Below is a short story –especially for children, but for all children at heart, that depicts the beautiful gentle spirit of our Lord, Jesus Christ- our King in Exile.
LITTLE GREY HANNAH
In a small Olive grove centuries ago, lived a little mourning dove named Hannah. Hannah often wished she had white feathers like those holy white doves but this was how she was born. She and her fellow mourning doves all had gray feathers so they accepted this as their lot in life.
Around noon, Hannah would venture into the human’s villages to gather any stray crumbs that had fallen beneath the merchants carts. Hannah knew to keep her distance from the humans. Her parents taught her how to forage for food while keeping alert from the predator. It was common knowledge among the dove clans that next to eagles and hawks, the human was their largest threat. Many of Hannah’s kin fell prey to the human’s net and were sold for pennies as bird sacrifices to the human poor. She shuddered to think of the horror they experienced as her fellow doves were caught, sold- then slaughtered!
After a long day of searching for her food, Hannah returned to the olive groves and roosted on her favorite branch. Tucking in her soft grey feathers, she snuggled in her nest and marveled at how nice and peaceful it was under the trees as compared to the noisy human villages. Sometimes, as she nestled on her branch above, she would notice some humans who had entered the groves. They didn’t seem bothersome and the One who seemed to be their leader was more calm and peaceful than the others. She liked when He was there as His voice was very calming. Sometimes she would see Him all alone there looking up into the sky. “He must be talking to the Creator of All that Is” she thought. Hannah’s mother had taught her about the Creator—how He made them and all the animals, and even the plants and rocks. He even made the humans! She couldn’t imagine Him ever creating humans, though. The Creator is full of Love, but the humans are so cruel! This Man, though, was different than the other humans. When she watched Him talking to the Creator, His voice reminded her of the security she felt as a young fledgling, snuggled beneath her mother’s wings. That was saying a lot for a mourning dove, because otherwise, Hannah felt frightened when she was that close to a human.
One early morning, long before it was time for Hannah to venture into the villages, she noticed that Man again, all alone and kneeling very reverently on the ground. He was talking to the Creator of All that Is with much love; It was the love of a Son to His Father. Curiosity got the best of her so she flew to the ground and crept ever so slowly closer and closer to Him as He knelt there in prayer. “Who is this human?” she pondered. The closer she got, the less threatened she felt. “Maybe I can get close enough to see His face!” she thought. Soon He stopped His conversation with the Creator. As His head remained bowed down, the very air around Him felt full of love and peace. She wondered at this as she peeked at Him from a rock that was just a few yards from where He was kneeling. “He surely is not like the other humans!” she thought. Slowly He lifted His head and turned His gaze toward her. She would have gasped and fluttered away except she felt no fear. He smiled at her and said, “And where have YOU come from, little grey one?” He said to her as He laughed. His eyes sparkled like the water when the Sun reflects upon it. Hannah knew in her little dove’s heart that she was looking right into the eyes that reflected the Creator of All that Is—The God that her mother told her about when she was little. He laughed again and held out His hand to her filled with millet seed. “This is Heaven!” “Why, this is even better than having white feathers!” After Hannah was done eating, the Man gently held her in His hands and gently stroked her grey feathers. She wished all humans could be like this. It was like He could read her mind because then He chuckled at her and replied, “One Day , they may, little one!” He said as He gave her a wink.
This precious moment was soon interrupted as this special Man’s followers barged into the grove with shouts. “Master, there you are!!, We were looking all over for you!! We need to get ready NOW, if we are to make it to that wedding in Cana!” They yelled. Frightened Hannah flew up to a safe branch but she continued to watch them from above. “Yes, Yes, Peter, we will go” the Man sighed, “but how few will be ready for the Wedding yet to come?” The men looked at Him with confusion. “Come, let us be going then”, He said as He chuckled at their confused expressions. He got up and the men followed Him out of the grove.
One night many months later as Hannah lay sleeping in her nest, she was rudely awakened by an angry mob of humans carrying torches into the Olive groves. The mob demanded to know where the Man, her new Friend, was. Hannah watched with fear at the scene below her. “Where is He!?!,” The guards demanded. “I Am He”, Her Friend said with the most Royal calm she had ever heard. The guards fell to the ground after His reply. As the guards stumbled to get back up, He replied again, “I told you that I Am He, so if you seek Me, let these men go.” His followers ran off immediately in fear as He calmly let them seize Him. Hannah shuddered in her nest. She couldn’t go back to sleep as she thought how horrible it was that this Man – the first human she loved being around – was taken away. All that night, Hannah cried her most mournful cry. The next morning, Hannah was determined to find where they had taken her new Friend.
Leaving the grove, Hannah flew to the nearby villages. They were strangely empty of humans as though they were gathered somewhere else- probably where her Friend was! Hannah’s parents always taught her to stay away from the place the humans call “Jerusalem”. It was there that her kind were sold for sacrifices, as well as certain other animals. Still, she faced her fears and flew to the city’s gates. Crowds of loud and rude humans were leaving the city and lining the rocky road nearby. Hannah quietly crept between the human’s feet unnoticed as she walked up the stony road. She noticed drops of blood on the rocks at her feet. She shuddered as she thought of the blood the slaughtered mourning doves shed when they were killed for the human’s sacrifices. Was her Friend going to be slaughtered for them, too?, she feared. Grief overcame little Hanna, as she impatiently flew over the crowds. Not too far up the road, she saw Him. “He is truly being slaughtered!”, she thought with panic. The other humans had Him nailed to a big wooden thing made from a tree. She wondered how the trees must have felt , losing their own plant lives to be used in such a manner. Other humans were also hanging in the same way around Him on butchered trees. “Besides Jerusalem, This is the other place my mother told us kids to stay away from!” Hanna recalled. Never having ventured here before, She didn’t believe this place actually existed. The Dove elders taught the young ones never to fly through this taboo area as it is a place fit for vultures and death- not simple little doves. Little Hannah was not afraid; she needed to be near the Human that was too nice to be a human- who told her that one day other humans could also be like Him. He gave her hope, and it looked like this hope was being taken from her.
Carefully and quietly, Hannah mustered all the bravery she had within her and under the human’s feet, ever so unassumingly walked up to the base of the wood where her Friend hung dying. She could not bear the pain He was going through and she trembled with grief as drops of His blood fell on her grey feathers. This time, no longer on a high branch in the olive groves, Hannah found herself under Her Friend on the ground this time, but it was the nearest she could be with Him. Hannah’s little dove’s soul welled with the deepest grief and mourning. Trembling there and covered with drops of His blood, little Hannah cried as only mourning doves can cry- for a Friend that was nicer than any human she had ever met- whose eyes sparkled like the Sunlight that dances upon the waters.
As Hannah remained there in her grief, some soldiers took notice of her and kicked her away . Reluctantly she flew away with tears only a mourning dove can shed. As Hannah continued to fly, her grey feathers transformed from grey to white!
Flying to the water’s edge with great sorrow, she noticed her reflection . “Could it be?” she wondered with awe as she saw she was no longer grey. Her Friend’s Blood mysteriously changed her into a little white dove! It was through His death, His love and blood alone. Humbled and full of newfound joy and love, Hannah gazed upon the sun reflecting on the waters. Somehow she just KNEW her Friend would live again, and she would fly to meet Him in her new white Feathers. “And where have You come from, little white one?” He would say with His soothing laugh . She would nestle in His nail scarred hands forever!