.

 Janna never told her parents about Mistral. Somehow she knew they wouldn’t believe her. Janna never forgot Mistral . One of Janna's more popular woven textile designs includes Mistral’s web. Throughout Janna’s life she would think of Mistral, even after marriage and the birth of her daughter, Nina. She had given her daughter the original purse she made and told her the story of the Spirit of Weaving. Nina was now nine and Janna knew she would soon need to teach her how to weave. Just as this thought crossed her mind, Janna looked out the window and saw Nina playing with her dolls when out of the air dropped a line of thread. Mistral had come to visit her daughter. This was the best gift of all. To Janna this was truly Mistral’s Gift. Bringing the art of weaving to her child; an experience never to be forgotten. Mistral began to speak to Nina. During the conversation, Mistral looked up towards the window where Janna stood and winked--a merry, cheery, happy wink.


And that is the story of Mistral’s Gift from the Beadwrangler.

Beadwrangler, 1997