(Adapted by Jenny Bateman from a story written by Marilyn Jones, and read at the Family Service 1.7.18)Rainbow and person

Once upon a time The Wise One decided that he needed some special helpers to organise the raindrops, and so he called upon the King of the Elves to help him. He needed to find seven very particular sprites, and so he sent out a message to Elf-land asking for anyone interested to come for a chat with him.

There was much excitement among the Elf community as the earth was very young at this time; they knew that this was their chance to be in at the beginning of creation, and had no experience as yet of what the planet contained. The King of the Elves hand-picked Ruby, Yasmina, Omar, Gareth, Billy, Izzy and Verity.

When all the excited elves had arrived they looked up in awe and wonder at the Wise One, who smiled kindly upon them and promised them a trip to inspect the planet. “What I am looking for,” he said, “ is a group of elves who really get on well together. This job needs a great deal of team-work… so let’s see how we all get on today. Just stand close to my robe and we will all travel together. Listen out for my instructions.”

Well, what the Wise One didn’t tell them was just how spectacular this trip was going to be! He enfolded them in the cloak of his aura for safety, but each elf experienced the journey as though he was doing it by himself.

First they were plunged into the ocean deep floating, playing and twisting in the water, watching all the fish and sea creatures so that they quite forgot for a while why they were there. Eventually the sun came out and shone down making them all warm and lazy in the water.

After some time, suddenly the Wise One said “Aye aye aye, look out, we are going up! Make yourselves nice and straight, like an arrow.” And sure enough, each little elf found him or herself being pulled higher and higher into the air surrounded by a tiny bubble of water. “Oooh” Verity squealed: because she was so delighted at the scenery below, and Omar squeaked a little perhaps because he was a little teensy bit scared of heights! They began to chat amongst themselves as they formed little puffy clouds together in the sky.

‘Wow’, said Yasmina, ‘it is so beautiful up here…’
‘It’s amazing!’ agreed Billy Bright-eyes. ‘Are you alright Omar?’ he asked his friend in the next bubble.
‘Well I feel a bit dizzy, I think I preferred being in the sea.’
Billy was concerned for his friend – ‘Why don’t you look up towards the sun instead of looking down, then you might feel better?’
‘Oh, right…. Yes that is better, thanks Billy.’ Replied Omar as he looked upwards. ‘In fact, I love the view across the clouds!’

The Wise One advised them not to get too settled as the blew them towards the land, higher and higher… He said they would be making the journey back down again very soon – as raindrops.

The raindrops were like little parachuting bubbles with the elves inside and so they were quite cosy, and they had a little magic of their own to make sure they landed safely. Down, down they fell tinkling to the ground – what a lovely sound they did make. At first they were a little scared because it seemed dark in earth and rocks after being in the bright sunlight – but then they heard the voice of the Wise One in their minds saying to them: ‘Flow together and grow, flow and grow little ones.’ And so they did. They joined together and slipped away down the hillsides, trickling quietly at first, and flowing along all together it was the merriest journey of all.

Izzy Indigo was the one who began it all - these seven little sprites began to sing, a bubbling, twinkling sound as they began their path downwards. As they journeyed millions of little raindrops followed them copying their beautiful little song. The mountains were steep as they flowed, and as so many more raindrops joined them, singing as they gushed down through the gaps in the rock making waterfalls, the song grew louder and louder.

By the time the river led by the seven sprites reached a very broad rocky patch Gareth led the way until they were really enjoying themselves dodging in and out of the foam and spluttering, rushing and gurgling, filling all the nooks and crannies as they scampered by. The land began to flatten out as they reached the plains below the mountains. The excitement of this wonderful journey relaxed into a sleepy meander, wandering through the dry earth. Ruby loved watching as green shoots began to grow on the banks, spreading out into the land. The river finally reached the sea, the elves happy to ride on the gentle waves, lying on their backs in the warmth of the setting sun for a well earned rest. ‘Well done,’ said the Wise One, ‘Well done little ones. Rest now, and tomorrow we shall begin again.’

Over the next few weeks the little elves became very good at their job, and much more confident about falling from the sky to lead the raindrops. They were so grateful to be part of the team including the Sun and the Sea. And so, as a gift to the Wise One, they made a little of their own magic.

Their names might give you a clue as to what they did for him the next time they fell from the clouds with the sun shining. You see, their names were Ruby Red, Omar Orange, Yasmina Yellow, Gareth Green, Billy Bright-eyes Blue, Izzy Indigo and Verity Violet!

To make their special gift they clung together one atop the other in their raindrop parachute bubbles, each with their own colour glowing through the sun. And so they became - The Rainbow Elves!

And to this very day, every year, somewhere in the world, their little bit of magic flows out in an arc to make a rainbow.