It is over two years since I share the stories from Tales from The Garden that I wrote in tribute to our home in the mountains to the north of Madrid from 1999 to 2016. I went back and forth from Ireland for the first three years as I had my diet advisory clinic here, but finally sold our house, put the dog in the car and ferried and drove across the UK and Europe to live permanently. We inherited a number of statues from the previous owners that were too big to take with them, and I also found some discarded around the garden. Perfect characters for stories, some of whom moved on with us to Ireland and appeared in Tales from the Irish Garden.
Chapter Ten – The Last Summer Ball and the Winter Fairy – Part One
It was a lovely end of summer afternoon and all within the magic garden was quiet. It was siesta time and most of the inhabitants, both in the fairy kingdom beneath the magnolia tree, and the stone guardians were napping. They needed their rest, as tonight was the last ball of the season, and for days everyone had been racing around in preparation.
There had been an early start to this summer with very high temperatures in early May. The heat had continued to suck the moisture out of the air for the last few months. For the humans this meant extra work watering the foliage which brought colour and wildlife to the magic garden. But now the temperatures had settled down to provide warm but gentle days, which were welcomed by all who shared this special place.
The head of the guardians was worn out. The fairy queen was being particularly demanding about the preparations for the dance tonight and he now dozed in the late afternoon warmth.
‘Psst, psst,’ came a persistent buzz in the large guardian’s ear. He decided to ignore what was surely an uneducated insect who clearly did not who he was pssting.
‘Psst, master, psst,’ clearly a very, very ignorant insect.
The lion opened one eye and glanced to his right. He groaned inwardly and resigned himself to some wasted time of nonsense.
Eager to impart some nugget of news to the head guardian, Fizzy the rabbit looked up adoringly at the lion.
‘He’s been seen, he’s coming, we have to do something, he is on his way, we have to panic.’
The lion looked down at Fizzy and shook his head slowly from side to side. Of all the creatures under his care this was the one who caused the most problems. Since a young rabbit, he had been a sugar addict; craving what was commonly called the Amber Nectar.
If you wanted to find Fizzy you just had to head towards the nearest Amber joint and he would have his whiskers deep in the blooms.
It was clear that Fizzy had made a stop off at the nearest amber bar and was going to be hyper for the next hour. The lion knew he would get no peace until he had listened to the whole story and just hoped he had enough time to finish his nap before the ball.
‘Slow down Fizzy and tell me what the problem is,’ the guardian said patiently to the rabbit who was bouncing up and down on his tail.
‘The Winter Fairy is on his way and is bringing a very, very cold front with him,’ the rabbit drew breath. ‘He will reach us tonight during the ball and everyone in the garden will be frozen in place and visible to the humans forever.’
‘Okay Fizzy just who saw him and where?’ The lion was slightly more concerned now this was potentially catastrophic.
‘My Irish cousins were playing near their burrow a few days ago and heard him cursing and ranting in the trees above their heads.’ Fizzy held out one of his paws to the lion and touched his leg.
‘They sent a pigeon to bring me the message and it says he is bored stupid with hanging around for October and wants to get on with his job now.’
This was not good news. The lion knew that he had to warn the Fairy Queen and the other inhabitants of the garden. The most immediate decision concerned tonight’s festivities. At night all the statues came to life for a few precious hours. If they and the fairies were unexpectedly frozen in place and visible to humans, the magic garden would cease to exist.
He had to think and he couldn’t do that with the excited rabbit bouncing up in down in fear.
He gently sent Fizzy on his way and called in his butterflies who acted as his messengers within the garden. Their first priority was to find the Fairy Queen and call the counsellors together for a cabinet meeting.
The last the lion had heard, his queen was indulging in some retail therapy in preparation of tonight’s ball. A tad disrespectfully for this venerable guardian, he did wonder what she needed with another pair of shoes and a new hat.
To be fair, the Fairy Queen was thinking just that herself when the delicate butterfly alighted on the back of her chair with a vital message from her head guardian. With a wistful last look at the jewelled shoes and matching hat, she turned and headed back to the palace beneath the magnolia tree accompanied by the messenger.
The queen called together her ministers and they all listened as the guardian spoke remotely through his intermediary. Clearly this was a dangerous situation. Not just because they would have to cancel the ball, but because the preparations for the winter were not complete. Without the usual stores of honey stored in nutshells in the cellars of the palace, there would not be enough food for the fairy population during the longer than usual dark months.
Just then another butterfly flew into the chamber and delivered even more devastating news. Reports had arrived in from the French Fairy Federation or the FFF’s; that the Winter Fairy had put a spurt on and was only a few hours away.
Part two next Sunday – can the fairy kingdom ward off the evil winter fairy?
©Sally Cronin Tales from the Garden 2015
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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed this snippet from Tales from the Garden.. thanks Sally.