Kaleidoscope: A toy consisting of a tube containing small, brightly coloured fragments of glass etc. and mirrors which reflect these to form changing geometric patterns;
From the Greek: kalos = beautiful, eidos = image, skopein = to view
Eva's favourite Uncle Peter had finally arrived for his annual Easter visit. She'd been on the look-out for him for hours; impatiently she waited for him to finish greeting the assembled adults, who were his brothers and sisters, Eva's mother among them. She tugged at his hand; why was it that adults needed to have brothers and sisters when she herself didn't have any and still managed perfectly well?
Uncle Peter had brought a bag of chocolate eggs to distribute among his many nephews and nieces, who had all come to Eva's parents' house for the day. The children had spent the morning hunting for eggs in the garden, which the Osterhase was supposed to have hidden in bushes and shrubs and behind stones before the crack of dawn. There was even a basket of coloured eggs in the hen house. Except for the two youngest, Hansi and Trudi, they were old enough to know that the grown-ups had been out to hide the eggs; no bunny would be able to carry a basket with that many eggs on his back, they told each other.They'd be eating hard-boiled eggs for supper for several days, that was clear to all, to their collective disgust. Hunting for eggs was fun but eating them less so.
Uncle Peter's eggs were special. He said he got them from the Chocolate Easter Egg wholesalers in Bunnyland and because he bought so many at a time, he had them at a discount. Each egg was wrapped in multicoloured foil, shimmering and shiny and crisp to the touch. Some had patterns on them, some had pretty pictures of rabbits, ribbons and pretty flowers, like daisies and daffodils; when he tipped them into the large basket, lined with moss, provided for the purpose by Eva's mum, they looked like somebody had caught a rainbow, bundled up all the colours, and shone a great yellow sun on them. The children squealed happily.
Each egg had a tiny label hidden somewhere in the foil; Uncle Peter, who knew his greedy nephews and nieces well, had gone to the trouble of putting each child's nickname on a label, and, for the poor child without a nickname, he simply invented one; after some wrangling, shoving and hand slapping amongst themselves, each child had its own allocation of eggs and most started to eat one there and then.
Except Eva, she wasn't allowed chocolate because the milk in it made her ill. She was used to it, it didn't bother her very much when the others sank their teeth into the chocolate and chewed and licked their fingers; Uncle Peter was bound to have a gift for her too. He always had. In the past he'd given her what he called a Russian egg, which turned out to be four eggs all hidden in one large one, each smaller than the one before; once he'd brought her a beautifully painted, perfectly spherical stone; he'd given her a delicate china egg which opened into two halves, hollow inside, for keeping tiny treasures. Then there had been the glass egg, which had flowers suspended inside it. Eva loved her Uncle Peter very much, he told wonderful stories and brought her very special gifts.
Expectantly, she looked at him. What would he have for her this time?
Uncle Peter beckoned her away from the chocolate eating frenzy and pulled a small tube out of his pocket. She examined it. It felt like cardboard and although it had stars painted on the outside, it didn't look like much; if this was for keeping things in, she much preferred her china egg. "Put this end to your eye", he said, "just look". She looked.
What seemed like a million colours and shapes and patterns exploded in her eye. Eva gasped in wonder.
"Turn it a little", Uncle Peter advised. More shapes in different colour variations formed instantly. Each time she turned it, the patterns changed, over and over again, a glinting, mesmerising, flickering display. Better than all the chocolate eggs in a green moss basket in the world.
"I'm sorry I couldn't find you anything egg-shaped this time", Uncle Peter said.
Eva grinned. "That's ok, I forgive you," she said.