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by Shaara
Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #671838
Juanita discovers the miracle of Easter Eggs...
A young orphan girl discovers how Easter eggs are made.


The Miracle of Easter Eggs

All her life, little Juanita had heard about Easter eggs, but she had never seen one. They had plenty of eggs in the little town where she lived. There were chicken eggs, goose eggs, duck eggs, and pigeon eggs, but there were no Easter eggs.

         The new American Sister in the Iglesia Guadalupe (Guadalupe Church) had told Juanita that Easter eggs were colored in pastel rainbows. She had said that they could be the blue of the sky or the water in Lago de la Luna (Moon Lake). Easter eggs could be green like the little iguana Father Matteas had or yellow like baby chickens. But best of all was when Sister talked about the pictures that Easter eggs could have on them. Surely that was the most miraculous of all. An egg with a picture...how was that possible?

         As Easter approached, Juanita looked everywhere for an Easter egg. Every day she hunted through the chicken coops, but all the chickens only laid silly white or speckled brown eggs. Day after day Juanita checked and rechecked, disturbing the hens that were trying to roost. One of them got angry at her and pecked at her leg until small spots of blood welled up and spilled down onto her sock.

         Juanita cried for a few minutes, but then she wiped the blood off her leg and washed her sock in the creek so the Sisters would not be angry with her.

         Later she walked out to the pigeons and shooed them all away so she could hunt for Easter eggs in the rafters of the old tilting barn. But all the pigeon eggs were white as stones lying in the sun. When she was searching through the nests, one of the eggs fell down and broke in the dirt beneath her. Juanita mumbled a quick "lo siento -- I'm sorry," and ran from the building.

         Day after day Juanita searched, and she prayed to God that she could please find an Easter egg, but she didn't. Weeks passed, and all the eggs in the pueblo (town) were still only white or brown like barefeet walking in the soil. Juanita began to think that God was not going to give her a miracle. Perhaps she had not been deserving. Juanita worried that God preferred gringos and would not perform miracles in Mexico where she lived.

         A tear fell from Juanita's eyes as she thought about that. Maybe she would never get to see a pink or yellow egg, or one with pictures of chicks, ducks or a holy cross like the photos Sister Mary had showed to the class.

         Juanita was so sad that when the bell rang for school to begin, she did not get up and rush into the building as she usually did. Instead she let the tears flow, and she sobbed into her hands.

         It was very quiet in the courtyard where Juanita was. She did not hear Sister Trinidad come looking for her. But when Juanita felt a movement beside her and looked, she saw two soft-brown feet wearing the old leather huaraches that all the nuns wore.

         "Sister Trinidad!" Juanita cried out, springing to her feet. "Lo siento, I did not hear..."

         "I think you were un poco ocupada ( a little busy)," said the nun. "No importa, (It is not important) but why are you so sad, little one?"

         "It does not matter, Sister. It is silly." Juanita fidgeted nervously. She was afraid to look up into the eyes of the nun. What would she see? Would Sister Trinidad be angry with her?

         "If God cares for even the gorrión (swallow), why should He not care that something troubles you, mi hija (my daughter)?"

         Juanita raised her head and looked fully into the nun's eyes. "Do you think that is true? ¿Es la verdad?"

         "Si, Juanita," Sister Trinidad assured her. "God cares even when it is such a small thing that troubles you. Tell me, what is it that brings these tears to such eyes -- bonitos ojos del color de café (eyes the color of coffee)?"

         Juanita smiled through the remnants of her tears. "I have prayed to God, Sister, to see an Easter egg, and tomorrow it will be Easter, and I although I have looked and looked, I have not found one."

         Sister Trinidad almost began to laugh, but she stopped herself and patted Juanita on the shoulder. "Come, mi niña ( my child). Let us go see what it is that Sister Mary is doing in the kitchen with all the other children. I think you will like it very much."

         The little girl dried her eyes, and walking at the side of Sister Trinidad, Juanita entered the kitchen of the huge adobe orphanage.

         All the children were crowded around Sister Mary, and they were draped with old shirts, towels, and rags. Juanita giggled at the sight, but she couldn't see what they were doing. She stepped closer and was just in time to see Sister Mary lift an egg out of a bowl of liquid.

         "Oh," cried Juanita, and she fell down to her knees and lifted her hands to say a blessing to God.

         Sister Trinidad came up behind her and once more placed her hand on Juanita's shoulder. "Ah," said the Sister with a smile so big it almost lit up the room. "Gracias, Juanita. I had forgotten. Thank you for reminding me. To see the world as a child sees it, is to truly recognize the miracles all around us."

         Sister Trinidad helped Juanita to stand up, and then she walked her closer to the festivities. She paused to cover the little girl's dress with a large, old, ragged shirt, buttoning it up the back. Then she and Sister Mary showed Juanita and the other children how to turn plain white eggs into rainbows with pictures of ducks, baby chicks, and crosses.

         That night, Juanita took her beautiful colored egg with her, and in the morning, when she woke up, once again she thanked God for the blessed miracle of Easter eggs.


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