Have you ever wondered why we celebrate St. Valentine's Day? Why do hearts represent love?
I hope that this first little tale about Valentine's Day will help you to understand the reason that we celebrate our love on February 14 each year.
St. Valentine and the Butterflies
Many many years ago, in old Rome there was a king named Claudius. Claudius was a very cruel king. He did not like to see people happy and was always starting wars with other countries.
In the same city, there lived a kind priest named Valentine. He loved all things and was often seen out in his gardens, tending the plants and enjoying the butterflies that fluttered about the pretty petals of the flowers. Father Valentine made sure to take very good care of his garden, for he knew that the butterflies needed the flowers in order to live.
Another thing that made Father Valentine very happy was to see young people in love. Love was the best thing that could happen to two people, and when couples came to him and asked him to marry them, it was a time for great festivities.
Now, Claudius did not like to see people get married, for that meant that when a war came, his soldiers did not want to leave their wives and children. Young soldiers did not want to leave their sweethearts. So the king, being the cruel man that he was, banned all marriages and made it illegal for anyone to become engaged.
Father Valentine was very upset at this, and he performed weddings in secrecy. Young couples in love would sneak through his garden, past the lovely flowers and butterflies and in through the back door where they would be married.
Eventually, Claudius heard that Father Valentine was still performing marriages and ordered his guards to go and arrest the priest. The good Father was taken and thrown into the dungeon!
While he was in the dungeon, Father Valentine learned that the jail-keepers daughter was blind and sent for her. He touched her brow and she was immediately granted her sight. It was a miracle!
When the cruel King Claudius,learned of this miracle, he thought it was witchcraft and immediately ordered that Father Valentine's head be chopped off!
On the morning of the execution, February 14, of the year 270, the priest sent a letter to the jail-keepers daughter, whom he had fallen in love with. He signed the letter "From your Valentine". That is why we sign our Valentine's Day cards the way we do today.
As Father Valentine was being buried after the exectution, a huge swarm of red and white butterflies appeared and circled over the people at his funeral. They fluttered here and there, and eventually landed upon Father Valentine's coffin. The people looked at the pattern that the butterflies had made when they landed and saw that it was shaped like a big heart. And that is why we use the heart as a symbol of love today.
© Sonia C. Jensen
More stories can be found on the main Dreamland Magic Stories index page.