1 READ THE END OF PART FIVE OF THE OUNASVAARA BIRCH FAIRYTALE AGAIN, THEN READ PART SIX
“That night was the first moonlit night of the winter and the wedding of the smallest elf boy and the smallest elf girl. The bride was the youngest and smallest of 365 siblings. That was why her wedding was so late. Her siblings had celebrated theirs in the summer, when the cherry trees and the lilies bloomed.
That night, the little groom snuck away from home and, in tears, he wondered around the forest. The wedding was only an hour away, and he had no flowers to give his bride. The little elf girl would probably cry until her bright eyes turned red. That’s when the little elf boy noticed a small tree covered in shimmering white flowers. In a hurry, he wiped the tears from his eyes. He could hardly believe it.
The little elf boy ran to the tree. It was the same little birch that had cried her branches sodden. The frost had turned her tears white, and the moonlight made them glint. The little elf could hardly tell it was the same tree.
‘Prettier flowers my bride couldn’t wish for,’ the little elf thought, picking up as many branches as he could carry. How happy it made the little elf bride, and everyone said she was the prettiest little bride there ever had been.
The lonely birch of Ounasvaara grew, and she watched her siblings on Pöyliövaara Hill.
‘I no longer regret that it was here the wind carried me,’ she said. ‘After all, I saw how happy that little elf bride was. Joy, there’s no greater thing in the world.’”
2 WEDDINGS, WHAT THEY MEAN, WHAT THEY CONTAIN AND WHAT THEIR PURPOSE IS
Discuss these questions together. Have you been to a wedding? What did you see there, what did you hear, what did you do? What makes a good wedding? What emotions do weddings contain? Think about love, what it consists of and what it means to the couples getting married (such as valuing others).
3 MAKE A WEDDING GIF OUT OF NATURAL MATERIALS
Work together to make a wedding gift out of natural materials you find around you for the couple getting married. Present the gift to the couple. You can also do this in smaller groups, in pairs or individually. Once you are done, present your gifts to the couple.
4 COMPOSE A WEDDING SONG OR POEM AND PRESENT IT
Together or in pairs, compose a wedding song or poem for the couple getting married and perform it for the rest of the group. You can perform the song or poem in the character of an elf or a birch or as yourself.
5 THE OUNASVAARA BIRCH SINGS OF JOY AND LOVE
Song title: Joy, No Greater Thing in the World. Work together to come up with lyrics for the song and sing it together in the character of the birch to the other trees of Ounasvaara.
6 THE OUNASVAARA BIRCH DANCES WITH JOY
Everyone takes turns to play the birch or an elf and dances a short dance about the joy of the birch while everyone else encourages and celebrates with her. Keep going until everyone has performed their own dance. You can also do this in pairs, with each pair performing the Ounasvaara birch’s dance of joy together to the rest of the group. Each pair should take a turn performing the dance. Alternatively, you could perform a dance expressing the joy of the bride and groom. You can also perform the dance together as a group. You could even perform the Ounasvaara birch’s branch dance by using sticks and twigs you find on the ground.
7 READ THE OUNASVAARA BIRCH FAIRYTALE FROM START TO FINISH
With your eyes closed, listen to one person reading the fairytale from start to finish. When the story is over, open your eyes.
Take the hand of the person to your left and the person to your right and form a circle. Together, repeat the words “I am good!” twice. Then, repeat the words “We are good!” twice.
Fairytale activity suggestions by Mika Harjumaa.