Please don't think of me as the Grinch who stole Easter. I adore chocolate and daffodils and fluffy chicks and bunny rabbits and little girls in frilly frocks.
I just think that if we truly needed a kids' story to replace the real Easter story, we could come up with something more credible than a clucking rabbit who lays chocolate eggs and delivers them to children for no apparent reason. So I decided to come up with one. A Manitoba-friendly, parent-friendly, wallet-friendly one. Here it is.
Once upon a time, a long time time ago, before colour was invented, the world was all in black and white and shades of gray. A little girl named Ruby and a little boy named Jim were exploring in the forest near their home.
By and by they came across a little house in the middle of the forest. The house was made of snow.
"I wonder who lives here," Jim said as he approached the door. But before he could raise his hand to knock, the door opened (which was a very good thing because knuckles rapping on snow do not produce much sound). A little skunk stood in the doorway.
Now skunks were the only creatures who had any colour, for they held the colour key. While the rest of the world was black and white and shades of gray, skunks had red heads and orange legs and yellow bodies and blue tails and purple feet and green stripes down their backs. They stood out like the little girl in the red coat in Shindler's List.
"Welcome! Come inside," the skunk said.
Since neither of the children had ever seen a skunk before, they went inside. The skunk offered them hot chocolate, which they happily accepted. What they did not know was that the skunk was an evil skunk who had put sleeping powder in their hot chocolate and Jim and Ruby were soon fast asleep. Because the writer of this tale had a word count limit, however, they soon awoke, tied up the evil skunk, grabbed the colour key, and ran home where their parents tucked them into their cozy beds and they slept soundly until 10:37 the following morning. When they awoke, the world was all in colour, for the evil skunk had been defeated at last.
And that is why, to this very day, skunks are black and white and the rest of the world is in colour. Except for Manitoba in early spring, when it is all black and white and shades of gray. This is why children must sleep late on Easter weekend. For if they do not, the world will remain black and white and colour will not come.
There, now isn't that much better? And so believable, too.
No need to thank me.