As I begin to write the next volume of Tales from the Garden I would like to share some of the stories from my Spanish garden with you over the coming weeks.
The Sanctuary by Sally Cronin
Yesterday, as I wandered amongst the stunted bushes on the side of the mountain searching for food, I felt the first stirrings in my swollen belly. I had not realised that it was so close and despite being my first, I instinctively knew that I needed to find a safe place to bring this new life into the world.
In the distance I could see the herd of goats pulling at dry and thorny bushes that dotted the arid earth. I spent my nights mingling amongst them, taking advantage of their strong scent that masked my own. They also provided safety as they were protected by the enormous guard dogs from the predators of the night. Even the wild boars who feared neither man nor beast kept their distance when they saw these deceptively gentle giants.
More dangerous were the stray dogs that patrolled this rocky hillside in search of the unwary. But they too would scuttle away into the dark, with their tails between their legs and ears laid flat against their heads, at the warning growls that issued from deep within massive chests.
I had wandered far from the herd of goats in search of nourishing shoots for myself and my unborn fawn. I knew that even if I did return that they too would be scattered across the hillside taking advantage of the daylight hours. I was too exposed here and needed to find a safe place away from prying eyes as soon as possible.
I sniffed the air. A sickly feral smell filled my delicate nostrils and I could hear the sound of a large mass moving through the bushes towards me. It was the pack of stray dogs emboldened by the lack of night-time protectors. They could smell that my time was near. Despite the increasing movements in my belly I began to run and leap over small bushes away from the vile scent.
Petrified, I could hear the baying of the hounds in ecstatic and full pursuit.
I zig-zagged across the hillside dropping lower towards the houses in the distance. I skidded to an abrupt stop as I met the edge of the open ground and a metal wire fence blocked my path.
Desperately I looked around me as I heard the pack behind me closing in. I ran along the fence which was too high for me to jump and seemed to stretch for miles in each direction. The excited barking and the sounds of the pack thrilled by the chase were getting closer by the minute and I knew that I was trapped.
Suddenly I saw a small break in the wire mesh a few feet away and on the other side were bushes and the sound of running water… I pushed my nose through followed by my ears and shoulders. It was a tight fit and the edges of the wires cut into my tender and swollen body. Finally I was through and I moved quickly into the safety of the undergrowth risking a look behind me at the dogs as they raced into view.
It wouldn’t take them long to find the cut in the fence and even though it was small they would persist and barge through and find me. There was no time to stop now despite the growing urgency to push my baby out into this dangerous world. Once through the undergrowth I found a small stream which I crossed in the hopes that the dogs would lose my scent. Up ahead was a paved road leading to a large dwelling, and despite my fear of men and guns, I knew I had no choice but to try and find sanctuary within its grounds.
A smelly and noisy man made machine entered the opening in the walls and I followed hugging the hedge to avoid being seen. I heard a grating noise behind me and turned in panic to find a large black object moving across the hole in the wall. Terrified I looked around for humans but the monster had disappeared inside a large door in the side of the building.
Except for the distant sounds of the searching dogs it was quiet.
With a final jolting pain my fawn announced its imminent arrival. Desperately I searched my surroundings for some form of shelter. I saw ahead of me two large silent and still guardians who looked like those that protected the goat flock at night. I rushed towards them and saw that the hedge beneath them contained a hollow lined with earth that was just the right size to hide within and bring my young into the world.
The sound of barking died down as the pack of dogs moved away, disgruntled at having lost its prey. I could hold on no longer and as my heart calmed and my breathing slowed my baby was born.
It has been several days and as my new guardians stand watch over my baby, I wander through the lush garden enjoying the watered and abundant green grass and the delicate shoots of the hedges.
The humans who live here have seen me but have not approached and they let me wander safely with my fawn; smiling down at me from the balcony.
For the first time in my life I am not afraid and although at night I miss my strong smelling companions, I have found a sanctuary.
As I lie here in the evening sun with my fawn by my side content and filled with milk, I believe that I might stay here forever in safety, beneath the gaze of my silent guardians.
About Tales from the Garden
Tales from the Garden reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees. You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories. The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.
Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.
All my books are available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
I hope you enjoyed and thanks for popping in. Sally